My first experience sailing on a yacht was made memorable, thanks to Marina at Keppel Bay. Needless to say, I had so much fun cruising on their flagship yacht, The Admira,l with some of the best company. Whether you are planning a bachelorette/bachelor party, a family get-together, or a birthday celebration, they’ve got you covered. Pssst, I will be letting you in on a secret to get more bang for your buck, so keep reading to find out more!
Sailing with Marina at Keppel Bay
It was my first time on a yacht and I was obviously overwhelmed with excitement. We boarded The Admiral barefooted (ahhh, it felt like a vacation already!) and the crew was so sweet to help us arrange our footwear every time we needed to get off the yacht. Once on board, we were immediately greeted by a spacious saloon featuring a large L-settee around an inlaid teak table. However, what amazed me the most was the facilities that came along: there is a galley equipped with granite-topped counters, electric stoves, a microwave, a refrigerator and even a freezer. Adjacent to the galley is a separate dinette to enjoy your meals. Before we got too carried away roaming around the yacht, we were called in for a short safety briefing and off we go!
So, the plan was to sail to the nearby Lazarus Island (approximately 45 minutes away) for a short retreat. That would mean that we’ll have ample time to explore the different areas within the yacht and take in all that sea view while we were at it. We spent some time goofing around the helm pretending to be captains before we discovered a stairway leading downstairs to a whole new world where the guest cabins were located. To my surprise, there isn’t just one, but three cabins - each with a double bed. The luxurious master stateroom featuring a separate shower and washroom definitely stood out to me - it was as equipped as a normal hotel room would be.
After a smooth 45 minutes sail, thanks to the yacht’s dynamic stabiliser, we finally arrived at Lazarus Island. Here, there were a range of activities available: those who love to bask in the sun and enjoy the cooling sea breeze can do so at their aft deck overlooking the entire island; those up for water activities can opt to kayak around the area as there are two kayaks on board available for use; those craving for some quality time with their partner can take a romantic stroll along the beach and explore the island (tip: bring along insect repellant and beware of sandflies!).
Not convinced? If you’re a foodie, you can have a little picnic at the beach to enjoy your food with a side of sea view (even better with champagne, I’d reckon). If you love the water but don’t want to kayak, feel free to use the floating mat provided. If you want to catch up with friends, you guys can hang around the flybridge while admiring the scenic nature. If you are a movie buff, you’d be pleased to know that they have a DVD player and a flatscreen TV on board! Don’t forget to take that cliché Titanic shot with your friend/partner because what is a yacht cruise if you didn’t?!
Waterfront dining at Ristorante Palermo
The cherry topping would be our lunch at Ristorante Palermo after that eventful sail. Specialised in Italian food, as the name would suggest, Ristorante Palermo serves all kinds of delectable Italian delicacies (think: pasta, pizzas, risottos). This atmospheric eatery serves as a beautiful and relaxing spot to enjoy some fine Italian cuisine which is not only authentic but great in flavour. When the chef brought our first dish, I knew we were in for a treat! And it didn't just stop there, he continued to bring out more food until they filled the entire table. Wow, what a spread. We were spoilt for choice!
For antipasti, we had aged parma ham slices on melons with a few drizzles of balsamic vinegar as well as buttery foie gras served on toasted herb bread. We had the Quattroformaggi and their Palermo Speciale for our mains. Quattroformaggi is made with four types of Italian air-flown cheese paired with the world’s best Kampot black pepper to cut off the creaminess, whereas their Palermo Speciale came with porcini mushrooms and black truffle pesto, topped with a soft egg and truffle caviar. It was so luxurious and fragrant I almost couldn’t believe it was vegetarian.
For pasta, we had their orecchiette cacio e pepe, another vegetarian dish, but it didn't lack flavour in any way. We also managed to sample their tagliolini wild sea prawns, in aglio olio style. Seafood lovers will love this for sure! Topped with fresh herbs, it was easily one of my favourite from the menu. There was also a tinge of spice in the dish for spicy lovers like myself.
Up next would be the risotto. Our beetroot risotto came in a signature deep red colour, topped with creamy burratina cheese and truffle caviar. As someone who isn’t a fan of beetroot, I find the taste of beetroot light and refreshing. It wasn’t overpowering like the dishes I’ve tried in the past and went well with the light creaminess of the burratina cheese. Of course, the truffle caviar once again elevated the entire dish. Once again, it was another vegetarian option - I am pleasantly surprised by the variety of vegetarian options they offer at the restaurant. By the way, every single one will leave you wanting for more! The last risotto we had is a chef’s special, a squid ink risotto served with calamari fritti. This is a level spicier than the rest of the dishes with evident chilli flakes but I love it.
You know the desserts were delectable when you promised yourself to only take one bite but ended up wiping the plates clean. I know I was definitely guilty of this. The chef was kind enough to let us try both tiramisus on the dessert menu - the classic and pistachio. Served with a slab of mascarpone cream cheese layered on top of espresso-soaked biscuit fingers, their tiramisu is light, creamy, yet moist and flavourful - everything I like about a good, classic tiramisu. The latter is a tad drier yet very fragrant. The addition of nuts also provided a nice crunch to the dish.
The big reveal
Marina at Keppel Bay has one of the best charter deal in town now to book your next (or first) sail. Besides The Admiral (which we sailed on), they offer yachts for charter for all occasions, depending on your needs. They are currently having a promotion:
i. Charter a 15 pax package with them on The Admiral (or any third party yacht), and receive a $50.00 dining voucher from one of the restaurants at Marina at Keppel Bay
ii. Or charter a 20 pax or above package to receive a $100.00 dining voucher
For general yacht charter, their rates start from as low as $750 for a 2-hour sail catering for up to 10 pax. Or opt to stay dockside at only $300 for 4 hours (10 pax as well). Note: Charters are inclusive of professional crew (captain as well as crew onboard), fuels and utilities.