While zero-speed or at-anchor stabilisation technology has been generally widely available for quite a few years now, requests for the technology have become persistent across the board now, with a majority of charter clients specifying it as a key requirement for their charter holiday.
“It’s definitely one of the main things that our charter clients are asking for these days,” says Barbara Dawson at Camper & Nicholsons International. “A lot of the older yachts have gone into refit and had these systems installed, and they work great. It’s really noticeable when you’re at anchor, especially at a lot of the popular anchorages in the Caribbean where you can get a pretty decent swell. It makes life a lot more comfortable for the guests.”
While superyacht communication services have evolved quickly, guests expectations have increased exponentially, with many expecting that they’ll be able to walk on board with their tablets and be able to watch a favourite video streaming service at sea. While it can be possible on the largest yachts to link into the SatCom system relatively painlessly, awareness of what kind of availability a charter yacht provides has increased.
“Our charter clients have always been specific, however, many are starting to demand new technology like 24/7 high-speed satellite internet,” says Bruce Schattenburg of Allied Marine. “Most of the yachts in the worldwide fleet are rising to the demand and many of the older ones are installing cutting-edge communications and entertainment equipment aboard during refit.”
Since its introduction a few years ago, the inflatable superyacht water slide has become a huge sensation. Crews have reported that it’s easy to install and break down (two crew, 20 minutes) and provides endless fun. Custom-built for each yacht, these toys have proven popular and durable for heavy-duty charter use.
“Everybody wants the slide!” says Barabara Dawson at CNI. “It’s so much fun to actually use, but even in the marketing shots, it’s a success because it makes a yacht look like a waterpark, which gets the kids really excited.”
Introduced in 2007, Seabobs have become one of the most popular water toys requested by charter guests. These small, versatile personal watercraft can be set to limit maximum speed and depth, so crew can safely oversee guests' (and especially kids’) activities.
Gina Robertson, a Fraser Yachts charter broker in Fort Lauderdale says clients’ awareness of water sports toys has grown significantly in recent years. “We’re seeing charter clients becoming increasingly adventurous: they want the latest equipment, such as seabobs, kiteboards, flyboards, jetsurfs, and massive water slides, in addition to the traditional water toys, scuba gear, waverunners, and stand-up paddleboards.”
As more large yachts enter the worldwide charter fleet, greater culinary capabilities are on offer as well, as the latest yachts launch with galleys that more resemble professional five-star restaurants than the cramped sailing galleys of old. And following an ever-evolving health and diet-conscious public, charter clients are increasingly wanting to ensure their cruising holiday meals match up with their dietary lifestyles.
Natlaya Manoukian, a Fraser Yachts charter broker in London says she is seeing increased demand for special diets and a heightened appreciation of the quality of the food and service. “My clients are focusing more and more on Captains, chef and crew services,” Manoukian says. “The expectations are much higher than ever before, particularly on the quality of the chefs on board and on specific diets, like lactose-free or low-carb. ”
Along with growing awareness of food services aboard, brokers are reporting more clients making special demands for fine wines. With many yachts now carrying specially-designed wine fridges and storage capabilities, a week on a yacht can certainly provide the wine enthusiast a spectacular array of choices.
Gina Robertson at Fraser Yachts says she’s seeing a shift in client expectations. “Even on smaller charters, I see clients becoming more selective in several ways: more clients are ordering expensive fine wines or importing their own,” she says.