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2012 in Review: Luxury Yacht Charter Top Three Gadgets

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TOP 3 GADGETS

With many toys and electronic devices that enhance a week’s vacation at sea, we choose 3. 
Our charter professionals take a look back at their favorite gadgets for 2012.

FIRST – Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 ($470)

Photograph of a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 phone on its side. The picture shows a collage of different screens available on the phone. Top left is a clock feature with the time over a lovely pasture setting and blue sky with puffy clouds. The other 3 images are dark action shots, as though videos of action game screens.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

With battery life almost equal to the iPad, and a memory-card slot not found on Apple’s iconic tablet, the 10-inch, 16GB Galaxy Note offers capabilities that no other tablet currently offers.

Second, Nikon Coolpix S800c ($327)

What’s a Caribbean yacht charter vacation without a boatload of photos to share with family and friends?  The 16 megapixel point-and-shoot camera can run Google’s Android operating system and all the apps that go with it, enabling users to edit an image, and quickly post it to Facebook, etc…

 

Third, Samsung Galaxy S III ($280)

Photograph of a white Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone.  The screen saver is blue with a white fluffy dandelion seed pod on it. A few of the fluffy blooms have launched into the air.

Samsung Galaxy SIII S3

We’ll admit the Apple iPhone 5 has a better camera, and new features place it head and shoulders above previous iPhones.  Still, our choice for the best smartphone in 2012 is the Galaxy S III .   The Android-driven Galaxy has a bigger screen than the iPhone 5 and lots of features you can’t get on Apple ‘s smartphone.  The sensor-based tools are great for social networking.
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How to Avoid a Yacht Charter “Vacation From Hell”

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THE SITUATION

Recently, fitness expert Jillian Michaels took to social media.  This to recount what she described as a disastrous Italy private luxury yacht charter vacation.  (No, it was not our charter.) She detailed arriving to find the yacht, “…not only filthy, but it had no hot water, no air con when not docked, no wifi, partial electricity, it was clearly in total disrepair.”  Via Facebook, the fitness guru warned her social media followers to beware of online scams. “These scams are becoming extremely prevalent…so be careful when you are dealing with rentals of any kind,” she wrote.

Michaels’ online posts were picked up by mainstream media.  Television’s syndicated newsmagazine, “Inside Edition” even cover it.

Collage of photos of crew members on a yacht, Jillian Michaels, and a private Italian charteryacht

 

Michaels’ comments lead us to two points:

*Was this a scam?  In our opinion – NO.

*Could more have been done to avoid what the press has coined as a “Vacation from Hell?”   ABSOLUTELY!!!!!!

 

SCAM?

“I’m confident this is not scam,” states yacht charter maven Jana Sheeder, President of 1-800 Yacht Charters. Hers is a company that specializes in discreet private luxury yacht charter vacations for celebrities and UHNW.

“While we were not involved in Ms. Michael’s charter, the client did use a professional charter broker from a well-known company – a competitor of ours with lots of experience and a solid standing in our industry.”   

In fact, that charter broker’s actions were scrutinized by the Ethics Committee of the Charter Yacht Brokers Association.  The Committee unanimously found the broker acted in good faith and did not commit any ethics violations.

Clearly, however, something went awry for the charter to end after just 4 days of an expected 12 day  trip.  Exactly what happened is still not clear.  Both sides are pointing the finger at each other. Michaels feels she was duped.  The charter brokerage asserts Michaels was in violation of her charter agreement.

 

HOW TO AVOID BUYER’S REMORSE

If the yacht was, as Michaels asserts, “…in disrepair,” it needs addressing.  The question that must be asked is, what more can a prospective yacht charter customer do to ensure the yacht is fully operational and what we refer to in the industry as, “charter ready?”

Sheeder suggests two easy steps.

 

First, ASK FOR A CHECKLIST.   This list attests all electrical and mechanical components required for a successful charter are fully-operational.  “We have a simple checklist similar to a pre-flight checklist used by a pilot to make sure a plane is safe and ready for takeoff,” says Sheeder.  “In essence, we are directly asking the Captain of the yacht prior to the execution of the charter agreement to confirm the yacht is in Bristol  (clean) condition, that the watertoys  (waverunners, tender, etc.) are fully-operational, the yacht’s generators and central air conditioning system are working correctly, etc.  We even directly ask if there are any foul odors emanating from the toilets and bilges, or fumes from the engine room.”

 

WHAT SHEEDER DOES NEXT

Sheeder reviews the checklist results. She informs the client of any issues.  She confirms the timeframe required to make any necessary repairs.

“If we, together with the client, are not completely                 comfortable with the situation or the crew’s ability to guarantee an exceptional private yacht charter experience, we move on and look for another yacht.”

Sheeder revisits the checklist with the captain three or four days prior to the charter to see if any last minute problems have occurred. “Yachts are complex, mechanical vessels with many moving parts that can develop problems  – just like an automobile.  Many problems are eliminated or minimized by ongoing maintenance, but sometimes, things break unexpectedly.  By checking prior to the charter, we can inform the client of the situation as well as estimate the time it will take to make the needed repairs.  Most situations are minor and the charter can proceed with no unexpected ‘surprises’ for the client and their guests.”

 

ADDITIONAL SAFEGUARDS

Second, REQUEST REALTIME VIDEO/CURRENT PHOTOS. 

Many charter brochures feature beautiful photos or videos of the charter yacht.  But do the photos contain dates?  Is the video current?  How do you know?

Sheeder suggests using current technology apps to make certain what you see is what you get.  “We try to personally inspect the yachts we recommend to our clients, but a lot can change from the time we saw the yacht at a boat show or a private viewing, and the time the client charters the vessel,” says Sheeder.  “We have our online charter brochures date coded in our computer. If the images are old, we reach out to the yacht owner and his management team and request current photos.  Even casual videos shot on cellphones can capture the overall condition of the boat, and most crews are eager to show their vessel in the best possible light.”  Ask questions.  We are at your service.

 

APPS THAT WILL HELP YOU

Sheeder also recommends apps like Apple’s FaceTime for iPhones, and Facebook Messenger and Google Duo for Android phones.

“Short of the client’s inspecting the yacht themselves, there’s nothing better than a live video feed, with a real-time conversation with the crew, as they walk through and film the yacht and the client watches live.”    

 

 

PROBING QUESTIONS

So you are considering a private luxury yacht charter for your next vacation.  First, probe beyond the tantalizing online yacht brochure.  Second, ask your broker if they use a pre-charter checklist. Third, ask them to provide current photos or real-time streaming video of the yacht in its current condition.  If they do not or cannot, beware.  Consider hiring a broker who can go the extra step to protect your vacation investment.  Take these simple steps prior to arriving for your charter. You greatly minimize the chances of anything less than a memorable holiday at sea.

NOW WHAT?

Winter is just around the corner.  In addition to getting away, take advantage of pre-season specials on yachts. Those based in the sunny Bahamas, South Florida, and the Caribbean are ideal for your tropical sojourn.  Your private yacht charter holiday is only a phone call away.

 

HOW TO BOOK A YACHT CHARTER

In conclusion, call  1-800 YACHT CHARTERS [toll-free north America +1.800.922.4824 or international +1.305.253.7245] for more information, or email  info@1800yachtcharters.com  We are eager to plan The Superyacht Experience for you.

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