- 55.2m | Admiral Yachts | 2020
Twenty years ago, Greece’s Captain George Ioannou made the leap from working in the fast lane of superfast ferries, into the fast lane of superyachting. Since then, he’s had the privilege of commanding some of the most beautiful, prestigious and most sought-after charter yachts in the world.
Captain Ioannou shares a particularly unique bond with his current yacht - the famous Geco - in that he has been with her since she was still under construction. When he’s not welcoming guests on board the yacht whose DNA he helped to shape, he can be found passionately extolling the virtues of Greece and her proud seagoing heritage.
Describing himself as a ‘friendly and enthusiastic’ leader, Captain George Ioannou talks us through all aspects of a charter on board Geco, from day trips with the crew to the huge selection of water toys available on board.
Please tell us a little about your background and how you got into yachting?
I started out working on ferries, specifically in a class known as ‘superfast ferries’. I had roles as both a second officer and a safety officer. From there, I moved into working on board private and charter yachts. I’ve enjoyed a twenty year career in this industry so far.
How long have you been a captain and what are some of the yachts you’ve worked on?
I’ve been fortunate to have captained yachts for twenty years now and have worked on some fantastic vessels. Some of those include Lertal, Flot, Ninemia, Tsouvali and Tacos of the Seas.
When did you join this yacht?
I came on board in 2019 in Italy whilst the yacht was still under construction. When it launched the following year, I became captain.
How would you describe the owner’s vision for the yacht?
The owner’s vision is for the yacht to advertise to the world that Greece is the number one destination for yachting lovers. We hope to achieve this through the world-class luxury service offered to our guests on board Geco.
How would you describe the style and personality of the yacht?
Geco is truly a masterpiece of modern design and a real standout yacht. She combines generous spaces with large volumes into a sleek package. Her elegant and contemporary interior is accompanied by large exterior decks, a huge pool and an open-air sundeck with a full gym. The bow features a Touch and Go helipad for convenient, seamless arrivals.
How would you describe the ambience on board?
Geco offers its guests a sense of relaxation and freedom. That’s married with the yacht’s incredible luxury and the crew’s world-class service.
What’s your personal style as captain?
I’m friendly and enthusiastic; I’m always ready to personally welcome our guests. My objective is always to ensure a hospitable, comfortable and friendly ambience on board.
What’s the best thing about working on this yacht?
The amazing crew and working on Geco since it’s such a new, state-of-the-art yacht.
What are some of the standout features of the yacht?
There are plenty - it’s difficult to choose! But the big one has to be the yacht’s incredible beach club area. It delivers true on-water living and its high sides combined with windows allow for seclusion and privacy whilst still enjoying the water and all of Geco’s water toys.
Other than that, I can point to the large pool, the open-air movie theatre, the Buddha bar lounge and the yacht’s generally elegant and luxurious interior.
Which areas of the yacht do guests most tend to gather on board?
Geco is designed for socialising and so our guests can take their pick from numerous spaces around the yacht. The Buddha bar lounge is a popular spot but there are also several al fresco dining areas. And at the end of the day, the outdoor cinema is ideal for cosying up under the stars and enjoying a movie.
Which types of clients are most attracted to a charter on board Geco?
People who love the sea and the sense of freedom that Geco has to offer.
What types of experience can you offer charter guests?
Guests can enjoy the sun and sea on a yacht that effortlessly combines generous spaces, large volumes and total luxury. She is a masterpiece of modern design and a truly stand out yacht. Geco also offers a unique gastronomy experience.
How would you describe the style and approach of the crew?
The crew is highly professional. They’re an enthusiastic team, full of positive energy, ready to please and to offer the best hospitality. They’re children and pet friendly.
Please share some examples where you and your crew have gone above and beyond to make the guest experience as special as possible.
Organising theme nights, beach barbecues, land excursions and visiting beautiful beaches with no land access.
Are there some interesting personalities or talents among the crew?
All of the crew members have interesting personalities. Chef Panagiotis in particular is a very experienced and talented chef. He’s extremely passionate about his job.
How is the yacht and her crew prepared to accommodate children and teenagers on a charter?
The yacht is equipped with the necessary safety equipment and loads of fun water toys. The crew organizes all kinds of activities depending on the ages of the children on board.
Who is the chef on board Geco and what is his background?
Chef Panagiotis has an Advanced Professional Diploma in Culinary Arts from Le Monde Institute. He has twelve years of experience as a chef. Throughout his career, he has worked in various well-known restaurants and 5-star hotels in Athens, Mykonos and Santorini. He’s also attended seminars in Sushi Fusion and Japanese cuisine offered by well-known Greek and foreign chefs. In 2019 he won the first prize of the Chef Competition in the Mediterranean Yacht Show.
Tell us about the toys and tenders? Which toys are the most popular with guests?
Geco features an exciting inventory of water equipment designed to maximise guests’ fun on the water. The line-up includes PWCs, a flyboard, an inflatable water slide and climbing wall, transparent kayaks, and snorkelling and diving gear. The most popular toys are the PWCs and the SeaBob.
What are your usual cruising grounds?
Geco can cruise throughout the Mediterranean, but our usual cruising area is the Eastern Mediterranean, especially Greece since Geco is based in Athens. In the winter of 2021, the yacht was relocated to the Red Sea.
Which destinations are your personal favourites and why?
My personal favourite destination is Greece. It offers a variety of destinations, with some more developed spots and some that are more isolated.
What have been some of the highlights or favourite memories of yours as captain?
The Armata Festival in Spetses is always a highlight for me, as well as the Miaoulia Festival in Hydra. The Miaoulia Festival celebrates the Greek defeat of the Ottoman Empire’s attempted invasion. Part of the event recreates the historic sinking of the Ottoman Empire’s flagship.
Another highlight for me are the breathtaking views of Milos and of Santorini.