There are few superyachts with a history as alluring as that of the 44m/145ft classic yacht GRACE. After all, this is the yacht on which movie star Grace Kelly and her husband Prince Rainier honeymooned on in 1956. But, there is a lot more to her fairy-tale past than this, and her story continues as she welcomes aboard guests for luxury yacht charters in the far-flung Galapagos Islands.
GRACE’s story starts back in 1928, the year in which she first hit the water. Built in the UK by Campers and Nicholsons at their Southampton yard, she was commissioned by Argentinean tycoon Santiago Soulas, who named the yacht after his daughter Monica.
Four years later, Soulas sold the yacht to Zarch Couyoumbian, a wealthy Greek gentleman who named her RION. Come 1938, she was on the market once again and, this time, she ended up in the hands of Sir George Tilley, chairman of the Prudential Insurance Co.
However, when the Second World War broke out in 1939, the British conscripted the yacht for the war effort and she joined the Royal Navy with a crew of 20 renamed as HMS Noir.
The vessel carried out a sterling service. As well as patrolling the entrances to the Solent, she received Winston Churchill, collected 300 soldiers on three runs from Dunkirk and even captured a German E-boat off the coast of the Isle of Wight.
In October 1945, she was decommissioned and 17 months later she arrived at her original builders for restoration. Two years later she was returned to Sir George Tilley.
Upon his death in 1951, she was acquired by Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, owner of the iconic 99m/325ft superyacht ‘Christina O’, and renamed ARION. Onassis then gave the yacht as a wedding gift to his friends Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly.
The royal couple honeymooned aboard the yacht, which was christened ‘Deo Juvente II’, for seven weeks along the coasts of Corsica and Sardinia. Princess Grace then used the vessel to entertain important guests of the principality on day excursions in the Mediterranean, as well as for vacations with her family.
In 1958, the superyacht was purchased by a Monaco-based businessman and re-named DASKA. Then, after changing hands several more times, she was acquired by her current owners in 2007.
Over the course of the next two years, the yacht was rebuilt from the ground up and outfitted with the latest yachting amenities while retaining the elegance and class of her 1950s heyday.
GRACE was rebuilt from the ground up and outfitted with the latest yachting amenities while retaining the elegance and class of her 1950s heyday
During the extensive refit, the original blueprint for the hull and technical areas were used, and her former looks were taken into consideration but modern materials were used to provide her with the latest requirements on safety and make her more environmentally friendly.
Re-christened superyacht GRACE in remembrance of the fifties film star, the classic yacht is now open for charter in the off-the-radar waters of the Galapagos Islands and is one of the finest offerings in the region.
When vacationing aboard most vessels in the region, travellers have to spend their time alongside other passengers in a cruise liner setup. But, it’s possible to rent GRACE for a private yacht charter. This way, charterers and their guests have the run of the entire yacht and the crew servicing their every desire.
During a charter vacation, guests can relax and socialise in a variety of deck areas. Stunning views of the region are to be had while unwinding in the upper deck’s alfresco lounge with a drink from the nearby bar in hand or while taking a dip in the spa pool, situated forward on the main deck.
Sun-lovers will love the intimate top deck sun-bathing area and, in the evening, the entire charter party can get-together for a delicious dinner in the aft deck alfresco dining area. Side decks also ensure guests are treated to 360-degree panoramas of their surroundings when cruising the archipelago.
There is even a private stern resting area with the original 1927 wheel inscribed with ‘Due Juvante’ - the name of the luxury yacht while owned by the prince and princess.
Inside, GRACE continues to wow with her Adriana Hoyos-styled interior. The highest quality materials have been brought together to retain her classic charm, and original pieces of the yacht are found throughout, bringing the heritage of this iconic yacht back to life.
On the main deck, the main salon features two sumptuous seating areas. This deck is also home to the Grace Kelly suite which, sitting in the exact same place as where the princess’s suite was in the 1950s, boasts timeless modern styling, including tailored furniture and a modern en suite.
On the upper deck, there are two master suites and two twin cabins. The accommodation is completed by two double cabins, two twin cabins and a double cabin with a single berth on the lower deck. In total, the yacht can sleep 18 guests.