Experience a dream cruise around the islands of Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Prana by Atzaro is a luxurious Phinisi yacht, the word meaning a traditional Indonesian two mast boat. She offers nine suites which can accommodate 18 guests, four decks, a dining room, spa with massages and some beauty treatments and a sun deck .Although she is a sail boat, she travels mostly by engine because there isn’t enough wind to cover the four day program.
The Prana features one super suite on the upper deck with its own sundeck and sitting area. The other eight are distributed on the decks below, all with windows or portholes to admire the sea and let in daylight.
Super comfortable beds, a spacious enough bathroom with rain shower and a great array of beauty products incl. suntan and after care lotions, mini bar, a tablet, safe and enough cupboards for your clothes complete the picture. There is even a TV and Wifi, but due to the location, coverage is sparse. So, enjoy a few nearly internet free days.
Robes and slippers are provided as is laundry service should you need it.
The spa is, by necessity, rather small, but you can have a great verity of massages either in your room or on deck. They are a special treat and most welcome after a day of diving, swimming or climbing up mountains on the islands. You can also have a manicure or facials.
The emphasis is on Indonesian food with bami or nasi goring for breakfast followed by smoothies, cereals, enormous fresh fruit platters, poached eggs with salmon or bacon according to taste and much more. No food is wasted, as the chef asks each morning what passengers would like for lunch and dinner, giving a choice of three main courses and starters. Vegans, vegetarian and everything in between are catered for.
One highlight of the cruise is a picnic and barbecue on the beach with fresh fish, lobster, grilled vegetables and steak if desired. Nothing is left behind to sully the pristine beach, everything is carried by speedboat from the vessel to the island and back. After diving and swimming, crew members welcome you back on board with a refreshing fruit drink and a hot or cold towel. In case you wonder, this is not an alcohol-free trip, beer and white wine are available, although red is rather sparse.
This particular cruise starts in Sorong Habour where the cruise director and crew members pick you up and transfer you and your luggage by speed boat to the Prana. Garuda Indonesian Airlines offer flights from London to Sorong via Jakarta.
Once settled in your suite, the Paran lifts anchor and sails through the night to the island of Mioskon and Saporkrem, giving you a first impression of the wonder world of Raja Ampat.
On Saporkrem you have a chance to watch the mating of birds of paradise up in the trees of a mountain. You have to rise very early though, because the brids have a habit of mating only at 6am sharp for just half an hour. The speedboat takes you to the island early enough, followed by a steep climb up the mountain.
After your return, a second breakfast awaits, followed by a return to visit the village, chat to the locals (with the help of a crew member) or dive and swim.
The next islands visited are Wayag with Mount Pindito and a sumptuous barbecue on the beach, followed by a visit to a ranger station and watching sharks. No fear, they are rather smallish, so you can easily swim among them without losing a toe or limb.
Another sail through the night to the pearl farm in Aljuy Bay where the whole process is demonstrated and where you can buy some rings or necklaces made from the beautiful South Sea Pearls.
The next islands are Wofoh with another village visit to see the locals making coconut oil and Piaynemo where you have to climb 319 steps to the best viewpoint of Raja Ampat.
Rest and cool your feet by swimming in a natural pool or go for another dive to explore Melissa’s Garden. Sailing through the night again, the Prana returns to Sorong where you are ferried to port and the airport.
This trip is primarily for divers and water port enthusiasts but even if you don’t dive there is so much to do and see on land, you’ll never have a dull moment. Overall, it’s the perfect combination of luxury cruising with fabulous scenery and activities.
Rates for a full charter 7 days Raja Ampat start at $14.000. For all details please see: https://pranabyatzaro.com/ratesandschedule. For bookings and further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Summary of our experience on the Prana by Atzaro
Bear in mind, that Raja Ampat is –as yet – untouched by mass tourism. There are no hotels, resorts or restaurants on any of the islands and only a handful of yachts like the Prana sail there.
The accommodation, cruise planning and service leave nothing to be desired.
If we’re being really picky, it would be nice if there were more railings to hang onto when the boat starts rolling - especially on the stairs to the upper decks. We also felt that the kitchen should be equipped with steak knives as we had difficulty cutting even duck and chicken with the knives provided, but these are small quibbles.
Most suited for
A group of friends or a family (however, for safety reasons it’s not recommended to bring small children along). It may be expensive, but shared amongst a group, it’s more affordable and for the journey of a lifetime, it’s worth every penny.
*During my visit I was hosted by the lovely team at Prana by Atzaro. All opinions are my own.
Our experience overall
Ambiance - ★★★★★
Food & Drink - ★★★★★
Staff attentiveness/ friendliness ★★★★★