Invited aboard by Captain Curtis Cook, YachtCharterFleet finds out why the 50m/163ft superyacht ‘Casino Royale’ is such an exciting and luxurious addition to the global charter fleet.
Delivered in 2008 by Vancouver-based shipyard Christensen, Casino Royale forms part of John Staluppi and naval architect Frank Mulder’s Millennium line of custom yachts and, at the time of her launch, was the fleet’s largest and most opulent offering yet.
Lined up in Nelson’s Dockyard Marina for the Antigua Charter Yacht Show, motor yacht Casino Royale was a picture of elegance, distinguished by her curved lines, a dark expanse of wraparound windows on her superstructure, and three large portholes on her hull.
She comes from a line of yachts named after films from the James Bond franchise and engineered to be among the quickest in the world. This includes the 42m/139ft superyacht ‘The World Is Not Enough’, which is capable of reaching a jaw-dropping top speed of 70 knots.
When it came to Casino Royale, however, the focus switched from speed to style, meaning the yard’s usual concerns over weight could be abandoned and Carol Williamson & Associates had no constraints when adorning the yacht’s interior - an opportunity the American design house took full advantage of.
Welcoming your arrival is an intricate roulette design inlaid in the marble floor of the hallway. Crafted from mother-of-pearl, petrified wood and black onyx by stone master Jeff Homchick, the feature is indicative of the high level of detail and opulence embodied across the yacht’s four levels.
Beyond the foyer, the pale marble floods forward underfoot beautifully offset by high-gloss sapele mahogany walls. The space widens to house an intimate, neoclassical-style lounge where high back armchairs and two gold-tasselled sofas with damask cushions face an extravagant gold onyx-topped coffee table.
The movie theme continues in the form of gold Bond girl statuettes and one such figurine presides over the salon on a mahogany bureau, which separates the lounge from a formal dining option aft. Extremely grand in style, the area sees 10 high back dining chairs upholstered in gold regency stripes surround a glass-topped, rectangular table with elaborate gold legs and gold-leaf bordering.
Two sparkling chandeliers complete the scene, yet the whole salon is bathed in natural light thanks to an expanse of large, square windows, which also offer unobstructed ocean vistas thanks to the yacht’s low sill treatment, a trademark of a Christensen build.
Exiting the main salon forward leads to a central lobby replete with Bond girl silhouettes etched into the glass panels of the spiral staircase in a style reminiscent of the iconic opening credits of the film franchise. Illuminated by inlaid LED lights, the images look striking against the deep mahogany banisters and reflected in the polished marble floor.
The female form is, in fact, a reoccurring feature throughout the living areas. Elsewhere in the hallways, abstract paintings of women in contrasting tones of black and fiery red and orange each represent a suit from a pack of playing cards, which is another unique reference to the hit movie after which the yacht is named.
Glittering silver figurines of flapper girls are also found in the central foyer, adding a touch of 1920s glamour and matching the reflective quality of the glass elevator located opposite the stairwell. The lift provides access to all levels, including the sundeck, which is an unusual quality for a 50-metre motor yacht.
The pale marble floods forward underfoot, offset beautifully by rich, high-gloss sapele mahogany walls
The remaining forward section of the main deck is occupied by a spacious full-beam master suite. Cut pile, cream carpet replaces the marble flooring and the James Bond motifs have been reigned in, yet the glossy mahogany woodwork endures.
At the suite’s centre is a king size bed with a glass bevelled headboard and mirrored ceiling feature above. An oil painting depicting a classic Italian scene rises to reveal a flat screen television opposite, while a vanity to port offers sea views through an oval porthole and a reading ottoman to starboard provides a place for quiet relaxation.
The pièce de résistance, however, is a pink onyx and pale marble en suite. A double steam shower and large spa tub face his and hers sinks, and the whole space benefits from natural light filtering through strategically placed skylights. There is also a head and bidet behind pinwheel etched glass.
Completing the accommodation line up are five staterooms that span off a central corridor on the lower deck. Two double cabins are located amidships and bookended by a VIP suite, which stretches across the breath of the yacht aft, and two twin cabins forward.
All cabins take design cues from the master and are similarly rich in style with high-gloss mahogany walls and cabinetry, yet can be distinguished by the different coloured marble in their bathrooms.
Those lucky guests in the VIP suite, however, will benefit from a huge en suite, adorned with a memorable wall sculpture of two mermaids flaunting their mother-of-pearl tails in a sea of stainless steel, shell and malachite.
A small night kitchen has also been built into the lower deck hallway, enabling guests to help themselves to coffee without having to rely on the crew. This is an extremely practical feature and one which more charter yachts could benefit from.
The last of the interior guest areas is the mahogany-panelled skylounge on the upper deck. Wide and open, the space is much brighter and slightly less lavish than the salon below to offer a more laid-back and informal setting.
An L-shaped settee wraps around a square, glass-topped coffee table to form the main seating area and guests can unwind here while watching the wide screen television. Comfortable and cosy, the setup is perfect for enjoying movie nights and, accordingly, there is a Kaleidescape movie server on board.
Aft to starboard is a back-lit onyx bar lined with six sumptuous bar stools in pale upholstery, matching the settee as well as the wing back chairs that surround a circular glass-topped games table to port. This is certainly a fantastic spot for a game of poker, reminiscent of the Daniel Craig film.
Unapologetic in her extravagance, Casino Royale is one of the most lavish and opulent additions to the charter market
Full-width glass sliding doors open up onto the upper deck aft where a large rectangular dining table seats 12 under the shade of the sundeck above.
Optional zip-on screens ensure guests can dine while remaining connected to the outside world no matter how windy the conditions get. Plus, the area is also air-conditioned, meaning it can transform into a cool retreat when outside temperatures soar.
A teak sofa upholstered in navy blue nautical stripes stretches across the full width of the yacht aft and is joined by matching armchairs. This spot serves as a place in which to enjoy drinks before dinner is served and to catch up with friends over a coffee during the day.
The sundeck, however, is sure to become a daytime hub of the yacht charter. A step-up hot tub with stainless steel railings and petrified wood inlay is located forward, offering guests the chance to unwind while taking in uninterrupted ocean vistas, and surrounding sun pads present enviable sunbathing opportunities.
For drinks, guests can head to the granite-topped bar to starboard, situated under the shade of the radar arch. Choose to sit at one of the stainless steel bar stools that line the L-shaped bar or chill out in the seating area opposite.
Two tables here are decorated to look like playing cards in a reference to the yacht’s namesake and, hydraulically operated, can serve as either coffee or dining tables depending on their level of elevation.
The gun-wielding Bond girl silhouettes are also found decorating the four WaveRunners, which make up part of Casino Royale’s long list of water toys. Others toys include wakeboards, paddleboards, inflatable kayaks, fishing equipment, and snorkelling and fishing gear.
Such a selection of toys adds to the yacht’s entertainment options, further showing off her fun and playful side, which may appear at odds with her luxe and lavish interior.
The commissioning force behind Casino Royale certainly delighted in adorning her expansive spaces and, unapologetic in her extravagance, she is one of the most opulent additions to the charter market.
However, the design references to Bond girls and casinos prevent the yacht from taking herself too seriously and, likewise, underneath the glitz and glamour are well-thought out features that ensure the upmost comfort and functionality for those on board.
Carol Williamson & Associates