10 tips to make the most of your luxury yacht charter
Turn your phone off

We sent Peter Allen for a long weekend in the Caribbean on 72 metre Axioma, one of the most popular charter yachts in the world and currently for sale. Here’s what he found out...

1. Turn your phone off

There’s so much to do and enjoy on a voyage on Axioma, and you’ll always be surrounded by family and friends, so what’s the point of keeping in touch with dry land? Take time to bask in your surroundings, away from the distractions of the real world. Yachting Partners International’s Mark Duncan advises: “Fun is definitely what it’s all about but, if you have to slip away to catch up with the boss, then we have dedicated offices and work rooms you can disappear to. The cabins are just as comfortable to work in as they are to relax in!”

Be specific

Before boarding, I had to fill out a preference list on everything from my favourite Champagne — “vintage or non-vintage?” — to what I wanted for breakfast. “If guests tell us their favourite things, it can help give us a head start to make sure we have it on board,” says Axioma’s head chef Stephen Paskins. “We make all of our bread and can get special flours if you want gluten-free, for instance, which can be hard to find in some places in Italy.”

Likewise, letting the captain know what you want to do in advance is highly recommended. “If people want to go somewhere quiet and remote it would be silly for me to say ‘let’s go to St Tropez’, but if they want to be seen it would be silly to take them to a remote island off Corsica,” says Axioma’s captain, Mark Giblin. “This is part of our secret. We do a lot of research into what guests like.”

This runs to themes, too. Axioma’s chief stewardess Rochelle Cameron has arranged all types of events from a barbecue on a private beach to a Bob Marley or Harry Potter-themed dinner party. During the Caribbean trip there was also karaoke and visits from a magician and a singer from St Barths.

Utilise the boat

Axioma’s crew’s advice for making the most out of a charter? Really make use of every bit of the boat. “Use the boat fully! We have amazing toys, all sorts of watersports, and we have a yoga instructor, masseuses, a hairdresser, a diving instructor,” says Rochelle Cameron, the chief stewardess. “You can wake up in the morning and do yoga, go diving and get a massage. The best part of a yacht? It’s like a floating hotel, but one you have all to yourself.”

Take advantage of having a private chef

Chef Paskins, who has worked in numerous Michelin-starred and AA Rosette restaurants and gastro-pubs on dry land, particularly in his home city of London, said he could be scrambled at 4am to rustle up a late-night snack, while some guests choose to have breakfast after midday.

“We are better than restaurants,” he says. “When you’re on a yacht, it’s a lot more personal. It’s about one table, whereas when you’re in a restaurant it’s 20 tables.

If you’re a vegan, you might be a minority in a restaurant, but on a yacht we can give you that added attention.” His range is exceptional and he specialises in “fresh and French” dishes, often “with a hint of the Far East”. He recommended “anything you like”, promising to have food flown and then couriered in if it wasn’t available in local markets. This meant £1,100 pots of Beluga caviar, Japanese wagyu beef and jamón Ibérico were as ubiquitous as Cristal Champagne.

Picture courtesy of Kzeno/Shutterstock.com

Stay fit

Offerings of food and drink were endless on Axioma, but there was every option to stay very fit indeed. There’s swimming, obviously – you can enter the sea at any time, either from the platform at the stern, or from the 7.2 metre inflatable Aquaglide slide that was set up on most days. There is also, of course, the beautiful infinity pool.

Kayaks and paddleboards, scuba-diving equipment and waterskis are also on board, as well as fishing rods for those who enjoy a more relaxed pace. Yoga and massage sessions were on offer, along with a spa and sauna. Axioma is also one of the best luxury yachts for charter with a gym.

Second officer Mark Walsh, who was alongside for my jet ski sessions, says: “You can take part in sea sports all the time, all under constant supervision”. Chef Paskins also says that any dietary needs – however healthy – can be met if requested.

Go ashore

I was reluctant to get off Axioma, as luxurious as she was, but Captain Mark Giblin steered us across to Anguilla, the British overseas territory, on one of the tenders, which made for a delightful visit. There was a museum tracing the island’s colonial history, and ancient tribal sites, but the best bit was sitting on a beach sipping freshly made piña coladas while staring across the Caribbean back at Axioma. Our crew followed us at all times, making sure we had all the drinks, food and towels we needed, even when not on board.

Enjoy the sunsets

There’s nothing better than enjoying a sunset from a superyacht, and Captain Giblin made sure we were best placed for the spectacular red, purple, yellow and orange shows every evening.

The onboard spa pool was a good place to watch from, and on day two Axioma’s limousine tender took us out to enjoy it on a tiny unnamed island solely containing a bar. Timing the sunset enjoyment just right is one of the many ways that a charter yacht crew go out of their way to make your holiday the best experience ever.

Be nice to the neighbours

Being on a superyacht puts you in a tiny community of hugely privileged people, so give them a wave. Axioma was moored alongside 162.5 metre Eclipse when I boarded, and there were rumours that her owner was on board. It’s not often you see an oligarch up close, but during a few days on a superyacht all kinds of celebrities are liable to pop up. American singer and chart-topper Mariah Carey (pictured) also appeared on the yacht Arctic P when we were alongside in St Barths, while former supermodel Jerry Hall was said to be celebrating her recent engagement to media magnate Rupert Murdoch on one of the yachts around us. Recent visitors on Axioma herself have included a number of celebrities as well.

Listen to the captain

Heed your captain’s advice on itineraries, transit times and places to go — there’s no point going too far and not enjoying the journey. Axioma’s captain does extensive research and knows how to get the most out of the time available on board. They also “trick” the itinerary, he says, by travelling when guests are asleep. “In places like the Med, it can be breezy in the day, usually windiest around 2-3pm, but often the weather is much calmer in the evening. Even on a windy day the weather will calm down at night, so we can cover the distance without the guests knowing it, while they are sleeping.”

Bring a nanny

Don’t assume that the crew will be your nanny. While many crew are excellent with children and can plan fun activities with kids, teach watersports and more, if you are looking to unwind completely, then perhaps consider bringing your own childcare.

It can make all the difference, says Axioma’s chief stewardess Rochelle Cameron. “It’s bringing part of home with them. Their nanny knows them and eases the way into the boat. It’s a bit of familiarity, they know the children and their routine. The kids might be tired if they are jet-lagged, and the nannies keep them on routine. If the kids are happy the parents are happy, so it all works out. It makes it easier for the parents and makes them relax a little more. They have someone they know looking after their kids.”

Captain Giblin agrees. “We like the experience to begin when we pick people up at the airport,” he says. “If they come with nanny, it’s something the kids are familiar with, so the minute they step on board they are on vacation.”

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com.


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