Carnival Cruise Lines may have registered "fun ship" for its fleet, but judging from the amenities aboard Sun Chaser as well as a cruising calendar that leaves even larger yachts in her wake, the cruise-ship company may want to have its marketing department give up the rights to the catchphrase.
Built by Canada-based Richmond Yachts, Sun Chaser headed down the Pacific Coast after launch late last year for a siesta in the warm waters of Mexico for a few weeks. After this she traversed the Panama Canal to do some Bahamian island-hopping, where she turned more than a few heads while docked at the famed Atlantis resort's marina in March. And about 48 hours after I toured her in Fort Lauderdale in May, she headed over to the Med—on her own bottom, not aboard a customary transport ship.
While typically unheard of for a yacht this size, the trip, which the captain estimated would take two to three weeks when we spoke the day I was aboard, is certainly not impossible. Richmond equipped her to make far-flung cruising more than just a concept. With an 11,300-gallon fuel capacity and at her reported 15-knot cruise speed, thanks to twin 2,000-hp MTUs, she sees a range of 3,000 miles. (Maximum speed is 17 knots.) This is backed by an ABS-classed design that additionally complies with the MCA Code governing the safety of large yachts.
All of this underscores some of the biggest reasons for stepping up to a yacht exceeding 100 feet LOA: the desire to cruise more often and with more family and friends. As for the latter, clearly a 142-footer such as Sun Chaser—which was about 70 percent finished when her owner bought her—offers more relaxation space than a production motoryacht. But she also can tout something other builders don't offer—or perhaps don't know how to offer comfortably. This is the incorporation of five guest staterooms.
This article originally appeared in the August 2007 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.