A world of utter euphoria awaits aboard the 74m/243ft superyacht ‘Cloud 9’, a ground-breaking CRN delivery with an emphasis on family relaxation and meeting the needs of the modern-day charter guest.
When Cloud 9 hit the water in January 2017, she sent a surge of excitement across the industry. As the result of a close collaboration between three yachting greats - Italian shipyard CRN, Rome-based naval architects Zuccon International Project and British studio Winch Design - expectations were high. And stepping on board, it immediately becomes clear Cloud 9 is a yacht that lives up to the hype.
In fact, the motor yacht seduces from the moment eyes are laid on her good-looking profile. A gently tiered superstructure and gracefully curved exterior lines ensure Cloud 9, despite measuring 74 metres, does not intimidate and this approachable presence extends across the decks and into the guest living areas within.
Winch Design had free rein over the interior, apart from two provisos: it had to be both family and charter-friendly. Fulfilling this brief presented a challenge as what an owner requires when spending long periods of time on board contrasts significantly to what guests need for a one- or two-week charter.
The realisation of these two demands has been dubbed by CRN as Cloud 9's 'double DNA. But for Andrew Winch, the creative director of Winch Design, the yacht's stand-out feature is being 'consistently relaxing throughout' and much of this can be put down to her styling, which he sums up as 'driftwood beach chic'.
To achieve the look, the design studio brought together sand tones - mainly through the use of brushed Douglas fir and limed oak - pops of vivid blues and a treasure chest of decorative shells and corals. Yet there are some 50 surface materials in total, pointing to the design firm's incredible attention to detail.
Also key to Cloud 9's tranquil interior is the free-flowing layout, which seamlessly merges comfortable spaces together, as proved by the ‘Best Layout on a Yacht’ award she picked up at the 2017 World Yacht Trophies.
Entering through the sliding doors on the main deck aft, guests become immersed in the heavenly oasis of the main salon. Open, bright and luxuriously laidback, it presents the perfect atmosphere in which to unwind.
Abandoning conventions, there is no dining option here. Rather, a bar lined with high back stools provides the ultimate welcome as, further forward, a sumptuous seating area lures guests to sink into a 1.5-metre-deep sofa and matching armchairs, while lone couches in alcoves to port and starboard offer intimacy if required.
A 3D porcelain panel by British artist Fenella Elms along with two vortex-shaped sculptures by Tim Royall capture attention on the central bulwark and, when not admiring the art, guests can take advantage of the salon's cinema setup for movie nights at sea.
What’s also noticeable is the absence of sharp edges and angles. From sphere-shaped coffee tables to cylindrical pillars, the bespoke furniture and cabinetry ensure Cloud 9 fulfills her child-friendly ethos, and from an aesthetic standpoint, the curves create an extremely soothing ambience.
In the foyer forward of the main salon, a glass and steel elevator takes centre stage. According to Winch Design, it represents ‘a waterfall from sundeck to beach club, connecting the exterior blue stripe to the interior’.
A hair salon and massage room are found forward of this main entryway. The attention to detail on the motor yacht shows no limits as even this relatively small space has its own remarkable qualities, including beautiful oak finishes and a fold-down hull door for alfresco massages over the water’s edge.
As there is a whole deck dedicated to the owner – or principal charter guest – the remaining forward section of the main deck is free for the guest accommodation as well as two staff cabins.
Spanning off a wide central corridor, the six staterooms are made up of two double cabins, two convertible cabins and two twin cabins. Each has a nameplate on its door engraved with the name of a Star Wars character, but these can be removed if a charter party isn’t a fan of the franchise.
The principal charter guest, meanwhile, has the domain of the upper deck. Making the most of its prime position, the magnificent suite's crowning feature is the full-length, wrap-around windows, which look out onto a private terrace forward and the cruising grounds beyond.
Ridges in the thick carpet imitate the ripples of sand in shallow waters, and a vanity and chaise lounge showcase the curves of the bespoke furniture to perfection. These details are accentuated further by the natural light flooding in through the expanse of glazing.
Backing onto the sleeping quarters to port is a ‘her’ bathroom with access to a large dressing room, and opposite to starboard is a 'his' shower room and a dressing room, which can also serve as a study.
The overall feel is extremely soothing. There could be no better way to start the day than waking up to panoramic views of the ocean and enjoying an alfresco breakfast on the secluded terrace. There is also a media room and office aft for watching television and catching up on business.
On the bridge deck below, one lucky guest will be treated to the VIP suite. Situated just forward of the lobby, the stateroom’s entire starboard bulwark has been replaced with a sliding glass door, providing magnificent views as well as direct access onto the side deck.
Mirroring this cabin to port is a gymnasium stocked with Technogym equipment. The full-width glass doors ensure guests can work out in a semi-alfresco setup while being rewarded with ocean vistas.
Enhancing the effect of the full-width glass doors – whether they are open or shut – are the glass panels on the exterior bulwarks. Such detail guarantees guests, no matter whether sleeping or exercising on this deck, can revel in unencumbered views.
Taking up the aft section of the bridge deck is the skylounge. Undulating silver panels shimmer on the ceiling above a sociable seating area, but attention will no doubt be drawn to the scene of white fluffy clouds painted onto the aft bulwark, with the blue hues of the sky matching the scatter pillows and lampshades.
The skylounge's ethereal look makes it even more relaxed than the main salon, and the tranquil and cosy setting is perfect for spending precious time with all the family.
The salon then narrows to frame the yacht's main dining area, where a large wooden table is surrounded by cream chairs adorned with a navy coral motif.
Winch Design worked closely with Zuccon International Project to blur the boundaries between indoors and out across the yacht. As a result, Cloud 9's deck spaces capture the laidback elegance and holistic ethos of the interior.
Nowhere is this better showcased than on the bridge deck aft. The dining table is surrounded by sliding glass panels which, when open, create a semi-alfresco setup. Yet, in windy conditions, they provide much-needed protection while still allowing for 180-degree views of the outside surrounds.
The table can even be expanded to seat more guests or removed completely to make space for a dance floor or simply a place to mingle during a larger event.
Wraparound decks lead forward from here to meet the bow, where the outdoor offerings continue, proving luxury Cloud 9 to be suitable for a variety of gatherings.
A built-in sofa and an expanse of sun pads provide an intimate space to unwind, as well as overlook what was originally intended to be a helipad. The owners, however, had other ideas and now the space serves as a grand entertaining area.
A large tent can be installed, shading guests from the weather as they dine alfresco or catch up over cocktails. Loose furniture is on hand for these occasions, as is a karaoke machine and disco equipment for party nights.
Another outdoor hotspot on Cloud 9 is the 10,000-litre spa pool, a showpiece feature which elevates the main deck aft into an attractive recreation area.
Coaxing guests to lie down and dry off after taking a dip is a 1.5-metre-deep sofa, which adjoins the pool and forms part of a larger seating area shaded by the overhang of the deck above.
More outdoor leisure facilities are available on the aft section of the owner’s deck. Here, guests can lie back and watch movies under the stars thanks to an alfresco cinema setup.
In comparison, the sundeck above is the ultimate daytime hangout. A spa pool flanked by sun pads takes up the forward position, allowing charterers to bask in the sunshine while taking in wonderful panoramas.
Tucked under the navy blue radar arch is a bar with a teppanyaki grill, ensuring refreshments are always close at hand. There is also a seating area in which to sip cocktails or feast on freshly grilled snacks.
Lunch can be served around a circular table on the aft half of the deck too. A retractable Bimini shade is on hand if needed while a line-up of teak loungers and another seating area remain open to the sun.
One of the most unforgettable features aboard Cloud 9, however, is the lower deck beach club. The transom door drops down to form a swimming platform large enough to host modular seating, parasols, sun beds and even a circular dining table.
Glass doors slide open to reveal a chic lounge complete with an espresso bar. Sunlight streams down through the glass bottom spa pool on the deck above to create a magically luminous effect for those chilling out here.
A corridor connects to the port garage, giving ready access to the water toys. These are launched from drop-down platforms to port and starboard, which means guests hanging out in the beach club aren’t disturbed.
Another unique characteristic of this deck is an entrance lounge, where guests arriving by tender first step on board. Quiet and soothing, the teak and holly-clad space is designed to allow guests to gradually adjust from the bright light and offers a fitting introduction to the rest of the superyacht.
|Gross Tonnage2200 GT|
|Max Speed16.5 knots|
|Cruising Speed15 knots|
|Range 6,000 nm|
|Range at 12 Knots|