|Chantal Ma Vie|
First Impression: Chantal Ma Vie
Date toured: December 2006
Chantal Ma Vie is an interesting yacht. She’s marketed as a 152-foot motoryacht taking 12 guests, but she’s unlike any other motoryacht in that size range that I’ve ever seen.
To understand this yacht, you have to know her history. She was built with the name Nautic Prince not by a shipyard or a noted naval architect, but instead by a 72-year-old Norwegian machinist who, according to the yacht’s captain, “dug a hole in Fort Lauderdale and built a dry dock. It took him ten years. He designed the boat, the interior, did everything—and he finished it. He did one trip on it before trying to go around the world on a cruise ship. He died onboard that cruise ship trip.”
That was in 1983. Two years later, the boat sold to an owner who put it into charter for a few years in Europe with the name Atlantique. He eventually bought another boat and sold Atlantique to its current owner in 1991, when the yacht’s name changed to Chantal Ma Vie. That owner extended the boat by 20 feet, added a hot tub near the swim platform (see photo above), and put on a new top deck known as a flying bridge where a couple of chaise lounges fit quite comfortably.
That’s a unique history for any yacht, let alone one of this size. And it explains why the interior layout is a bit unusual compared with what you’ll find onboard yachts of similar length.
With most 150-footers, you’ll find five guest cabins accommodating a total of 10 guests. Onboard Chantal Ma Vie, there are four guest cabins accommodating a total of 12 guests. That’s because one of the cabins has two double-size beds that abut at the foot, with a single bunk-style berth above each of the double beds (see photo at right).
So six people will sleep inside that one cabin and share a bathroom, with each of the remaining six guests sharing the remaining three cabins and having their own bathrooms.
The “group cabin” is unusual, to be sure, and it probably fosters a rollicking good time for kids who want to have a slumber party every night while their parents enjoy private cabins elsewhere on the yacht. But for adults booking this boat, be aware that that unique cabin may be a problem for some of your fellow adult guests. If you are a group of five or six couples looking to charter, a different yacht in the same size range might be a better fit.
Having said that, the captain and crew I met onboard in Antigua were delightful, and they welcomed families with children. Plus, the yacht was expecting to spend this spring in Jamaica and Belize—two destinations where crewed charter yachts can be extremely difficult to find.