In the day and age of Uber and Airbnb, why bother owning when you can you rent the most luxe options available? While it has been customary for quite a while for corporations to rent giant cruise ships for business events, now it seems the latest trend is for one percenters to rent them personally for opulent, private parties. (Think: A modern-day Jay Gatsby on a yacht with 200 of his closest friends swilling champers and dancing the night away among sea breezes.)
Bloomberg highlights a recent example of a 440-foot long mega-cruiseliner rented by a wealthy client for 200 friends for a week of partying around the Mediterranean. Guests were treated to extravagant day trips and could drive vintage cars such as Ferraris and Grand Prix race cars once ashore.
“It’s like owning a mega-yacht for a week or two,” explained Carolyn Spencer-Brown, editor of industry bible Cruise Critic, “It’s much like if your first-ever flight was on a private plane. You’re starting at the top.”
If you have $500,000 to a million to spare, the sky (or in this case, the sea) is the limit. A seven-day charter trip on any number of private-hire mega-yachts will cost in that range, plus some surcharges. You also need to make the reservation several years in advance.
While this is clearly a trend, cruise lines apparently want to keep it on the down low. “Seabourn is not interested in providing this information and will have to pass on this opportunity,” sniffed one corporate spokesperson via e-mail in response to queries from Bloomberg, with competitors being equally evasive for fear regular passengers might be deterred from booking if there’s a chance that a favorite ship might be off-limits for several weeks.
It’s no surprise this is popular with celebs, especially ones looking to celebrate special occasions such as birthdays or weddings in the most convenient and exclusive way possible.
Some even go so far as getting to drive the beast themselves. As Windstar’s Amy Conover explains of one such client, “She rolls out everything: They have high tea every day at her request, and there’s a theme dinner every time, with customized menus. She drives the ship every day, too.”