Another last minute charter bareboat vacation, so, we turned to our old friends at Sun Charter, a German Charter company with bases around the Mediterranean. They offered an excellent last minute deal on a Sun Odyssey 40 we could not refuse.
Arrival and Transfers — Since we live in Northern Italy, we drove to the Ferry Terminal in Piombino, Tuscany to catch one of the hourly ferries to Portoferraio, the main port of Elba. There’s not much to Piombino, so if you want to experience a bit of Italy, do it before arriving at this rather drab ferry terminal. Piombino is not far from Pisa, Lucca and Florence, or to the north Porto Venere, the Cinque Terre, and Portofino in Liguria.
Accommodations — We booked a first night full pension at Relais delle Picchiaie a 4 star rated hotel 5 km outside of Portoferraio and a short drive to Sun Charter’s base in Edilnautica Marina. Though the hotel has beautiful views and a wonderful pool area, the room we had though didn’t live up to the 4 star rating being a little worn and shoddy. However, the fantastic service and wonderful buffet style grilled dinner more than compensates.
Charter Company — In the past we bareboat chartered from Sun Charter in Corfu, Greece and Marmaris, Turkey and have been extremely happy with their well maintained boats and very knowledgeable services. Actually, we think those two bareboat charter experiences were two of the best we have ever had in 17 years of charter bareboat sailing. Since we prefer to spend our evenings on the hook rather than in marinas, we depend on the local knowledge gained in the area briefings to plan a safe and fun week of charter bareboat sailing
We were surprised that the base in Elba didn’t meet these same high standards. Our initial check-out and area briefing were weak to the point that we requested an additional session with the base manager. This second briefing was much more informative, but we wouldn’t have called it friendly. However, once underway, we discovered many issues with the boat that upon reporting the problems at the end of the bareboat charter it was apparent that Sun Charter was aware of these problems, but, did not inform us.
Perhaps, this is why the older Sun Odyssey 40 was available within a week’s notice for such a good price. Since our past experiences with Sun Charter have been fantastic, we view this experience as an aberration and still recommend them. We certainly hope that they will take to heart our frank feedback.