Dive equipment on board Dunia Baru (image courtesy of Dunia Baru)

After being given the rare opportunity to take a charter on board the 51m phinisi style sailing yacht Dunia Baru, earlier this month through Raja Ampat and the stunning Indonesian isles, I was introduced to the fact that the charter game has changed. It is no longer enough to simply offer top notch luxury services, crew to attend to your every need, water toys and exotic land based excursions. Instead, more and more charters are offering this as a minimum and coming up with new and innovative additions to ensure you receive the most out of your time on board.

Perhaps the most popular new addition is providing dive certification while on a charter. A number of dive schools are cashing in on the demand and have begun offering training to crew to be able to train guests during their charter. I was one such lucky candidate as the owner of Dunia Baru, Mark Robba, employs Chris Hamilton and Leah Sindel, PADI certified dive instructors with years of experience diving, with many concentrated in and around Indonesia (where the yacht charters from). Course work was done on our own time on board and dotted with the necessary dives. Not only do you walk away with a dive certificate, you have the added bonus of completing your certification in some of the world's top diving spots many can only dream of experiencing.

Joining Dunia Baru in offering certification on board are other charter yachts such as M/Y Roma, M/Y VaVa and plenty of other expedition yachts providing additional itineraries should you wish to dive in far flung locales. For Robba it was a no brainer to be able to provide guests with a way to enjoy all that Indonesia has to offer both above and below the surface. "Indonesia is a unique and exciting charter destination in that it offers an unparalleled mix of adventure and cultural activities. As a result, we want to provide custom designed experiences, building the dream charter for our guests. Besides the two on board dive instructors that teach in the world's holy grail of scuba diving, we've recently teamed up with one of the leading surf guide companies to offer surf trips to remote pockets of Indonesia, surfing on breaks in the middle of the ocean. Do you want a local tour guide? Yoga instructor to provide morning vinyasa's on board? Or how about cooking lessons around our teppanyaki grill? We'll arrange it all to suit you" Robba comments.

John Brendmore, owner of Alexanrda V is another looking to change the charter game. When guests stay on board, "all the opportunities will be placed on the bed the day before; 'Tomorrow you will wake up here - these are the possibilities.' Maybe it's a champagne cruise with the Fjord tender, maybe it's going fishing with the kids, maybe it's a massage or maybe they want the gym set up. Whatever they are after, it's our job to deliver it" he shares.

"We want to provide custom designed experiences, building
the dream charter for our guests."

Owner Mark Robba

The market is both expanding and shrinking. There are more charter yachts available than ever before, but with that comes a return to market for many UHNWI. Fiona Maureso, charter director at Northrop & Johnson and MYBA president recently commented in The Superyacht Intelligence Annual Report 2015 that "the last few years have been very challenging for charter, but 2014 was extremely positive and I think we might be ready to stop holding our breath". Not only are more clients entering the charter market, but they're coming equipped with more knowledge and requests than ever before. With these owners and many more stepping up to the plate, time will tell if the latest offerings will help boost the charter market overall.

Image courtesy of Alexandra V