A Week on a Yacht

My father passed away in January, so this has been a year of firsts without him, which has been particularly hard on my mom (they were married for over 40 years and spent nearly every day together). So with Thanksgiving approaching, one of my mom’s brothers–a very successful architect–asked if she would like to get out of the house for the holiday week and travel around Key West on his yacht. Yes, an actual, massive yacht, the type you see in the movies or Succession.

My mom accepted this generous offer and invited her kids (me and my siblings, plus some kids and significant others–10 total people) to join her. This was all very last minute, but this was the only chance any of us will ever have to hang out on a yacht for a week, so we made it work.

A lot happened over the yacht week, so I’m going to break down some of the highlights into multiple blog posts. I’ll start off with an overview of sorts about the vehicle itself. Here’s the yacht:

The boat is 151 long and is 4 stories tall. It’s so big that the boat includes 4 other boats (2 of which are technically jet skis, but they float!) It sleeps 18 people (10 guests and 8 crew). It’s essentially a floating, moving, private hotel. For example, here was our room–and this wasn’t even the nicest room:

It was photos like this that made me drop everything and say yes to this surprise vacation. This was a once-in-a-lifetime extravagance.

To prepare for the trip, Megan watched a few seasons of a show called Below Deck on Netflix. It’s a reality show focusing on the crew of a yacht and the guests who rent it. As it turns out, the show is a pretty good reflection of reality, from the themed dinners to the incredible crew and the variety of experiences the yacht and its various toys can provide.

I honestly didn’t even know that people could rent yachts–I thought the owners were the only people to use them. But apparently there’s a decent market for people who can afford incredibly expensive vacations but don’t want to own a giant boat.

I also learned that there are a few different types of people who work on yachts. Typically there are a few salaried crewmembers whose job is to work on the yacht whether or not there are guests (it requires quite a bit of maintenance even when idle). There are also some key crewmembers who are linked to a small number of yachts, and there are temporary crewmembers who travel around to a variety of yachts for different voyages.

I’ve never even been on a cruise, so I can’t compare this experience to anything. I feel incredibly fortunate to have spent the last week on this incredibly vessel with an amazing crew. I’ll soon talk about many of the big things that happened–Hemmingway House, seasickness, Dry Tortuga, jet skis, 5-star meals, snorkeling, etc–but I have to say that one of the best things about a yacht is simply hanging out with people you care about on the top deck while the boat moves across the open sea.

If there’s anything you want to know about the experience or the yacht, let me know in the comments below! What’s the biggest boat you’ve ever been on?

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