Speak to anyone who’s enjoyed a yacht charter vacation, and he or she will probably rave about the food, the watertoys, and how relaxation and pampering were the orders of the day every day. None of these things would be possible without the personalized attention of yacht captains and crew. Indeed, these dedicated men and women make it seem effortless to whip up your favorite foods or teach you to drive a PWC like a pro.
With hundreds of excellent charter-trained crew out there, it’s hard to settle on a short list of some of the best yachts to book. Here, we present a sampling, with the help of top charter brokers.
1. Andromeda la Dea. This 156-foot sailing yacht (above) is a favorite of yacht spotters worldwide, thanks to her Perini Navi pedigree. Missy Johnston of Northrop & Johnson Worldwide Yacht Charters is especially fond of Andromeda la Dea for a few other reasons. “With a captain and crew onboard totaling eight, the service and hospitality are perfect,” she says. She notes that there are actually two captains, Mac Auwers and Aeneas Hollins, who rotate throughout the year. “Both are great captains, leading a great crew, so that a charter could be booked onboard with perfect confidence with either captain leading the charge,” Johnston explains. “The food is outstanding, and a lot of fun is had onboard by all.” With one and sometimes two trained masseuses onboard, Andromeda la Dea’s crew really knows how to make guests relax, she adds. Johnston also recommends the following: “Check around onboard through the great table and other decorations, as there may be cute little animal or fish figures tucked in for a whimsical feel.”
2. Lady Victoria. An 88-footer chartering in the Bahamas and New England, Lady Victoria has a “fab four crew,” Johnston avers. “Captain Shan Crook, mate Kelly Mossley, chef D.J. Marchand, and stewardess Joanne Barber have been onboard Lady Victoria for charters and worked together along with working for this owner for years.” That kind of stability is key, “an outstanding testament to a great, cohesive crew that love to work together and provide great charters.”
3. Suncoco. This 103-foot motoryacht charters in Greece and has plenty going for it, according to Johnston. “Not only is the yacht beautifully maintained, but Capt. Evangelos Berdos leads a great crew of six for a great all-around charter experience,” she says. “With smiling and perfect service, a charter onboard is always tops.” Since the captain and crew are all Greek natives, Johnston recommends one more thing: “Be sure to ask the very talented Capt. Evangelos to perform traditional Greek dancing while onboard, with maybe a little plate throwing on the side.”
4. Lionshare. The 130-foot Lionshare, built in 1987, has been a favorite on the charter circuit for many years. It’s due in large part to her captain, Greg Havens, who has been running Lionshare for more than a decade. Cindy Brown of Ultra Marine Yacht Charters says, “Greg Havens has done so many good charters for my clients. He wows them all.” In fact, here’s some of the feedback Brown says she’s received from her clients: “absolute perfection,” “you were right about Greg,” “fabulous service.” In addition, Brown says, “One of my clients will listen to his itinerary suggestions over me!”
5. Big Fish. The 147-foot Big Fish received rave reviews from the media when she was delivered last year, and her owner raved equally about the crew well after that point. The adulations for them continue on the charter circuit. “Under the leadership of Capt. Winston Joyce-Clarke, this is a very special crew,” Brown says. “There are many a ‘can-do’ crew, but this is a knockout group that have traversed the globe in the first year of the launch of the yacht, created a philanthropic crew fund to give to others less fortunate along their journey, and were so impressive that my clients are returning for a second charter. They are young, enthusiastic, adventurous, and fun!”
6. Tuscan Sun. This 147-footer gets plenty of attention for her luxe interior (above), but how many yachts can claim they have a real live mermaid onboard? That’s how Brown characterizes Christina Jones Garcia, one of the talented crewmembers aboard Tuscan Sun. “For underwater exploration, great food, and a truly thoughtful group, this is the team. Gui Garcia and his wife, who doubles as the chef and mermaid, lead the team.”