Our ex-yachtie consultants have put their heads together to come up with some of the best destinations to enjoy some well-earned crew downtime and I’ve shared them here.
They may not be the biggest or grandest superyacht marinas, but they’ve got a lot to offer for a day or afternoon ashore.
Best places to spend crew downtime and why
1. Rybovich, West Palm Beach
If this is one of your yacht’s regular haunts, then you are one lucky crewmember. It’s renowned for its crew facilities and being a hub for crew to socialise together, making it a really great place to spend a few days and make some new friends.
I particularly like the outside social space with its pool, bar, restaurant and firepit. There’s also a free shuttle service to the nearby beaches and shopping malls if you’re only got a few hours to spare.
You can easily take yourself away from the water too and go for a hike along the Apoxee Wilderness Trail or stroll through the 1,700-acre Okeeheelee Park.
For longer periods of crew downtime, there are some must-visit places within a couple of hours’ drive – my favourites are Miami, Lake Okeechobee to the north and, if course, Disney World for those who want to express their inner child!
2. Chelsea Piers, NYC
Located in the heart of maybe one of the best cities on the planet, Chelsea Piers screams location, location, location. It doesn’t look much if you’re cruising in from the Hudson River, but don’t judge a book by its cover.
Not only is it within walking distance to Times Square, Central Park, Fifth Avenue and so much more, but the complex also has loads of onsite sports facilities. These include indoor courts for basketball and tennis, a swimming pool and ice rink, bowling alleys and a pretty cool driving range.
3. Vieux Port and Port Canto, Cannes
Although well-maintained, the facilities are currently fairly basic at Vieux Port, but this is set to change now that IGY Marinas has acquired it. Along the beach to the newer Port Canto, there is much more do to as soon as you step off the yacht.
But regardless of which marina you are berthed at, the area of Cannes is a fantastic base from which to easily access the likes of Nice, Antibes and Monaco via train or even ski resorts in the French Alps if you fancy a weekend on the slopes.
In Cannes itself, you have the best of both worlds – high-end luxury and run of the mill High Street shops.
4. Papeete, Tahiti
Although being a commercial port, this one again is all about location. It can accommodate multiple superyachts, so you’re rarely the only boat there and can socialise/meet other crew to swap your yachting stories.
As the capital of French Polynesia, there’s a good buzz in the area and great food carts and markets close by. The Marche de Pape’ete is definitely worth a visit as is the Arahoho Blowhole (a natural wonder). Go diving to the shipwreck in the lagoon, ride the waves if you’re a surf fan or head inland for a rainforest trek.
The big plus for me here is it’s the heart of Whale territory. The paradise islands of Moorea are just next door too and easy to get to on a short boat ride or tender trip across.
5. Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi
If you’re bored of the more popular and often overcrowded and over-egged Dubai, then neighbouring Abu Dhabi is the perfect alternative, especially if your superyacht visits during the Grand Prix (it’s next to the Yas Marina Circuit).
The marina itself is fairly self-contained, with no need to actually leave it at all, with a fitness centre, several restaurants and entertainment centres on the doorstep, not to mention the awesome weather.
6. Port Vell, Barcelona
If the drag of sangria and tapas isn’t enough to entice you, then there are plenty of other things that will! Although if you’re looking for relaxation in your crew downtime, I recommend you don’t waste it in Barcelona, because you’ll need to be on your feet exploring the great city or up dancing in a bar.
There is a great onsite crew gym and wellness centre, but my advice would be to go further inland and see all of the amazing attractions and sights, most of which can be seen in one day from the roof of an open top bus.
7. Porto Montenegro
On the Adriatic Sea just down from Croatia and opposite the eastern coast of Italy, this superyacht marina not only boasts one of the biggest berths at 800+ feet, but it has tonnes of facilities and is an amazing place to spend a few hours exploring.
The modern Yacht Club has an amazing infinity pool and man-made beach which is contrasts the country’s 18th century architecture and mountain views – both guaranteed to take your breath away and perfect for keeping your Insta feed fresh. A visit to one of the back street seafood restaurants is also a must and the local coffee is delicious.
There are plenty of other amazing ports to spend your crew downtime and my other favourites include:
- Portofino, Italy – Beautiful and good food
- Positano, Italy – Peaceful and boujee
- Palma, Mallorca – The Wave House in Magaluf is brilliant)
- Silo Marina, Auckland – Cool and vibrant
- Antigua, Caribbean – Best rum punch and sunsets
Where in the world do you most like to spend your crew downtime?