First Impression: Amazon-A
Date toured: May 2007
Professionally run, fully crewed motoryachts are a relatively new idea in the Turkish charter market. There are plenty of gorgeous motoryachts in these stunning turquoise waters, but the local owners who offer them for charter are few and far between. It’s simply not part of the culture in Turkey, where charter yachts are primarily gulets, traditional motorsailers.
It’s a shame more motoryachts aren’t based here in Turkey because cruising along the southwest Turkish coastline is spectacular. Typically, though, if you want to experience it by way of true luxury motoryacht with a captain who has good local knowledge, you have to charter from the Greek fleet and cruise from Greece’s Dodecanese Islands across the Turkish border—paying some hefty customs and yacht delivery expenses along the way.
For these reasons, it’s quite exciting to see a newly built, properly staffed motoryacht enter the Turkish fleet—especially one operating business-wise in the same manner as yachts in the developed Western Mediterranean market. This is why I am so excited about the 105-foot Amazon-A, a 2006 motoryacht built by the AGA yard in Bodrum, Turkey, that is offering its first season of charters this summer under contracts developed by the world-recognized Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association.
I found Amazon-A at the annual charter yacht show in Marmaris, Turkey, where she was on display under the auspices of Contact Turkey, a local agency that has spent more than a decade proving itself as legitimate among reputable U.S. and Western European charter brokers. I asked around quite a lot, and literally every single broker I trust who books charters regularly in this country has nothing but good things to say about Contact Turkey.
These recommendations tell me that when you send your charter payment for a week onboard Amazon-A, your money should actually get into the pockets where it is supposed to go in this emerging charter marketplace.
Amazon-A impressed me not just because of her relationship with Contact Turkey, but also because of her traditional, basic décor and her experienced crew of six, all but one of whom speak English at basic or intermediate levels—and including a chef who trained in hotels to learn international cuisine, beyond Turkish foods.
The yacht takes 10 guests in five cabins. Four of those cabins have queen-size beds while the master has a king-size bed, making this a good motoryacht for couples who want to explore Turkey without having to sleep in twin-size beds, as is the case on most other motoryachts here. One guest cabin toward the back of the yacht is a bit smaller than the others, but all of the guest cabins are finished to the same level of quality, so nobody will feel like they are in a “kiddie cabin” if couples want to split the charter bill.
There is satellite TV in every cabin as well as in the main saloon and sky lounge one deck up, with each television connected to an individual receiver so guests can watch different channels in different rooms at the same time. Amazon-A had no Internet access at the time I was onboard, but deckhand Onur DaĞci told me it was due to be installed before the yacht started chartering in June 2007.
On the other hand, I was pleased to see individual air-conditioning controls already installed in each of the guest cabins, and to learn of the yacht’s smoking policy, which forbids cigarettes and cigars in the interior spaces (a somewhat unusual policy in the Eastern Mediterranean).
The main outdoor guest relaxation area is on the same deck as the bridge, where there is an indoor sky lounge as well as an outdoor dining and shaded sitting area with bar and grill. If you climb the ladder-like steps one more level up, there is a smaller, open deck for lounging under the sun.
Amazon-A will be based in Bodrum, Turkey, this season, which is one of two southwest Turkish ports that has convenient access to an international airport. You can charter from Bodrum round-trip back to Bodrum, or go one-way to end your charter in Gocek, Turkey, where there also is airport access. The Greek Dodecanese islands are along the way, as are many ancient ruins in Greece and Turkey alike.
The yacht’s lowest weekly base rate is 35,000 euros, or about $5,875 per person with 25-percent expenses included.
Contact any reputable charter broker for more information.—Kim Kavin