News

Experiential Therapy Takes on Yachting

1 February 2021By Laura Shaughnessy
Maria Alekseenko of Experiential Yachting
Courtesy of Experiential Yachting

Written by

Laura Shaughnessy

Laura Shaughnessy has been the managing editor at Dockwalk since February 2018. Having grown up among the cornfields, she is ecstatic to be among the boats in the yachting capital of the world. Armed with a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s in journalism, 15 years of experience with newspapers, magazines, and the online world, Laura has joined a great crew. When not writing about superyacht crew, she’s hanging out with her husband and their German Shepherd, working on house projects, or binging on Netflix.

Yachting therapy is “a new concept in yachting,” proposed by entrepreneur and yacht charter broker Maria Alekseenko and her recently opened Monaco-based company, Experiential Yachting. “Yachting therapy is [a] special [program] designed as an endeavor to remediate a health problem and improve the quality of life for those living with certain serious diseases, methodologically using the power of the sea and waves, the healing spirit of adventure, and a yacht, as a platform,” says Alekseenko. “Special practices and activities on a yacht at sea help to reveal a person’s true natural potential and activate self-healing, whether it’s related to slowing down the progression of the disease or helping speed up recovery.”

She founded Experiential Yachting in 2019, which incorporates leisure-oriented yachting, focusing on revealing human potential through sea-related practices, adventures, challenges, exploration, learning, and discovery. The founder, who has 10 years’ experience in retail yacht chartering, is a representative for a yacht owner’s 49-meter yacht. As such, she’s been organizing yacht charters for several years and highly respects and values the work of the crew. There’s a free one-hour session with the crew included in each yachting therapy program. During this session, Alekseenko discusses program details, as well as nuances of the right attitudes towards guests who are using yachting experience for the purpose to improve health or to deal with a disease.

“I know that sometimes it can be not easy to adapt yachting activities, which are usually leisure- or exploration-orientated, to the healing purpose. My programs help the captains and crew to provide their yacht owners or charterers with very valuable experience at sea, even if any of the guests have been diagnosed with a certain disease and yachting seemsafterward to be out of the radar.”

"It’s important to mention that Yachting Therapy is not a medical therapy or treatment. It’s an alternative, complementary experience, which helps to manage with disease or recovery,” says Maria Alekseenko.

When a loved one was diagnosed with a rare neurological disease two years ago, she started to explore yachting as therapy. While spending about four months on a yacht cruising Greece, Croatia, Italy, and France, the founder created unique therapeutic sea-related programs in open water and on shore.

It’s important to mention that Yachting Therapy is not a medical therapy or treatment, Alekseenko stresses. “It’s an alternative, complementary experience, which helps to manage with disease or recovery,” she says. “The involvement of medical professionals depends from case to case.”

For example, if yachting therapy is applied for a person with Diabetes II or a couple who aims to conceive or have fertility problems, there is no need to approve the activities of the program by specialists. “But if we talk about guests diagnosed with cancer or motor neurone disease, I always get in touch with their doctor and discuss the practices and activities,” Alekseenkoexplains. Therapy is already designed taking into consideration the particularity of the diseases, but it is always necessary to discuss concrete cases. “Usually, I send the program to the doctor prior to commencing and then we schedule a short conversation to make sure that the patient benefits most from the program,” she says, adding that the client might want to communicate with the doctor afterwards.

“Experiential Yachting aims to uplift yachting with deep purposes and non-ordinary experiences, making a difference to the world and to people’s lives, changing the perception of yachting as an expensive vacation or entertainment towards truly valuable experience,” she says of Yachting Therapy, which is the first concept of Experiential Yachting — and it’s already proving to be a success, says Alekseenko.

At the moment, the scope of practice includes motor neurone diseases, cancer, diabetes, surgery, chemotherapy, stem-cell treatment, infertility, conceiving, and recovery for sportsmen. Though they’re remaining in this realm, she says that they hope to expand on it in the future.

The fees are €7120 (VAT excl) per program regardless of duration and destination. Included in the package:

  • Scheduled program, approved by client’s doctors or specialists, if necessary.
  • All materials (video, audio, and reading)
  • Organization of practices and activities & follow up

Excluded from the package:

  • Equipment (if needed)
  • Additional fees for local activities or external specialists (if any)
  • Yacht charter fees
  • Fuel, food, beverages, and other expenses

Follow @MariaYachting and @ExperientialYachting on Instagram. 

This article originally ran in the February 2021 issue of Dockwalk

More from Dockwalk