“In my opinion health awareness is definitely more apparent than it has been in previous years but I believe this is partly due to the services available,” says Amber Harley, stewardess and fitness instructor on a 62m motoryacht. “Most yachts now have a gym and often offer the assistance of a personal trainer. After a three course meal and a couple of bottles of rose, guests often see this as a reprieve from their overindulgence.”
When once yachts were not designed to prioritise designated fitness areas, today simply putting up a collapsible treadmill in a convertible cabin will not cut it with guests. A yacht without a dedicate gym or at least space that can be mainly used as a fitness area will not charter well.
For head chef on M/Y Slipstream, Geoffrey Fisher, the last 10 years have seen a marked change in guest food requirements and diets on board. “There has been the usual no carb and low fat diets that seems to come and go during the seasons,” he says. “But I would say fresh fruit and vegetable juices are probably the biggest request that charter guests want with added ingredients like wheat grass or Acai berry. Wheat intolerance, lactose-free and no sugar are high up on the preference sheets as well. The raw food diet is possibly the newest health trend.”
While a charter holiday is a chance for relaxation and indulgence, increasingly guests are asking for healthier dinner options, smaller portions and are getting up for early morning gym sessions. “On the first day of a charter, guests generally discuss light, healthy food options with our chef and then ask to see the fitness equipment available on board,” says captain Carl Sputh of busy charter yacht M/Y Starfire. “It is not uncommon for them to also request a yoga or pilates instructor for a few private sessions. This certainly wasn’t the norm 15 years ago.”
Harley notes that it is not unusual for guests to bring their own food to ensure healthy eating as well as bags full of supplements and various other vitamins. “Generally guests are bringing their everyday health awareness with them on holiday,” she says. “It has become more of a lifestyle than a temporary fix.”
Sputh admits though, that no matter the good intentions, the lure of treating themselves is hard for guests to resist. “Most of these charterers don’t skimp on the alcohol and I do try to tempt them with the odd naughty dessert,” agrees Fisher. “They are on holiday after all!” For Sputh the answer is to adapt menus and offer guests more control over their eating habits in order to assist them to be as healthy as they would like. “So instead of eliminating all treats, our chef will prepare what we call ‘spa food’ for them,” he says. “By this we mean small portions that are low in sugar, fat and/or carbs depending on their diet of choice. We will also offer more buffet dining options so they may choose the amount of food to put on their plate. By adapting we can assist them on their quest to stay healthy.”