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Marion wrote: I am a sea lover. Seems to be an interesting cruise. david martin Abrahams would love to travel on it.

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Booking a Yacht for the Olympics
Booking a Yacht for the Olympics

Although the yacht charter business in Greece always swells in the summer season, this year's business will be remarkably busy due to the Olympic Games being hosted in Athens from August 13-29, followed a month later by the Paralympics. A higher than usual demand for charters is already being made by those who want to make a yacht their base for one or both of these events - especially in a yachtsman's paradise.

 Despite the fact that the Games begin in less than four months, there are infrastructure projects still in progress, including new marinas. It is common in Greece to delay construction projects, but we are optimistic that all of these will be completed in time for the Games, which begin with the opening ceremony on August 13. Construction work is progressing at a frantic pace and in the end, Athens will be proud of its accomplishments while athletes and visitors will benefit too.

Increased Demand
Many yachts have already been booked for mid-August. We have been preparing for the extra demand for a while now in various ways including adding extra trained staff and securing additional yachts and berths in the Athens vicinity where most sporting events will be taking place.

As with any situation where demand outweighs supply, charter rates will increase during this special event. This is an issue with many local yacht owners who don't recognize their limits and try to profit substantially from the situation by offering rates as high as 200% over those customarily offered during the normal peak season. Otherwise, charter rates will increase an average 75% over standard rates for the same period.

Many groups are extending their charters because they have the opportunity to combine the excitement of the Olympics with the beauty of the Aegean prior to, during, and following the Games. This is the best time of year to enjoy sunny blue skies, unspoiled blue waters, hundreds of inhabited and uninhabited Greek islands, the magnificent Turkish coast, the succulent local cuisine, and endless historical sites. The Olympics will also generate a party atmosphere throughout the entire Eastern Mediterranean region.

Rules and Regulations
Chartering a yacht in this area can be a little tricky. There are some restrictions for foreign yachts chartering in the Greek waters. The situation with foreign flagged and registered yachts is as follows: both E.U.-state and non-E.U.-state flagged yachts can cruise in Greece and Turkey without any restrictions, as long as they are not doing so for commercial purposes. However, if an E.U.-flagged yacht wants to legally charter in this region (with both embarkation and disembarkation in Greece for example), the yacht needs to be registered commercially in Greece. If it is a non-E.U.-registered flag, then the yacht can only charter in Greece on the basis that there is either an embarkation or disembarkation - not both, due to the cabotage laws that exist here.

Booking Ahead
 If you're considering chartering a yacht right before, during, or soon after the Olympics period, you should make arrangements as soon as possible as the good yachts are getting booked rather quickly. Our prediction is that by the end of May there won't be any fine yachts or berthing spaces left - at least in the Athens vicinity. Some think that if they wait until it gets closer to August they'll see rates drop due to owners' desperation to book their yachts. That's wishful thinking as this year will be a yacht owners' charter market.

Many 3-, 4-, or 5-star hotel rooms are no longer available in the Athens environs. Most were reserved over a year ago. Needless to say, for the same money you can live in a floating villa, be close to the city center and sporting venues, as well as cruise at your leisure.

There are a few berthing/docking spaces still available in marinas close to many sporting venues - a few in Athens, Piraeus, and Lavrio (80 miles southeast of Athens on the Aegean side), some of which can accommodate yachts up to 350ft stern in and with a 20ft draft. They are not only going to be retained soon by a fortunate few but also at a premium price.

Yacht owners/captains and charterers wishing to visit Greece during the Games need to act now!

About James Roumeliotis
James D. Roumeliotis is a managing partner of EastMed Yachting Partners, Azure International Luxury Yachting Escapes, and The Athens Institute of Sailing. Born and raised in Montreal, Canada, by Greek immigrant parents, James, who is trilingual, moved to Greece several years ago to get involved with the business of the sea – first with merchant and passenger shipping, then with yachting. An avid sailor himself, James joined forces with a Turkish partner to found EastMed Yachting Partners, which has become a preeminent force for premium integrated yachting services including charters, management, marketing, consulting, and sales in the Eastern Mediterranean region, offering affluent clients the utmost discretion. The company has also established links with international yachting firms to better serve their clients' needs on a global scale.

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