Charter broker Robin O’Brien of Fraser Yachts Worldwide recently returned to Fort Lauderdale from the industry-only charter yacht show in Poros, Greece. I caught up with her late last week, when we talked about the state of tourism in Greece, what’s happening with charter pricing, and which yachts she thinks are top-notch for the summer charter season in the East Mediterranean.
Was this your first time at the charter show in Greece?
I went to the show in 2010 and then again this year—and this was the best show I’ve seen there. The quality of the boats was fabulous. Excellent. I won’t name names, but I only saw two boats that I thought should not have been in the show. They’re with good managers, though, and they will probably be okay by the end of the summer given the feedback from the show. Every year, the fleet in Greece is meeting if not exceeding the Western Med standards.
How was the quality of the food in the chefs’ competition at the Poros show?
They are serious about it. They take their chefs’ competition very seriously. I was a judge for the smaller boat category, and the food was incredible. It was one of the hardest and most fun things I’ve ever done. It was a very challenging thing because the food was excellent. There wasn’t one dish that shouldn’t have been there.
What’s happening right now in Greece with charter availability and pricing?
A number of boats from the big management companies weren’t at the show because they were out on charter. Quite a few owners of boats are willing to discuss the rates—not outrageously in terms of discounts, but they will discuss it. So the boats are booking.
The media in the United States continue to pound home the message that Greece is in economic crisis. How did you feel being there?
As a tourist in Greece, flying into Athens and spending a night in the hotel and then taking the ferry to Poros for the boat show, I would never know that there was an economic crisis right now in Greece. They will absolutely kill themselves to make sure you’re happy. The restaurants, the shop owners, they can’t do enough for you. They’ll always bring you something extra. They’re genuinely happy that you’re there. I absolutely loved it. I have no hesitation recommending that clients go to Greece. There is just so much to offer.
Which charter yachts stood out to you on the docks?
I always think that, even though it’s a colorful boat compared to many others, the 136-foot Mondomarine motoryacht Panther II (shown at right) is a good value, and the crew is excellent. I’ve had clients charter her, and they had a fabulous time. The crew are really, really dialed in.
The 78-foot Ferretti motoryacht Kentavros II, whose chef won first place in the category that I judged, that boat looked fabulous. Really, really fabulous. So that’s a great package.
Callisto, the 80-foot Swan sailing yacht, that chef was also right up there in the category that I judged. He was excellent. The boat is immaculate, the stewardess has been onboard for something absurd like 19 years, and the crew are just really together.
Aello, the 109-foot Max Oertz, is a classic boat for a traditional sailing client, and she is absolutely immaculate. She’s beautiful. The interior is whitewashed, and they’ve put fine crystal and china onboard, and they have a great chef who just started—it’s a great package, and the service was excellent.
Mabrouk, the 125-foot Cantieri di Pisa, is another immaculate motoryacht with a fabulous, really gregarious, open, friendly, knowledgeable captain.
One boat that just stole my heart because it’s a sweet, tiny little family-run boat, it’s called Poseidon. It’s a 56-foot Azimut powerboat. There’s a woman onboard who everybody calls Mama, and her son owns it. Mama is the cook and the stewardess, and her son is the captain. I was sitting at a café the first morning of the boat show, and Mama happened to be at a table a few down from us, and she introduced herself and was very unassuming and said, “I’d love to show you the boat.” And it was hands-down the best value in the show. I can’t wait to book a charter on that boat. Nobody could be unhappy on that boat. It’s not the biggest, but it’s impeccably maintained, and it has a family atmosphere. What a great package.
Dragon, that one also is really memorable. It’s a 121-foot Couach motoryacht, and all of the crew look like GQ models or Victoria’s Secret models. They had a thing called a ski board, which is made by the same people who make the JetLev backpack flyer. It’s coming out of France, I think. It’s just a really cool boat with really cool toys. If you had four couples from New York who wanted to go full out and have every single toy and party and have fun, Dragon is it. The sound system on the boat is outrageous, too.
Do you think any of those yachts were the absolute star of the show?
The star of the show was Ouranos (shown at right). She’s the new 147-foot Tecnomar motoryacht, and she’s absolutely stunning. Very fuel efficient, gorgeous art onboard—I was lucky enough to cruise from Poros back to Athens on her, and she is gorgeous. She’s at one end of the spectrum, and Poseidon is at the other. I can’t wait to put a charter on Ouranos, too. The captain and crew are great; he and the chef came from the owner’s previous boat, and they’re excellent. The chief stewardess was fantastic, as well.
Is it too late for CharterWave readers to book charters this summer aboard any of these yachts?
Not in the slightest. There still are many, many great boats to choose from. There’s still plenty of time to book for this summer.
Learn more by calling Robin O’Brien at (954) 712-7111 or by visiting the Fraser Yachts Worldwide website.