The Maldives is a true paradise on earth, with its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and abundant marine life. Every year, the country draws over a million visitors who come to experience its unique blend of luxury, relaxation, and adventure. As the biggest industry in the Maldives, tourism is taken seriously, and visitors are treated like royalty. It's not uncommon to find celebrities and millionaires indulging in the top-class luxury that the Maldives is famous for, with their own private villas, personal chefs, and personalized service. Whether you're looking for an intimate honeymoon, a family vacation, or a solo adventure, the Maldives has something to offer everyone, and the hospitality industry goes above and beyond to ensure that every guest has an unforgettable experience.
We often say that the first impression is the last impression, and for these tourists, one of the very first impressions after they land in the island archipelago is the speedboat experience to their final resort destination. They often face long wait times at VIP Lounges before being ushered into a speedboat, and so naturally one would expect that the service would be of top class as well.
Except, it's become an often overlooked first impression, that leaves a bad aftertaste lingering behind.
When Gulf Craft Maldives’ General Manager, Production, Costas Eliopoulos, visited the Maldives last May, he had a similar experience. The disappointment of the speedboat ride rang loud and clear for him. And for a country with a lucrative hospitality industry such as the Maldives, this was an unacceptable part of the fantasy. It is true that inspiration often strikes out of the blue, and by the end of a rather 'unpleasant' one-hour speedboat ride, Costas had been able to pinpoint a crucial element missing from the industry in the Maldives. Specialized speedboats that sell the comfort of luxury, specially targeted towards the luxury traveler.
Maldives being home to the most prestigious hotel chains across the world means that everyone in the industry must be in a 'millionaire mindset' to satiate every need of their clients. It is with that same mindset that Gulf Craft went back to the drawing board, with the aim of bringing about a revolutionary change to the industry.
With the stakes at an all-time high, Gulf Craft has undoubtedly done it again with their 'Touring 48 - VIP', a brand new version of their infamous 'Touring 48' boats. The speedboat which is being manufactured at the Gulf Craft site in Thilafushi is nothing short of luxury transport reimagined by the company.
When Gulf Craft expanded its portfolio and launched the Touring 48 in the Maldives in 2018, it truly spoke of the epitome of state-of-the-art travel. The fine limousine boat was built with luxury yacht materials and has become a staple in the industry when it comes to guest transportation.
But as time passed, and the definition of luxury has been once again redefined, Gulf Craft no longer believes that the Touring 48 should be the industry standard to transport the luxury traveler around the Maldivian waters. Even though there are currently 51 of these vessels operational, they believe that the crystal waters of the Maldives deserve a more opulent choice.
With the intention to reimagine luxury transport, Gulf Craft flew in experts from the industry and the required technology all the way from their headquarters in the United Arab Emirates to the Maldives, where the 'Touring 48 - VIP' was conceived.
Its grandeur and promises of extravagance were clear the moment you step into the exceptionally made speedboat.
While the 22-seater speedboat may look like just another speedboat from the exterior, it fully transforms travel by sea into an immersive experience. With a complete redesign of the interior, the speedboat provides unparalleled luxury to travelers, who are accustomed to the highest of standards.
The interior which is split into two segments has an airy and welcoming aura to it. The interior complete with high-end finishes and modern design houses eight seats in the front. With the ability to recline, these seats allow guests to stretch their legs after a long flight and are just as luxurious as a seat found on a private jet. The 2-2 seating configuration does not crowd the interior, making up a beautifully comfortable experience, especially for couples traveling together.
The innermost seats come in a more 2+2 configuration, allowing conversations to flow more freely, perfect for family travelers or even professionals. It's the perfect corner in the boat to have a quick meeting on the go, with the beautiful scenery greeting you through the windows!
When you are aboard the 'Touring 48 - VIP', you are guaranteed exceptional service within every corner of the boat. With washrooms that are clean and spacious enough to make you wander inside a little longer while music plays through a Bluetooth speaker, it truly has a reimagined space for all.
The vessel also comes with a pantry and sockets for a coffee machine with space for a 130-can fridge, compared to the 65-can fridge capacity in the older model, allowing for hotels to provide even more choices to their star clients.
Costas and Gulf Craft also believe that the crew should also be taken care of just like their guests, and hence included several amenities for them as well. The captain's chair, for example, is fully geared up with suspension and can be adjusted to comfort in multiple ways. The washroom for the crew is just as spacious and beautiful as the guest washroom and comes with shower facilities as well.
When compared to the Touring 48, the 'Touring 48 - VIP' comes with all the features - only lighter, and faster. The Touring 48 VIP is 2 Tonnes lighter, and 6 knots faster. Fuel expenses are also 15 percent lower for the model making it a much more appealing choice.
Though the speedboat was first shown during the Marine Expo, Kostas revealed that 12 have already been sold, with three of them being exported to the Pacific Islands, Thailand, and Singapore.
He further stated that the Maldivian market demand for the vessel has been exceptional and, expects to enjoy glowing success in the future.