Make Your Superyacht Event One to Remember

Posted February 20, 2023 in Lifestyle by Ashleigh King

From masquerade balls to rocking parties, a superyacht provides the ultimate platform to host a decadent affair or chic celebration. Navigator talks to GF Entertainment’s Emmanuel Akintunde, Founder and Managing Director, and Superyacht Entertainment Director David Smith, about the lengths they go to make sure your event is one to remember.

THE EXPERTS: GF Entertainment

GF Entertainment is the go-to luxury entertainment company specializing in providing unique experiences for ultra-high-net- worth (UHNW) clients around the world. Revolutionizing the onboard experience with top-tier entertainment, its team of experts can design, plan, manage and execute exclusive events to exceed all expectations.

Let’s start off with a typical superyacht party concept. Is there a typical request?

EA Yes, definitely. We’re always getting requests for DJs and roaming acts like magicians and party bands, particularly for yachts cruising the Mediterranean during the summer. The recent summer season saw the demand for these types of requests soar as people finally had the opportunity to celebrate milestone birthdays and events.

What are the most outlandish requests you have had?

EA There really are so many, but due to NDAs I can’t discuss any details. I can, however, give an example of a request we had just recently. At 1 am, while on charter, a client contacted GF Entertainment to request seven bottles of Don Julio 1942. With supply nearly impossible to find due to Brexit, not to mention the incredibly high demand for these bottles, this was a tough ask. Fortunately, we succeeded. We don’t usually act as a concierge, but due to our relationship with the client, we were happy to help.

What sort of themed parties have you organized?

EA From New York speakeasy vibes to safari-style occasions, themed parties are a lot of fun to provide entertainment for. One of my favorites was a 60th birthday party commissioned through the amazing Michelle Kelly of Pocketful of Dreams on behalf of her client. The client wanted the official, current cast of The Lion King. Contract and daily performances meant that they could not perform privately, so we organized for previous cast members to perform. A unique ensemble of actors and dancers came together to create a completely bespoke show just for the client. Watching it all come together and experiencing the look of amazement on the client’s face during a special rendition of “Circle of Life” was nothing short of magical.


How important a role does the cuisine take in organizing a celebration?

EA The cuisine is extremely important. After all, everyone loves good food, so much so that we have curated an entertainment experience based solely around cuisine called “Memories.” This experience pairs a selection of dedicated composed piano pieces with small-bite culinary signature masterpieces. The aim is to present guests with an unparalleled, multi-sensory culinary experience. The synergy between food and music is effectively shaped by the music that is synchronized to each of the tasting events: Seeing, Smelling, Pre-tasting and After-tasting. Each masterpiece is titled to represent lifetime events like “first kiss,” “first teddy bear,” “first jump into the deep water,” “mama’s perfume,” etc…

Can you give examples of ways to wow even with a smaller, more intimate celebration?

EA For us, it’s all about creating unique experiences and lasting memories, and often these can only be achieved with your nearest and dearest. We recently created an experience we call the “Immersive Piano Add-on Experience” – the ultimate luxury film-watching experience on board, alfresco, beneath the stars. This is an exclusive one-of-a-kind film night where an owner or charter principal picks one of their favorite films and award-winning, official Steinway artist Vincent Corver plays alongside the film’s original score. Vincent will guide your senses and imagination through the highs and lows – the thrills, the romance, and the tension – all while weaving his own playfulness and personality into the film at the most wonderfully unexpected moments. In addition, if you have your own personal films or favorite memories that you want to show off – a family documentary, graduations or even your daughter’s wedding video, Corver can create an entirely bespoke piece of music just for those special moments. Think of it as your own private, completely personalized film party. There’s nothing more intimate than that.

How would you throw a party that gets noticed even during larger events such as the Monaco Grand Prix or Cannes Film Festival?

EA For this year’s Monaco Grand Prix, we provided the official F1 Experiences team with entertainment on board both of their yachts: the M/Y ELENI and M/Y SIROCCO. One of our best DJs, who really knows how to read a crowd, created a unique and buzzing atmosphere and the party will no doubt be a lasting memory for all the guests on board. However, it is the attention to detail that counts. Creating a buzz around the party prior to the doors opening is always very important. Anything that sets tongues wagging in advance is typically underestimated, but this is what makes your event a success before the event has even started. Little things like massive balloon deliveries, activities, close protection personnel, provisions, the welcome, photography, and décor, all combine to ensure a memorable occasion. In saying that, not every client who hosts a party onboard a yacht during these large events wants
to get noticed. Quite the opposite, as a matter of fact. During the Cannes Film Festival, you will never know which yacht a Hollywood star is partying aboard, unless you are invited, of course.


Type of yacht

There are many facets of a
yacht that, when combined, will determine the type of party. Most charter yachts lend themselves to any type of occasion; however, guest numbers will vary depending on the size. Talk to your charter expert about the type of event you are looking to throw, and they will be able to recommend the most suitable yacht to suit the occasion.

Cruising grounds

Where you are cruising might determine the type of celebration, be it remote and therefore
more of an intimate occasion or quayside in a popular and easily accessible port.


A tasty menu will wow your guests. From alfresco dining to cocktails and canapes, there are a number of open-air dining options on a superyacht. If the occasion requires a formal dining set-up, then make sure the guest lists match the seating capacity.


Ensure you have enough, and that they are free-flowing.


Music sets the tone for any event, but it needs to be right for the crowd. From A-listers to DJs, ensure the tunes keep coming and the sound system is of the best quality.


It’s all in the detail, and your superyacht crew will have plenty of ideas, but for larger events, it’s best to bring in the experts for that wow factor.

Guest list

Consider numbers. 100 – 120 guests are considered the tipping point for larger gatherings, while fewer guests mean more quality time to socialize.


From embossed shoe bags to scented candles, ensure your guests leave with mementos to remind them of the coolest bash in town.

What would you suggest to make your party the best yacht fiesta in St. Barths to ring in the New Year?

DS There isn’t just one single thing I would suggest. The goal of any evening is to make the guests feel something special, that’s what will make the event memorable. To do this, we carefully break down our evenings into phases, each complementing the one before. One of our favorites that never fails is “Music and Magic.” The evening begins with “Immersion” with critically acclaimed illusionist Tony Steward. Stirring the guests’ imagination and evoking excitement, the show encourages guests to collaborate with each other. As guests try to make sense of what they have just witnessed (and taken part in), food is served, after which is perhaps music from an acoustic band. For larger yacht parties, it’s worth considering booking an A-List singer or performer. Why not see if you can get one of your favorites or someone special to your guests? After all, if celebrating NYE on a yacht in St. Barths isn’t an excuse to splash out, then I don’t know when is. Then perhaps a DJ to really get things going and build anticipation for the midnight countdown. We have a range of successful independent DJs, and access to the world’s leading A-List DJs, including Black Coffee, Craig David, and Marco Carola, to mention just a few. Then, as the clock strikes midnight, invite (and encourage) guests to grab their swimwear and start the new year with a splash.

What essentials do you believe a yacht needs for: a large-scale celebration / an intimate party / formal-style occasion/cocktail event?

EA I know it might sound lame or mundane, but the key to a successful event, whether it be a cocktail, a large party with David Guetta performing or a simple yet elegant dinner, is keeping the client’s experience at the forefront of our decisions, running a tight ship (pardon the pun), and making sure we are organized to the “T.”

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