First Impression: Cloud 9
Date toured: December 2009
Cloud 9 is one of two 196-foot motoryachts that left the CMN shipyard in France and entered the global charter market in 2009. The other is Slipstream, which launched shortly before Cloud 9. Their interior and on-deck layouts are immensely similar, while their décors differ. The odds are that if you are shopping for a charter in this price and size range, both yacht brochures will end up in your view.
The first crew member I met during my tour of Cloud 9 was Chief Engineer Stuart Laidlaw, who was fascinating in helping me to understand the quality of systems onboard and how they set Cloud 9 apart from other charter yachts environmentally. Not to be too graphic, but as Laidlaw explains it, most boats have a system in which sewage gets mushed, mixed with chlorine, and dumped overboard. “Ours,” he told me, “is a biological system. The sewage goes through a mesh grill, gets diluted with fresh water, and then goes into a system that settles out the particles. So at the end, we’re flushing overboard a liquid that has been disinfected with a chlorine. We pump the solids out of the tank separately. Without a doubt, it’s better for the planet.”
A little gross to think about, but a very smart feature for anyone concerned about offsetting the environmental impact of a yacht charter vacation.
Service Steward John Craven showed me around the "more polite" parts of Cloud 9, which he described as “not a museum, and not an art gallery. You can put your feet up. We’re a very nice beach house.”
There are seven cabins overall, including a main-deck master, a bridge-deck VIP with a private balcony (Slipstream has that, too), and four cabins on the bottom deck. Two of those final four have king-size beds, while the other two have twin-size beds that can convert to kings. That means that six couples could charter Cloud 9, and every couple would have a king-size bed. That is something of a rarity, even for this size charter yacht.
Like Slipstream, Cloud 9 has a 12-foot projector screen in its sky lounge, which abuts an indoor-outdoor dining area that can be enclosed in glass during inclement weather. “We can plug a laptop into the projector,” Craven told me, “if people want to watch a slide show of their charter holiday, or if they want to watch anything else.” I couldn’t help but imagine the fun of a birthday or anniversary charter, with a pre-made slide show featuring old family photos.
I finished my tour of Cloud 9 by spending some time with Capt. Colin Boyle, who talked with me about other things he feels are important for charter. You can read that interview here.
Cloud 9, like Slipstream, takes 12 guests with 15 crew. At the time of this writing, both yachts were available for charter in the Caribbean. The weekly base rate for Slipstream was $392,000, some $40,000 higher than the advertised base rate for Cloud 9.
Camper & Nicholsons International is the management company. Any reputable charter broker can help you book a week onboard.—Kim Kavin