All Charters Great and Small

“What is there given by the gods more desirable than a happy hour?”

Catullus, Carmina, circa 54 BCE

Waterfront Charters. In those two words lie a wealth of meaning, history, excitement, promise and fun. As one the V&A Waterfront’s original service providers, we have ‘been around for many a long year’, and have grown with the world famous tourist attraction. As a family owned company, Waterfront Charters is more than just a cruise company: a tradition of seafaring underpins our vision and our values and the ocean is our life. It’s been mentioned before but bears repeating that the Girdlestone family are direct descendants of Admiral Horatio Nelson, and you don’t get a better ocean-going pedigree than that. Whilst our fleet may not consist of heavily-gunned ships of the line, we are as proud of them as Nelson was of the Victory and his other charges, and they are treated with the same respect and care as any wooden hulled galleon or frigate of yesteryear.

It’s the second word of the name we’d like to concentrate on at the moment: the charter element. Waterfront Charters essentially provide two cruise services: our scheduled cruises and an option to charter any (or all, if you like) of our boats. Both of these opportunities have their time and place; our scheduled harbour tours, coastal cruises and champagne sunset cruises have been favourite pastimes for thousands of visitors, some pre-planned, a lot simply happy spur of the moment decisions. For foot weary tourists, locals and shoppers alike an hour or two aboard a luxury boat, sipping a delicious drink and taking in the sights, is the perfect antidote to crowds and pressure. But these self-same vessels are also ideal for more carefully planned events: the charters referenced in our name. The word itself has a long history – the French chartre dates back to 1200, although that word stems from the even more ancient Latin chartula/cartula, literally “little paper”. It was coined just in time, come to think of it, as in 1215 the English barons forced King John to sign the famous Magna Carta, or Great Charter. Chartre predicated the meaning of the word as it stands today: the “formal written instrument bestowing privileges and rights, serving as legal evidence of them.” A lawyer’s way of saying “Sign here, and we’ll provide you with a luxury catamaran to thrill your guests, we’ll feed them on board, provide them with drinks, keep them safe and make them very, very happy.” We prefer our way of putting it.

One of the main reasons we are focussing on charters at present is possibly self-evident: with Covid-19 on the loose, and seemingly around for a while to come, a lot of people may not relish the idea of spending time with strangers. We get that; although we must add that when lockdown rules permit us to venture out onto the Atlantic again we will follow every rule, protocol and safety measure possible to ensure the safety of our ‘walk-on’ guests. But viruses don’t mean that the world need stand still – there are celebrations to be observed, special occasions to honour, business events that need to be put in place, and this means finding a suitable venue. What better venue than aboard the deck of a luxury catamaran? When you charter a Waterfront Charters vessel you get a floating platform safely away from crowds: you entertain a selected group of guests/family/friends/clients and can be assured that they will comply with the required measures. Whether it’s a few close friends or a group we can make sure that the boat you choose allows for social distancing and space to breathe that heady, fresh, ozone tinged sea air. Our choice of three beautiful catamarans gives you a selection between motor and sail, as well as size. An intimate grouping aboard Enigma or Serenity One; a larger group aboard Sea Princess. Your event, our experience: we’ll make it happen in the best possible way. All the add-ons you can think of can be organised, from gourmet snacks to stand-up paddle boards – just because the world is in a tailspin doesn’t mean that you have to give up having fun.

Check out all the details of Waterfront Charters boats and our options, and if you have a celebration – any form of gathering is a good excuse – coming up later this year, give us a call. We’ll put together a chartre that will do you proud!