Imagine a quiet tropical morning, where you start your day settled in a comfortable chair on the aft deck of a luxurious yacht, anchored off a deserted beach with palm trees shading the flawless white sand. A uniformed crew member serves warm croissants with Mimosas of freshly squeezed orange juice and icy champagne on the sun-warmed teak deck. Your only decision is, what to do today.
Or you might suggest that your captain and crew move your yacht to a nearby harbour where, moored to the quay, you can watch the crowds strolling the waterfront while you enjoy a gourmet lunch from the yacht's chef, who learned his trade in some of the best restaurants in the world. It will be leisurely, languid, and absolutely memorable.
The same is true for dinner, where you can linger over an al fresco five-course service with fine wines in the soft evening air, savouring all the privacy of your own yacht. To finish the evening, you might retire to the bubbling spa on the upper deck of the yacht to sip a last flute of champagne under a starry sky before snuggling into the soft pillows of your suite.
Few of life's pleasures compare with a yacht charter, because it blends a superb sense of privacy with the freedom and flexibility to do exactly as you please. Its no wonder that the truly wealthy, from Onassis to Trump to Oprah, have chosen yachts as their method of escape.
You can, of course, find superb service on many cruise ships but, on the other hand, you go where they choose. Aboard your chartered yacht, the captain will inquire discreetly what might please you today and, should you prefer to do nothing, you will be left undisturbed.
On the other hand, your options might include jetskis and windsurfers, waterskiing, sailing, snorkeling or exploring ashore. Larger yachts obviously have a wider selection of toys, ranging up to helicopters, mini-submarines and automobiles aboard the cream of the fleet.
For many years, charter yachts were the province not just of the wealthy, but of an insider's clique who were familiar with all the nuances and rituals of yachts. Many had their own yachts, but simply wanted to spend a week or two dallying in some foreign location.
Today, however, with literally hundreds of charter yachts worldwide, the marketplace has changed. Many regular charter clients have never owned a yacht and often know almost nothing about boating. What they want is a vacation that combines privacy with exceptional luxury, and that's exactly what a yacht charter provides.
There are plenty of choices, since the number of yachts over 80-feet has gone from roughly 2,500 in 1989 to more than 9,000 today. With many of those in charter service either on a full-time or part-time basis, the opportunities for yacht chartering have never been better.
Unlike a hotel, which is fixed in one location, a charter yacht is easily moved to satisfy any whim from a gourmet picnic on a deserted atoll to fine dining ashore, from disco-hopping 'til the wee hours to watching the stars from the spa. With most charter destinations, you will have the choice of anything from complete seclusion to jet-set night life.
A charter yacht also provides you with many luxury facilities and delights that even the most expensive luxury resort in the world cant possibly offer. For one thing, the view never changes at the resort. Aboard a charter yacht, every guest gets the premium ocean-view accommodations that are so expensive ashore, and they are different every day. You will dine without ever needing a reservation or standing in line, you will enjoy gourmet cuisine precisely to your taste, and you will never, ever, get a bad table. Your crew will remember your names, know your likes and dislikes, and be attentive to your needs. Prefer your lobster shelled? Of course. A second creme brulee? Absolutely.
If scuba diving is your passion (or even if you've never done it), a charter yacht is the perfect platform because you take your luxury accommodation to otherwise unreachable locations, and charter yachts often have experienced diving experts in their crew. If fishing is your game, many of the charter yachts now tow sportfishing boats that allow you to hunt the many varieties of game fish found throughout the world.
On the other hand, shopping may be your sport and a charter yacht can carry you, in just a day, from browsing native wares in a palm-thatched hut on a beach to the chic, luxe boutiques filled with wares from Paris, London and Beverly Hills.
Children will love the myriad water toys found aboard family-friendly charter yachts, from the banana-shaped towed inflatables for wet and wild roller-coaster rides to the easily-mastered jetskis to kayaks for exploring on their own. And every charter yacht has a library of movies and games for young and old alike.
If it's peace you want, a charter yacht is the perfect place for quiet sunbathing, or you might choose a comfy couch where you can settle in with a novel.
With a charter yacht, you can make your vacation anything you want from mild to wild, and change it again overnight. Wherever you charter in the world, a luxury yacht is the ideal way to have your fun and take it with you, too.