Sea of Thieves' new Legends of the Sea update, which is live today, adds a new NPC who'll send you searching for tributes to legendary players. That sounds nice, but more importantly, it brings back Gilded Voyages for a limited time, which put a lot of gold within reach for the brave.
Each player can only claim one Gilded Voyage, so be sure you're ready to take one on before requesting it from Duke in a tavern. If they're the same as before, they'll take some time to complete (opens in new tab)—and will fill your ship with cargo that'll make you a juicy target.
A Gilded Voyage can net you quite a bit of gold on its own (at least, quite a bit for the average player), but Rare has doubled the potential gains in this update. You can now turn your Gilded Voyage treasures in to the Masked Stranger at the Reaper’s Hideout (opens in new tab), and she'll give you double the gold they're normally worth.
The danger, of course, is that someone like Chris (opens in new tab) might be waiting at the Reaper's Hideout with a couple of gunpowder barrels and zero scruples. You also won't get a reputation boost with any of the guilds, but hoarding gold is the point of being a pirate, not being well-liked.
Simple, limited-time tasks like Gilded Voyages are what I hope to see more of in Sea of Thieves updates this year. I typically only raise the sails once per month anyway, and it's hard to motivate myself or a crew to launch the game to 'do a mission or something, maybe.' Unstructured play was fun for a while, but lately I crave simple, clear goals that a crew and I can spend an evening achieving.
The trailer above explains everything in brief, and you can see all of the new loot available on the official site (opens in new tab).