Like private jets, yacht charters are gaining in popularity for the privacy, exclusivity, security and flexibility offered throughout the experience. No longer limited to show-biz types and business moguls heading off to famous annual events such as the Cannes Film Festival, they’re an excellent option for families celebrating, romantics in search of gold-hued sunsets and corporations booking special events, retreats and incentives. Never run-of-the-mill and pretty much all-inclusive, clients love that yacht charters are highly serviced, indulgent and, in most instances, customized.
In our October 2005 issue, Luxury Travel Advisor gave you the ins and outs of booking both cruise ships and private yacht charters. This time around, we looked at yacht companies who could take your clients off the beaten path, setting sail beyond the Caribbean and Mediterranean to destinations like Scandinavia, Australia, California, South America, and even the Indian Ocean.
We love American Safari’s (www.amsafari.com) sails under San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge to the Napa and Petaluma Rivers in California’s wine country on the 105-foot Safari Spirit. Accommodating up to 12 guests, eight wine-tasting San Francisco roundtrips are currently available this fall. Highlights include sumptuous repasts paired with perfect wines and visits to wine estates in both Napa and Sonoma (some aren’t ever open to the public), kayaking to the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Reserve and short flights to art-infused Calistoga for visits to the homes of famous artists such as Carlo Marchiori, world-renowned for his Renaissance, Baroque and Neo-classic works.
Amenities include an on-deck hot tub, exercise equipment, a large-screen TV/DVD player in the main salon, kayaks, mountain bikes and a well-stocked library.
Along with the company’s two other yachts (the 22-passenger, 124-foot Safari Quest and the 12-passenger Safari Escape), all-inclusive charters are available along the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, Mexico and the Columbia and Snake Rivers.
The price for a six-night wine-country charter is $66,995. Depending on length and destination, other program prices range from about $48,000 to $130,000, commissionable 10 to 12 percent.
SeaDream Yacht Club (www.seadreamyachtclub.com) is now heading down to South America for sails aboard the 110-passenger SeaDream I in Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. A unique combination of cities like Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro and Colonial villages listed as World Heritage sites, these trips offer out-of-this-world eco-adventures such as flying over the horseshoe-shaped Iguazu Falls (a Unesco World Heritage site since 1984) for a bird’s-eye view of some 275 separate waterfalls in Parana, Brazil in a private plane. The South America itineraries begin this November.
Cabins feature CD/DVD players, flat-screen TVs, Internet access, safes, hair dryers and refrigerators. Stand-out ship amenities include multiple indoor/outdoor bars, a private dining salon/board room, a restaurant, 24-hour room service, a spa and fitness center, hair salon, a library with computers, a pool, casino, card room, golf simulator and a retractable water sports platform marina. The ship is packed with fun gear such as mountain bikes, wave runners, skis, kayaks, motorized Zodiacs and diving equipment.
Charters for five to eight nights begin at about $500,000. For Carnival/Rio charters in 2008 count on about $700,000 for five nights, commissionable at 12 percent.
For VIPs, contact Chairman and CEO Larry Pimentel (lpimen
[email protected]; 305-631-6101).
With a fleet of 895 yachts in more than 41 destinations around the globe, we like The Moorings’ (www.moorings.com) year-round charters through the bejeweled islands of the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean. Here, your clients can snorkel amid coral reefs and giant rays, visit colonies of giant tortoises and laze on any one of dozens upon dozens of snow-white beaches.
The 47-foot, six-passenger Signature 4700 features plenty of outdoor deck space, with a large trampoline, cushy seating and an al fresco dining area. Along with queen-bedded cabins with en-suite bathrooms, the salon is outfitted with a large-screen TV and DVD/CD entertainment system and even a spacious dining area for excellent fare from the ship’s chef. The abundance of water sports equipment includes knee boards, kayaks and skis, as well as fishing and diving gear and a motorized dinghy.
These cruises roundtrip Mahé, a tropical isle of gorgeous beaches, cinnamon plantations and rainforests, and sail to islands like Praslin, Curieuse, Anse Volbert and Grande Soeur.
The charter price for seven nights comes in at $73,000, less with prevailing discounted promotions; commissionable 12 to 15 percent.
For VIPs, contact Marketing Brand Manager David Rohr ([email protected]; 727-530-5424, ext. 3502).
An owner-operated private jet company, Talon Air (www.talonair.net), will begin offering charters in September on their 130-foot, 12-passenger mega-yacht. In addition to the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, Florida and South America, your clients can opt for sails on the Elana around Martha’s Vineyard, Newport, the East End of Long Island (read: Montauk and the Hamptons) and South America, be it two days or 10. Better yet, you can package door-to-door transportation via a Talon Jet to and from their embark/disembark destination (including limo rides to and from home to the airport) that serve up spa indulgences with Frederic Fekkai products and in-air dining courtesy of Daniel Boulud.
The yacht features a formal dining salon and fine food prepared by its chef, a six-person hot tub on the top deck, flat-screen plasma TVs and surround-sound systems everywhere, plus spa and salon services from top-notch aestheticians. Water-themed gear includes scuba and fishing equipment, three-man jet skis, two SeeDoo, a 37-foot Intrepid and an 18-foot tender.
Depending on length and destination, inclusive prices begin at about $102,000 for a week-long charter. Net rates are offered.
For VIPs, contact Director of Marketing Jason Kaufman (jkauf
[email protected]; 516-466-6680, ext.106).
Cathy Tschiderer of DePrez Travel Bureau in Rochester, NY says, “Yacht charters are great for family vacations. We have seen a significant rise in bookings and I think they, like private jets, are keeping with the security issues of today’s travelers. We book quite a few through Nicholson Yachts, but when it comes to larger vessels or needing flexible dates, we work with companies such as SeaDream.”
Where they sail:
Alaska, California, Columbia and Snake Rivers; Mexico; Pacific Northwest
SeaDream Yacht Club :
Caribbean, Mediterranean, Mexico, South America
Caribbean, Eastern Seaboard, Florida, Gulf of Mexico, South America
Caribbean, Europe, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, Mexico, Pacific Northwest, Scandinavia, South Pacific
The main salon aboard each of SeaDream’s vessels is reminiscent of a luxury cruise liner, with space for dining and top entertainment.
Seadream’s vessels ply Caribbean waters on chartered outings (top); its vessels also journey to the Mediterranean, Mexico and South America.
On-shore excursions can also include golfing, horseback riding, private museum visits and tango lessons. Featuring 10 itineraries in all, eight of them embark/disembark in Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires and include an extra night aboard while tied up in Rio or Buenos Aires. Two others will sail along the Uruguay River and Rio de la Plata and Nueva Palmira.
American Safari’s Safari Quest calls in quaint Petaluma, CA.
For VIPs, contact Vice President of Sales and Marketing Tim Jacox ([email protected]; 425-776-4700, ext. 106).
American Safari is one sure-fire option for a peaceful river cruise.