Yacht review: Prana by Atzaro
Experience a dream cruise around the islands of Raja Ampat, Indonesia
As far as luxury cruises are concerned, it doesn’t get any better than a four-day cruise around one of Indonesia’s best kept secrets: the islands of Raja Ampat off the coast of West Papua. More than 1800 islands, many uninhabited, float like mushrooms out of the Ocean from Sorong all the way north to Aljuy Bay and Piaynemo. What’s under water though, is even more enticing. An incredible variety of maritime life and colorful reefs await scuba divers and snorkelers. Land excursions to some of the bigger islands let you meet the friendly locals in tiny villages, visit a pearl farm and climb the highest peak to admire the all over iconic panorama.
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.
Food is prepared by a Balinese chef and caters to all tastes and culinary requirements. The Prana has two speedboats for water sport and to ferry passengers to and from the islands with a helpful crew to look after you. As this is mainly a cruise for diving and water sport enthusiasts, all equipment is available on boards, as are canoes, paddle boards and even floats in the shape of a strawberry to just drift around on for fun.
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 email@example.com.
A Summary of our experience on the Prana by Atzaro
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