Gone yachting: charter operator has ‘perfect’ vessel for events
This Christmas many corporations are skipping the companywide galas in favour of smaller events because of Covid-19 concerns.
Charter boat operator Keerome Maybury is marketing his 55ft yacht Traveler as the perfect venue for an intimate seasonal gathering.
“There are all sorts of ways to think outside the box to meet the needs of people who want to entertain in a more scaled-down fashion,” said the owner of Traveler Charters. “In the cooler months Traveler will be focusing more on culinary experiences, and offering more intimate evening entertainment.
“As far as planning for office Christmas dinners, it is a great option. We offer a number of different dining formats from casual canapés to gourmet buffets to private chef’s table, which are a big hit. We have had a lot of success with that.”
Mr Maybury said yachting is not just for summer.
“We have some really good boating weather over the course of the winter months, providing it is the right boat,” Mr Maybury said.
“Traveler’s amenities ensure a comfortable boating experience during the cooler months. It is not just air-conditioned, it is also heated. And the layout for a 55ft boat allows for the break-up of crowds of up to 20 across multiple decks and compartmentalised spaces.”
Traveler Charters began a pivot towards the local market when the pandemic erupted in early 2020. Mr Maybury said in the summer of 2020 locals on staycation helped to keep them afloat.
“We had a fair amount of success in the fall and winter of 2020,” he said. “We did everything from birthday celebrations and wedding anniversaries to corporate dinners. We are looking to build on that.”
This summer, with airlines and cruise ships operating again in a limited capacity, he took more of a hybrid approach, marketing to locals and visitors, mostly from high-end hotels such as The Loren and St Regis.
But, he said, a new wave of Covid-19 cases in September hit fast.
“Luckily the boating season had already begun its wind down,” he said. “It was just interesting how abruptly it happened. The impact was astonishing. Going into the second week of September, our bookings just cleared out. There was no gradual decline you would expect to experience.”
But Mr Maybury said the mood is a lot more positive right now than it was just a couple of months ago. He thinks people are cautiously optimistic that this time next year things will be back to normal.
“Bermuda has had a lot of success with the vaccination campaign,” Mr Maybury said.
“I think government’s message and action on combating Covid-19, shifting from this kind of restriction policy-based approach to the message of vaccination coupled with use your God-given commonsense, I think that was a well-balanced approach, and necessary.
“Beyond a certain point, you do have to question the effectiveness of restrictions, especially when they are punitive on the livelihood of small businesses.”
The cost starts with a boat rate of $425 an hour. That is reduced by 15 per cent until the end of April for parties booking one of their dining experiences.
Prices for food range from $59 a head to $200 a head depending on the choice of experience.
“There is a demographic here that appreciates the approach we take to the charter market,” Mr Maybury said. “We are not catamarans or the party boats, and we are not a fishing boat.
“Traveler is quite unique in our attempt to provide people with affordable access to proper yachting experience. It comes with the amenities, the comfort, the air-conditioning, the high-speed internet and access to the water toys such as jet skis, paddle boards and snorkels. Of course, the water toys are more of a focus in the summer months.”
And he said the party season has already launched.
“We are seeing activity start to pick up,” he said.
For more information see www.travelerbermuda.com.