charter yacht Surprise

I've been on pins and needles awaiting the first photographs from Auckland, New Zealand-based 37 South following the refit of the 115-foot McMullen & Wing motoryacht Surprise. I spent a week aboard this yacht in Fiji back in 2004, and the charter remains one of my favorites to date. When Surprise passed to a new owner who announced an extensive refit earlier this year, I wondered what he might do to improve upon what I thought was a lovely charter yacht as-is.

As you can see in the photograph above, the yacht's exterior remains much as it has been all along. It's the interior that is now different--and dramatically so.

While I remember Surprise as being full of neutral tones and light woods, the new owner clearly has a taste for rich, dark, dramatic decor. The team at 37 South tells me that all of the wood inside the yacht has been restained, to the hues shown in the photographs below:

charter yacht Surprise main salon

charter yacht Surprise cabin

charter yacht Surprise bathroom

In addition to a wholesale makeover of the yacht's interior, the new owner also added zero-speed stabilizers to make cruising more comfortable, new galley equipment and appliances, new mattresses and linens, highly polished teak plus new tile and glass in guest bathrooms (see the photo above), new overheads and lighting, entertainment system upgrades with VSAT-based WiFi, new outdoor cushions and seating for meals, and a new gymnasium, which is shown in the photograph below.

charter yacht Surprise gymnasium

Surprise still takes eight or nine guests in four cabins. I slept in the bunk-style Pullman berth that is available for "guest no. 9" during my charter, and I felt it was large enough for an adult to be reasonably comfortable. Two female charter brokers shared that twin-bed cabin with me, and the three of us each recall having had plenty of space for unpacking and moving about.

Any reputable charter broker can tell you more about the recent refit or help you book a week onboard. Surprise is currently in Tahiti, where she will remain available for charter through May 2010.