Kim Kavin is an award-winning writer, editor and photographer who specializes in marine travel. She is the author of six books including Dream Cruises: The Insider’s Guide to Private Yacht Vacations, and is editor of the online yacht vacation magazine www.CharterWave.com.
A little more than a year ago, I introduced you to the 104-foot gulet Getaway, which offers charters in Turkey and Greece. At the time, Getaway was brand-new to the charter industry. She spent last summer performing her first charters and earning a good reputation, according to several brokers I’ve consulted.
Now comes word from management company Serenity Yachting that Getaway has gaps in her summer calendar that the owner wants to fill. Thus, beginning July 21 (that’s tomorrow) and continuing through the month of August, Getaway will be offered at a 10-percent discount off her usual July and August weekly base rate of €35,000 for eight guests.
According to Serenity’s online booking calendar, available dates for this discount include July 21-24, August 8-20, and August 29-31.
The entire month of September appears available for bookings, as well, but thus far the 10-percent discount has not been offered beyond the end of August. Note that September is not a “high season” month in the Mediterranean, so the weekly base rate drops anyway in September from €35,000 to €31,500–the same price as the high season rate with the 10-percent discount factored in.
Any reputable charter broker can tell you more about Getaway or help you book a week onboard at the newly announced discount rate.
Fraser Yachts Worldwide has announced the launch of a Russian-language website. According to the company, “The site constitutes the first Russian web portal in the world to be developed by a major, international luxury yacht brokerage company.”
I believe that marketing claim is accurate, although it appears to me that the new site is very similar to Fraser’s existing website as opposed to being an entirely new online construction. When I click on the tabs that usually take me to a listing of charter yachts, for example, I get the same results in the same format–albeit with everything but the yachts’ names appearing in the Russian language.
“A company that puts its clients first should at least be able to speak to them in their own language,” Hein Velema, Fraser’s CEO, said in a news release. “Our clients from Russia have yachts under construction, under management and for sale and charter; we’re now in an even better position to meet their needs.”
Fraser has offered its charter brochures in Russian for several years. The company also has a number of Russian-speaking brokers and staff.
Management company Churchill Yacht Partners sends word of an unusual charter opportunity: The classic, 84-foot Trumpy motoryacht Wishing Star is offering a north-to-south itinerary along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard this October.
The yacht will be moving from Great Bridge, Virginia, to South Florida as part of its repositioning for the winter 2010-11 charter season. The owner is interested in having a party of two to four charter guests aboard during the trip south, so has put together an incentives package.
Wishing Star‘s regular base rate of $22,000 will apply to 10 days as opposed to seven for the dates in October. In addition, guests will have fuel expenses fixed at $1,500, will receive a private carriage tour of Charleston, South Carolina, and will receive two dinners ashore at The Peninsula Grill and Hank’s Seafood Restaurant, which Churchill calls “the top two restaurants in Charleston.”
Any reputable charter broker can help you book this one-time-only charter opportunity on the East Coast of the United States.
Edmiston and Company, which, as you can see in this month’s edition of CharterWave eNews, is publicizing a substantial number of discounts for its fleet yachts this summer in the Mediterranean, has now become the first management company to publicly announce a serious price reduction for a major motoryacht in the Caribbean this winter.
The 254-foot motoryacht Samar is offering 15 percent off its weekly base rates for Caribbean charters this winter, as long as the charters are booked before August 31.
The low-season discount moves the yacht’s lowest weekly base rate from €650,000 to €552,500, and its holiday base rate from €675,000 to €574,750.
Samar was one of the most talked-about yachts at the December charter yacht show in Antigua. As I noted in this First Impression review, Samar left me downright stunned at the sight of her impressive interior (quite a feat, given that I step aboard about 100 charter yachts each year). She takes 12 guests with a crew of 25, has ceiling heights of 10 feet as opposed to the industry norm of 6 or 7 feet, and offers unabashed opulence in every way that I know to be possible aboard a charter yacht.
That’s the main salon in the photograph above. When I walked into it, I felt like I was entering Versailles.
Edmiston says that Samar‘s winter calendar is “fully open,” so if you contact a reputable charter broker immediately, you should be able to get the discounted rate for the charter dates of your choice. Samar‘s home port for the winter season is expected to be Sint Maarten, making Northern Caribbean itineraries the easiest without delivery fees.
The Triton, a publication written primarily for yacht captains and crew, has just published the results of an interesting survey. The magazine asked nearly 140 yacht crew members how they feel about having children younger than 15 as guests. Nearly three out of four said they enjoy the experience.
That’s of course good news for anyone interested in booking a charter yacht for a family vacation, but it also drives home the point that some yachts are far more kid-friendly than others. If about 25 percent of yacht crew do not enjoy having children onboard, then it is in your best interest to avoid booking charters aboard those yachts if children are part of your group.
Any reputable charter broker can give you insights into which yachts and crew do best with children. Simply tell your broker that you would like to see the reviews given by clients who brought children aboard during previous charters.
You also can find a wealth of helpful information on CharterWave. I recently posted a list of the 10 Best Charter Yachts for Families with Young Children as submitted by leading brokers worldwide, and this week’s 10 Best list includes yachts that are ideal for families with active teenagers. I wrote this blog post not long ago about two motoryachts that stood out at May’s charter yacht show in Genoa as being ultra kid-friendly for charters this summer in the Mediterranean. And if you search CharterWave for the words “children” or “kids,” you will also find crew interviews like this one with Capt. Alec Cunningham of the 151-foot Delta motoryacht Katya, where the father of three regularly invites children onto the bridge to play with dolls. (It doesn’t get more kid-friendly than that!)
Also worth noting from The Triton survey: Only half of the yacht crew who responded said that their skills with children were discussed when they interviewed for their jobs onboard. If you have questions or concerns about a crew’s background, ask your charter broker for full resumes and additional information before signing your charter contract.
Multiple websites are reporting that on Friday, the 154-foot ISA motoryacht Axioma was detained by Italian authorities who had received a tip that Russian fugitives were onboard. The yacht was escorted into the port of Lipari, where charter guests were forced to disembark and spend about five hours in the local police barracks before being released, according to the news reports. No arrests were made, and the guests and yacht were released.
I attempted to confirm this information just a few moments ago while speaking with Vanessa Morlot, the charter manager in the Monaco office of Yacht-Zoo, which manages Axioma for charter. She would neither confirm nor deny any of the details that have been reported, saying only that it was “a strange situation” and that “the whole thing should not have happened.”
Morlot did confirm that Axioma has resumed a normal charter schedule, with a new group of guests scheduled to board to begin a charter vacation in just a few days.
The following video has surfaced on YouTube of authorities seizing Axioma and escorting last week’s charter guests ashore, but the video does not bear the official logo of the Guardia di Finanza, as was the case when the Italian agency seized the 207-foot motoryacht Force Blue on tax evasion charges in May. The video does not appear to be an official accounting of what happened with Axioma, but instead a spectator’s witnessing of the event:
I was last onboard Axioma in December 2008, when I wrote this favorable First Impression review. Axioma is a 2006 build that takes up to 12 guests at a lowest weekly base rate of €165,000 and a high-season weekly base rate of €185,000.
July and August are considered “high season” months in the Western Mediterranean, where Axioma was on charter at the time of the incident. Unfortunately for the charter clients involved, none of that charter fee is legally required to be refunded in a situation such as this. As one industry insider put it to me this morning: “It’s like when you’re driving down the road on the way to an appointment, and the police pull you over in a case of mistaken identity, and you end up missing your appointment for no reason at all. It’s just plain bad luck.”
Management company Nicholson Yachts tells me that the 80-foot Southern Wind sailing yacht Matelot is offering 10 days of charter for the price of seven during the month of September in the South Pacific.
Matelot is currently in the Society Islands. Itineraries are available there at a weekly base rate of €29,500, or in the Tuamotus at a base rate of €32,500. Note that those base rates do not include the 12-percent tax imposed by the government in Polynesia.
Matelot is a 2005 build that was refit in 2007. She takes six guests with four crew. Each guest cabin has its own bathroom, and all crew quarters are separate from the guest quarters. (That’s not the case on all sailing yachts of this size.)
Fraser Yachts Worldwide states in its just-released monthly newsletter that while brokerage yacht sales appear to be gradually recovering from the global economic crisis, yacht charter is “still feeling the pinch” with significant deals currently available for summer charter bookings.
The management company notes two key trends that currently pertain to charter yachts.
First, that a “large proportion” of bookings for summer 2010 have been signed just a few weeks before the charter’s start date. This is a complete turnaround from booking trends before the economy crashed, when top charter yachts were often booked for prime summer weeks as much as a year in advance.
Second, Fraser states that an increasing number of yacht owners are now changing their approach to luring new clients. “Most yacht owners started off by adding value to the charter price, such as including relocation fees or other onboard services,” the newsletter states. “In recent weeks, as the season marches on, we’ve seen straight discounts being offered, sometimes up to 35 percent off the standard rates.”
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you know that substantial discounts–some as high as 50 percent off for multi-week bookings–are being announced nearly every day for charter yachts in the Mediterranean, New England, and the Bahamas.
I am also starting to see advertisements for “early-bird booking discounts” that will apply to charters in the Caribbean this winter. That is an indication that some yacht owners feel the charter market will not rebound for at least another six months, and perhaps not until next summer’s prime season in the Mediterranean.
Broker Michael Sawyer at Infinity Yacht Charters sends word from Vancouver that the 114-foot classic motoryacht Pacific Yellowfin still has availability for charters this summer in the Pacific Northwest.
You may remember this interview that I conducted with charter broker Liz Howard of Fraser Yachts Worldwide after she spent some time cruising aboard Pacific Yellowfin in the region. Her review was nothing short of glowing, including her description of the yacht as “absolutely stunning.” I take that as seriously high praise, since I regularly see Howard touring some of the finest charter yachts on the market at boat shows worldwide.
Pacific Yellowfin has availability from July 17 through August 5, and then again after August 16. Itineraries can include Desolation Sound with no additional delivery fees, at weekly base rates that range from $42,500 to $47,300 for charter parties of eight to 12 guests.
Pacific Yellowfin also has its own website where you can view lots of photos and learn more about Pacific Northwest itineraries, local cuisine, and the like.
Any reputable charter broker can tell you more about Pacific Yellowfin or help you book one of the remaining weeks that are available for charter this summer.
Editor’s Note: Infinity Yacht Charters is a sponsor of CharterWave, where this blog originates.
Management firm Edmiston and Company tells me that the 98-foot Pendennis sailing yacht Nostromo is offering a 20-percent discount for charters in Croatia this July and August.
Nostromo‘s regular weekly base rate is €50,000 for as many as seven guests with four crew. The newly announced discount base rate is €40,000.
If Croatia isn’t your ideal summer destination, Nostromo also is available at the discounted rate in other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean until August 7, as well as in the Western Mediterranean from mid-August through early September.
I was aboard Nostromo just two months ago in Italy (look for my full First Impression review soon). I thought the yacht presented beautifully, a result of having been reserved exclusively for owner use since launching in August 2009. I was also impressed that the entire crew has been aboard since the launch. The fact that there has been no turnover in almost a year indicates that the owner treats the crew well, that they are happy, and that they have the support they will need to provide top-quality charter service during their first season of availability this summer.
Any reputable charter broker can tell you more about Nostromo or help you book her at the newly announced discount rate.