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Mice Net : December 2008
five-star yacht eScapeS auStralian and new Zealand companies are discovering there are new worlds out there for luxury getaways. O ne is what the Americans and Europeans call the ‘world of yachting’ – sailing aboard grand mega motor-cruisers that indulge just a hundred or so passengers in ultimate luxury. The other is the ‘world of yacht chartering.’ In recent times Australians have shown with their hip-pockets they’ve joined both these new worlds. Quite recently the Australian arm of a leading international direct marketing company chartered the 110-passenger SeaDream II for a week in the Mediterranean, and soon after an Australian businessman chartered the same boutique ship to celebrate his 50th birthday. More recently SeaDream II’s “twin sister” SeaDream I was chartered by a major Australian motor company as part of an incentive scheme, again sailing a week in the Mediterranean with just 55 couples. In all cases the chartered mega motor-cruisers – consistently rated the world’s number one small ships for dining, service and value – became the charterer’s exclusive domain for their week of indulgence. This included everything from the all-outside staterooms with picturesque views, to gourmet five-star dining including wines with lunch and dinner, drinks from the open bars, all power and sail watersports, a 50-course golf simulator, nightly movies (often on deck), fitness centre, and even their own casino. And it meant charterers could design their own itineraries, choose their dress code, arrange unlimited turn-down gifts, create their own social activities, and drop into the open bridge whenever they wished. “As the charterer, you virtually become the captain,” one charterer said. “With just 55 staterooms, SeaDream is the perfect size, and our group was able to affix the company logo to the pool and fly the company flag from the mast – a great photo opportunity and certainly wonderfully prestigious. “Menus were done with company logos and the ship’s newspaper became the daily bugle for executives travelling with the group, and we had specially printed postcards and the company’s products in the bathrooms along with SeaDream’s regular Bvlgari toiletries.” As an example, one charter sailed from Rome to Nice with stops at Positano, Sorrento, Capri, Porto Azzuro, Viareggio, Portofino, St Tropez, Cannes, and Monte Carlo. “Breakfasts and lunches were on deck because the weather was so perfect, and dinners a mix of casual on deck and more formal in the dining room, although there was never a call for ties, jackets or gowns. We also had special events like an Aussie poolside barbecue one night and an Italian- themed cocktail party another,” the charterer said. Visit www.seadream.com. SeaDream charters are on the rise. They are definitely five- star all the way. mice.net supplement 2009 27