Have you ever wondered what it’s like to stay and cruise on your own private charter?
With limited travel to other parts of the world during the pandemic, the ‘staycation’ is more popular than ever, but why stay in a hotel or holiday cottage when you can do something more unique and take to the water on your own luxury yacht.
That is exactly what I did with my family with thanks to Norfolk Yacht Agency. Based in Brundall, Norfolk, they have over 50 years’ experience in boat buying, selling and renting, so I knew we would be in good hands.
Our yacht for the weekend was called ‘Moneypenny’, and what a beauty she was. With three spacious cabins sleeping up to six people, a modern kitchen, dining and living area, plus two bathrooms, I can honestly say we didn’t feel on top of each other.
That was until we climbed up to the sundeck, ideal for entertaining, it has its own outdoor fridge and sink to store those all-important bottles of fizz, and this all sounds rather inviting, until you remember you have to drive the thing, and better still moor it up somewhere!
Leo, our adventurous two-year-old, absolutely loved being on the water, and pretending to steer the wheel, there was no doubt he thought he was the captain for the weekend.
Rest assured, before you take out any yacht from NYA you will receive a full training session on the day you sail and collect by one of their team members. They will not let you anywhere until they are confident you have grasped everything; they will also supply everyone with life jackets.
Once the safety checklist was completed, we were waved goodbye – my husband took the wheel – and off we set. Although the weather at this time of year was a little wet, with the dual steering on board you can drive from the outside on the top deck, or inside in the living area, all it requires is a simple lever switch.
Where to go
River driving is a lot easier than you think, just remember to keep to the right! On day one, we ventured up the broads past Reedham and moored up for the evening at a place called Waters Edge. Here you will get free mooring if you eat at the restaurant, and luckily it happened to be very good!
After a few goes, you soon get used to mooring and tying up the lines, this became easier as confidence grew.
When we returned to Moneypenny, it was like being home from home. The cabins were warm and toasty, and after putting the boys to bed we enjoyed a glass of wine in front of the TV, yes – there were four on board, one in each room.
The next day we were up early to plan the next route over coffee and croissants. We decided to head back down to Oulton Broad, which was approximately a four-hour trip, but it wouldn’t be a trip on the broads without a few pubs stops on the way.
Whilst my husband took the lead driving, the boys and myself enjoyed the views along the river, and four hours seemed to just fly by. We arrived in Oulton Broad before dusk, just in time to put some pizzas in the oven – the self-catering element of our trip.
Time to say goodbye
On our last day, the mood was a little low as we knew this fantastic experience was coming to an end. River life had suited us, but it was time to start making the trip back to base at Brundall, and this time we were going back on ourselves, so a lot of the landmarks seemed very familiar.
Having noticed it on the way down, we decided to stop at the Reeham Ferry for our lunch. The ability to do this made our trip seem more leisurely and gave us a purpose to stop. As we made it back to base and did our final checks, we left feeling incredibly lucky to have called Moneypenny home for a few nights, she certainly lived up to her reputation.
A break away on the water might not be the first option you think of with a two-year-old and a new-born baby, but on the yacht, you are somewhat confined, so it is actually a pretty good way to travel with kids.
If you are new to sailing, the broads is an ideal place to learn as it is fairly straight and quiet in the winter months. As far as luxury goes, Moneypenny had it all, from a well-stocked kitchen to fresh sheets and a TV in each room, it’s far better than staying in a hotel, there was even a little welcome hamper left for us, including a bottle of fizz.
Would I do it again? Absolutely – although next time I may prefer to do it in the summer as I think this is when you would get the full benefit of having the sundeck.
Weekly prices start from £1,497. For more information, visit nya.co.uk.