Restaurateur Damon DeSantis and his wife Cindy know how to throw a fabulous party. When they decided to take their 56 friends for a wedding celebration, they chartered a Boeing 777 jet and a 85-metre cruise ship for a week-long adventure on the Mediterranean.
The bill: close to $1.6 million. But DeSantis did charter one of the most exclusive companies to do the job: Crystal Skye flew his guests from Miami to Venice, then they boarded Crystal Esprit for a very private cruise.
DeSantis said he saved “a few hundred thousand dollars” by chartering Crystal Skye and Crystal Esprit rather than flying his guests on commercial flights and hiring various private yachts.
Crystal Skye is not your ordinary private plane. It’s a jumbo-jet operated by Crystal, the same company behind luxury cruise line Crystal Cruises.
While the aircraft can typically seat up to 400 passengers, Crystal fitted it out for only 88 guests. Every seat is equipped with Bose headsets, an iPad and a 24-inch interactive TV with on-demand programming. Naturally, the seats convert into beds.
The DeSantis fancy flight from Miami to Venice kicked off with a glass of bubbles, served by sky butlers. A mixologist was on hand at the jet’s lounge/bar to whip up cocktails and a sommelier to pick the perfect vintage from more than 150 bottles in the wine cellar on board the plane. This is to match the Michelin-inspired meals prepared by an award-winning executive chef.
Eight thousand kilometres later, the DeSantis and guests reached Venice and boarded luxury ship, Crystal Esprit.
“We couldn’t find a mega-yacht to accommodate everyone,” Damon DeSantis told the CNBC TV channel. “So we chartered this luxury cruise ship.”
DeSantis who is the co-owner of the Agave Modern Mexican Taqueria chain occupied the owner’s master suite with a living, dining room and a full-sized tub.
“It’s like being in a floating apartment,’’ his wife, Cindy says.
Every guest had staterooms with their own butler.
With cocktails and champagne on tap, daily over-the-top meals onboard and excursions to some of the world’s most beautiful sights on the Med, life was a week-long bed of roses smothered in luxury.
And for an unbelievable underwater experience without getting wet, they all took turns to board the three-person submarine which launched right off the ship.
Despite the hefty price tag, the DeSantis and their guests had one of the most memorable holidays in a lifetime.
DeSantis was obviously satisfied. “We are thinking of chartering this cruise ship again,” he said. Cindy added: “Our friends will lose their mind.”