With state-of-the-art yachts based in Indonesia and Greece, Alexa Private Cruises offers luxury breaks on amazing boats on opposite sides of the world
When Veronika Blomgren began designing a boat in which she could explore the beautiful Indonesian archipelago between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores, she kept thinking about the one luxury that she realized she prized above all others: privacy. So rather than create a boat with three or four cabins for friends and family, she decided there would only be one, for herself.
“Everybody told me I was crazy doing a one-cabin boat and it would never work but that is our unique quality,” she says. “I was looking at it very selfishly, thinking purely about what would make me comfortable. Alexa is a beautiful boat, like a floating penthouse. She has a classic style with a modern interior but it is made for just two passengers. We create unique unforgettable adventures in secluded locations, provide excellent personal service with the highest level of privacy.”
Alexa was launched seven years ago and has since been joined by a Mediterranean sister yacht Alexa J, which is located in the Greek Ionian islands. The Alexa J has enough room for a family of five but the principle remains the same – this is an offering that combines superyacht luxury with total seclusion. Veronika has a background in architecture and interior design and she is responsible for the aesthetic feel and overall design of the boats, while her son Alexander runs the operational side. Cleanliness and security are of the highest standard on both boats, as the health and privacy of passengers is of paramount importance. For Veronika, it’s proof of the poet Robert N Rose’s quote that: “Ships are the nearest thing to dreams that hands have ever made”.
The Alexa story began when Veronika was on the Indonesian island of Flores – part of that beautiful archipelago of islands, including Bali and Lombok, that runs between Java and northern Australia – and wanted to visit the nearby Komodo National Park, home of the famous Komodo dragon. She discovered that the only way to reach this paradise was through chartering a small fishing vessel – “with cockroaches and no toilet” – or hiring a pokey cabin aboard a boat with many other passengers. “Neither of these was really my cup of tea but I decided to go by fishing boat,” she recalls. “Even with the cockroaches and lack of toilet, I completely fell in love with the area. It is impossibly beautiful. I fell in love with an ocean that was so peaceful that the clouds were reflected as if it were a mirror. I wanted to come back and so I began to look around for better boats to rent, but there were none.”
That’s when Veronika decided to make one herself. Having made that decision she moved fast, acquiring within seven days an old cargo vessel that had once transported spices between the islands. In cooperation with naval architects she then used her professional experience to create the ideal – one-cabin – interior. The 31-metre Alexa can now be chartered by couples who also dream of the perfect escape from daily life. Beautifully designed in teak, stainless steel and tinted glass, Alexa is decorated with a mix of antique and contemporary art. She is fully equipped for a luxury lifestyle with seven highly professional and discreet crew – a chef, a cruise director who is also a diving instructor, a spa therapist, a butler/steward, a mechanic, a captain and a speedboat driver. They will help you create a flawless holiday by recommending the most romantic and remote locations, providing massage
and yoga, and cooking incredible meals.
“One thing we have learnt is you can build the most beautiful yacht in the world but the crew has to be very good and we are blessed with an amazing crew,” says Veronika. “Our captain was the captain when Alexa was still a cargo boat and he went through the whole process of the conversion. When the boat was relaunched he was so amazed he was speechless. All our staff love the boat and our guests really feel the benefits from that.”
In Indonesia, the chief attraction is the natural world. As well as the singular beauty of these isolated islands so rich in rare wildlife and fauna, there’s an extraordinary world beneath the water to discover populating the miles of coral reefs. Diving is a popular pastime, and even beginners can enjoy this experience. “You can get a diving certificate while you are on the boat as all of our cruise directors are certified,” says Alexander. “But we can also do things like barbecues on secluded beaches. It is simply the most romantic experience, eating this wonderful food with this breathtaking scenery.”
Alexa J offers a similar on-board experience in the Mediterranean around the Greek Ionian islands of Corfu, Lefkada, Paxi, Ithaca, Kefalonia and Zakynthos as well as the smaller and little known Othoni, Mathraki, Strofades, Erikousa, Antipaxi. The boat is slightly larger at 38 metres, allowing an additional cabin for children, but maintains the same standards of design, comfort and professionalism from six experienced crew members. Here, the emphasis of the overall experience is slightly different, focusing on the region’s culture, history, food and traditions. Passengers can dive at sites of archaeological experience and they can visit any of hundreds of empty beaches where they will have the sand entirely to themselves. But there are also ancient temples and village festivals waiting to be discovered amid mountainous islands carpeted in olive and cypress trees.
“We believe that sailing is the experience of ultimate freedom,” says Alexander. “Once you step on-board a boat the world changes – actually, the world stays the same, but you change. A shift happens in your consciousness. In just a few seconds you become a wind-loving, treasure-seeking explorer, your back straightens, your mind calms down and there is a clear purpose in your movements. You look at the horizon with a new expectation. Nothing compares to this exhilarating feeling of absolute, ultimate freedom.”
The Blomgrens are planning to extend their fleet still further by refitting old boats and building new ones from scratch. They will even open their own shipyard to ensure these new boats are more sustainable, with hybrid engines and solar power. Veronika is designing a 45-metre superyacht that will have renewable energy, zero waste and zero emissions as they push their fleet in this direction. Further innovation will take place on a private island that the Blomgrens are preparing to develop into a small exclusive resort. “All of these things are connected,” explains Veronika. “They are about beauty, privacy, comfort and the environment. We are bringing all the pieces of the puzzle together.”