On The Sea with Riviera Boat Tours
Updated: May 13, 2020
A big reason people love to live here and those visiting cannot get enough of the French Riviera is because we are at the edge of the beautiful blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea. If a memorable experience is what you are after then you have to book a trip on the sea with Riviera Boat Tours! We spoke with the owner, Patrick for more about his remarkable business venture...
Hello Patrick, Can you tell us a little bit about what brought you to the beautiful French Riviera?
My life on the French Riviera started around 25 years ago. I came here for family vacations in St Paul de Vence, Cannes, Antibes and Mougins. Then eventually as many others have, I moved to France and discovered Saint Jean Cap Ferrat. The views as with everywhere along the Cote d'Azur left me breathless but because St Jean is a peninsula that extends south towards the sea, I was overcome with how St Jean seemed to be more intensified in its natural beauty. No wonder artists such as Picasso, Cocteau, authors such as Somerset Maugham, Fitzgerald and the politicians such as Churchill, the Kennedys, royal families and movie stars such as Charlie Chaplin, Elizabeth Taylor, David Niven to name a few flocked here.
When did you start your business, Riviera Boat Tours?
Four years ago I decided to get my yachting license in Beaulieu sur Mer. My intention was not to start a business but purely for personal pleasure, as an experience, an extension of my learning and personal growth.
After I got my license, friends with boats would ask me to skipper for day journeys, allowing them time to relax and spend time with families, or business clients, as I undertook the responsibility concerned with handling everything. Eventually boat operators would call me on recommendations from friends to collect clients, business partners from places like the Royal Yacht Club Monaco and bring them to lunches at the surrounding beaches and portside bars.
With this demand, combined with my absolute love of the area, I decided to take it a step further and fully commercialize my license, a bigger step forward than I imagined but the added training was great fun.
Can you please tell our clients about your background in the boating industry?
With my international commercialized license, I started to worked for a tour boat company. The owner of the boat was delighted as were the clients. Within 3 months I was #1 on TripAdvisor, Airbnb Experiences, Viator and most other platforms. Eventually through all of this I decided to form my own boat tour brand and expand upon what clients can do and see on such boat trips.
Where is Riviera Boat Tours based?
In the Port of St Jean Cap Ferrat France. A beautiful peninsula fishing village nestling between Nice and Monaco. So easily accessible by car and bus. 15 minutes from Monaco and 20 minutes from Nice.
Are there specific times of year you operate or is it also based on demand year-round since we have such an exceptional climate in the region?
Peak seasons are May until the end of September although we operate year round as the weather for the most part is so sensational and sunny here.
How many guests can go at one time on one of your tours?
Our boats are a maximum of 5 persons. We limit this for client comfort and ecological reasons. The boats run more fuel efficient with less capacity. It also allows me, the Captain to take special care of all on board, safety, service and to answer any questions regarding the tour. It's a very personal experience and I invest so much of myself into the guests on board.
We also have the capability to charter boats for larger numbers. At Riviera Boat Tours we have a wonderful relationship with the Marinas and local yacht agents, so we can accommodate any request for boats regardless of size. Our team is qualified in both Sailing and Motor boats up to 24 metres (80 feet). We have a bilingual crew speaking 5 languages.
During the tour, can guests go swimming and/or snorkeling?
Swimming, snorkeling and cliff jumping too. All equipment is supplied along with towels and a fresh water hand shower for after swim rinse. I am a pro-active skipper and nearly always use our swim stops to jump in alongside our guests, if asked. We have buoyancy aids available as well for those a bit nervous of the sea.
Are you able to arrange special tours for guests seeking a memorable moment or celebration such as a birthday, engagement or anniversary?
Absolutely. At Riviera Boat Tours we have wonderful relations with hoteliers and restaurateurs, to arrive by boat to a special location with tables reserved and specially arranged. We also have the capacity to charter, skipper and crew a variety of different sail or motor boats, with full catering, for any special occasions.
This year we are arranging beach picnics as part of our tours. This idea would work particularly well in the early evenings after a day or half day on the water, to disembark and be able to sit on the beach, relaxing and sipping something cold as the sun dips low westwards as the sunsets here are spectacular.
What locations do you offer on a tour?
Riviera Boat Tours departs from the port of St Jean Cap Ferrat. On the full day tours we cruise on over to the magnificently picturesque Port of Villefranche, enroute we go around the two headlands that compose the peninsular of Cap Ferrat, stopping in the bays and small coves, with small beaches accessible only by foot or boat. A chance to swim and snorkel in the deep or shallow waters, observe marine life and on occasion see dolphins and whales.
From Villefranche we head across the wide open Mediterranean towards Cap d'Ail for our planned restaurant stop at Plage Mala. This area makes for a perfect Instagram moment as it retains its exclusivity because of how difficult it can be to access and surrounding natural environment. After lunch we head on over to the Port of Monaco, with a very special opportunity to see the Super Yachts close up, the famous Casino of Monte Carlo, and perched above it all, the old town of Monaco with its Palace and museums.
Leaving Monaco we head back towards Cap Ferrat but not before taking in the various bays surrounding Eze.
I must note that clients can choose a one way trip, perhaps stopping in Monaco or any other points along the route, to meet friends or shop as part of their experience.
Can boat tours be arranged for specific times of day, half day or full day?
Yes, we offer Morning, Full day, Afternoon and Evening Sunset cruises. On Half day morning our tours typically start at 9 to 10am and include a port side breakfast stop if the client wishes.
Afternoon Boat Tours start at 1 to 1:30 pm and can include a lunch stop at the gorgeous private bay of Cap d Ail or the Port of Villefranche Sur Mer if they wish.
Full day we take all destinations between Villefranche and Monaco which is approximately a 6-hour tour.
Sunset tours normally start from 6 until 8pm depending on the season.
We also offer Boat taxi services, collecting dropping and returning clients after a lunch or dinner, a shopping or business trip.
The boat trips during peak season is the quickest and most reliable way to get around. And one can be dropped directly into the heart of the city and town ports, refreshed and invigorated upon arrival.
Are safety requirements are met with approvals of local authorities?
All Crew and Captains are Registered and fully commercially licensed with the Royal Yachting Group.
Association with an Internationally recognized license.
All our training for safety takes place with Bluewater in Antibes. This includes fire safety, sea rescue and basic first aid and seas survival techniques and navigation.
All our boats whether it be our own or boats we charter for occasional use are equipped with Sonar and Satellite Navigation and sea to shore radios.
Where can someone find more information on your availability and rates?