iPod on charter yacht IconI just uploaded this new First Impression review of the 205-foot motoryacht Icon, which is part of the charter fleet at Camper and Nicholsons International. As you'll see in the review, this yacht has a lot of unusual features compared with other motoryachts available for charter, but one in particular that stands out to me as an idea that might migrate throughout the industry is the use of iPods instead of Crestron controls.

Crestron controls have become a standard aboard megayachts in recent years, allowing guests to pick up one remote and control everything from music and movies to lighting, curtains, and room temperature. I can't tell you how many yacht reviews I've written that state "the yacht has an entertainment system accessed via Crestron controls." Whenever a charter yacht manager is touting a yacht's special features, she always tells me about the Crestron controls. Aboard new and newly refit yachts, they are practically a "must have."

All of which is why I was surprised to see Icon, a fall 2009 launch, using iPods instead. Each guest cabin has its own iPod that controls--you guessed it--music, movies, lighting, curtains, and room temperature.

From what I could tell during the short demonstration that Chief Stewardess Dani Bolderson provided, the iPod system did almost everything I've ever seen the Crestron system do, only in a package that was far smaller, more portable, and more intuitive. (The Crestron system aboard the 164-foot motoryacht NewVida is unique in that it also lets charter guests order wine, cigars, or snacks from the crew, but I've only seen that once, back in 2007, and have not seen it installed aboard other charter yachts.)

"Gone are the days of Crestron," Bolderson said proudly, holding up the iPod shown in the photograph above. "The Crestrons were huge controls anyway, really hideous-looking compared to these iPods."

I must admit, she has a point. It will be interesting to see whether other yachts follow Icon's lead, making iPods the new "must have" control system for top-dollar charter yachts. Stay tuned.