Over the past few years, Azure Ultra has firmly established itself as a leader in the charter business, providing high-end yachting and motorboat experiences on the blue waters of the Mediterranean. It recorded a 200 per cent increase for the 2017 season, says Managing Director and Founder Perry Newton, a vote of confidence in the shipshape conditions and methods of its boats, crew and management.
Indeed, the past two years have been characterised by well-deserved recognition from the industry. Azure Ultra was awarded two prestigious prizes at the Malta International Boats and Yachting Awards in 2017: Best Customer Service of the Year and Best Maltese Based Charter Company of the Year. Moreover, in 2018, Azure Ultra was awarded the winning prize of Unique Tour Company of the Year at the Travel and Hospitality Awards. Azure Ultra also holds a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, but what makes this charter company truly excel?
"Quite simply, there is no other local company that is offering such luxurious high-end yachts for charter combined with a level of service and professionalism, both on land and at sea. This is unmatched in Malta and, in fact, the Mediterranean," Mr Newton asserts. The company was founded in 2015 by Mr Newton, a former artilleryman from the 29th Commando Regiment Royal Artillery in Her Royal Majesty’s Armed Forces, and "the vision from the start was to make luxury yachting experiences more exciting and comprehensive, supported by the warmest, most professional and efficient customer service possible."
The company base of Malta is integral to the running – and the success – of the company, according to the Manging Director, who credits the island with being the perfect location for a charter yacht company of this calibre. While the archipelago’s extraordinary scenery provides ample opportunity to see the blue colours of the Med, its geographical proximity to the region’s iconic coastal spots has also opened the doors to unforgettable charter experiences further afield.
"Azure Ultra makes full use of the Maltese islands and their stunning coastal locations. Our knowledgeable crew are also able to advise clients on top destinations to visit. This includes all the major landmarks as well as little-known gems, such as secluded beaches, sea caves, and other scenic spots unique to the Maltese archipelago. Furthermore, we have also extended our service to Sicily, Amalfi and Corfu, and have in-depth local knowledge of these destinations," Mr Newton continues to explain.
These first-class locales are accessed on first-rate yachts and motorboats. Azure Ultra uses the Sunseeker brand exclusively, "the ultimate in glamour, sophistication and the boat of choice for many Hollywood A-listers," he states. The fleet includes a wide variety of sports boats and motor yachts, complete with fully-equipped bars, full-width staterooms, VIP double cabins, overhead flybridges, split level saloons, outside grills and much more. These are all fully-insured, licenced and owned by Azure Ultra and include the 65-foot Sunseeker Manhattan 64, a beauty of a boat able to accommodate 12 people, sleeping six, and consisting of plush interiors and spectacular decking; the 61-foot Sunseeker Manhattan 56 featuring a flybridge which gives ample space for entertainment and accommodating up to ten-day charter guests at any one time; and the 49-foot Sunseeker Portofino 46, described as ‘fun and sporty’, and featuring an outside grill, a sun pad and a hydraulic bathing platform, where guests can make the most of the Mediterranean sun and sea. Azure Ultra has also recently added a new yacht to the Sunseeker fleet, and welcomed on board a new, fully-accredited yacht captain, to further enhance the range of products and services they offer, Mr Newton explains.
And, with prices ranging from €1,950 per day for the Portofino 46 sports boat, which hosts up to six people, going up to €4,700 per day for the Manhattan 64 motor yacht, this exclusive range is designed to provide unparallel living on the high seas. Indeed, the prices cover crew, including the boat’s allocated captain, fuel for a 30 nautical mile round trip, a serviced light Mediterranean lunch and snorkelling equipment, as well as the rarefied treat of tasting the luxury only such an experience can provide.
Moreover, the packages can be tailored according to specific needs. "Each package is specially designed by one of our knowledgeable charter specialists to ensure all expectations are met," the Managing Director affirms. "Corporate packages are ideal for hosting professional and business activities. Alternatively, clients can charter yachts as an unforgettable venue to celebrate special occasions and anniversaries. Each charter comes equipped with a professional team readily available to assist with event planning and coordination,” he continues. Weddings, staff functions, award ceremonies, themed parties or even honeymoon charter packages are all on offer. The one thing they have in common is the impeccable service and the promise of a standout experience.
"The Azure Ultra slogan is ‘Beyond Ordinary’, and we apply this approach into every aspect of our business, right down to the smallest detail," Mr Newton says. "The company offers an exclusive, custom-fitted charter experience from start to finish. This includes giving clients the ability to tweak their experience down to the smallest of details, from menus to destinations. This holistic approach to our brand ensures we stand apart."
The devil is truly in the detail for Azure Ultra, with great care and attention paid to every specific aspect. They are, indeed, the first yacht charter organisation in Malta to introduce uniforms complete with rank epaulettes and name slides, "which sets our team apart with their unique look". But the brand's customer service goes beyond the practical, in an effort to celebrate the exceptional, and place their clients at the heart of such an experience.
"We are truly a customer-oriented company. Our goal is to give our clients a completely stress-free experience, whereby they can simply drive to Birgu marina, step aboard a beautiful yacht, and relax with friends and family on a special, luxurious charter. We take care of all the details that inevitably come with the yachting world, so that clients don’t need to fret about anything more serious than their preferred destinations to visit," Mr Newton continues.
The company’s ability to offer first-class experiences is due, in no small part, to the crew themselves. "We employ an exceptional full-time crew who are intimately knowledgeable about the yachts and dedicated to providing impeccable, high-end service," the Managing Director explains. "You just don’t get this level of commitment from freelance mariners and captains, who are typically hired seasonally. And, what sets Azure Ultra apart even more, is that crew attend regular training courses to keep up-to-date with all the latest nautical procedures."
But, sterling service does not emerge from perfunctory fulfilment of roles, and "the Azure Ultra crew truly love what they do and are proud to represent a quality brand," Mr Newton smiles, going on to mention the 100 per cent five-star reviews on TripAdvisor, which can only be guaranteed through "engaged and committed staff which have a massively positive influence on a client’s enjoyment factor."
But what is in the offing for the brand as the summer season begins? "Azure Ultra has recently added a new Sunseeker Camargue 50 to the fleet and we’ve welcomed qualified captains, stewards and stewardesses to the team. The long-term objective is to remain visionary, stand apart and upscale from any Mediterranean competitor while we look to broaden our reach and locations. With three boats now in the Canary Islands and one in Dubai, the next step for Azure Ultra will be the introduction of a Greek island option, which is coming soon," Mr Newton concludes.
This article originally appeared in The Commercial Courier