Right off Exit 52 on the Garden State Parkway, mobile treasures are being built inside the 810,000-square-foot facility of Viking Yachts.
And while strolling through this property — on the Bass River in New Gretna — one cannot help but be fascinated at the glorious ships awaiting their first cruise.
Even in the humid summer heat, the roughly 850 workers here are focused on their craftsmanship, busily creating the yacht of someone’s dreams.
For yacht owners, a boat means more than a breezy ride on the water.
It’s a lifestyle, and it rings with the bells and whistles anyone could imagine for the most extravagant boating adventures.
“The boats go around the world, and while the boats are built in New Jersey — they’re not typically ones that stay at the dock,” says Peter Frederiksen, director of communications for Viking Yachts. “The boat just fits their lifestyle like a glove. It’s everything that they could want, it’s a great-looking thing when they walk into a marina. If you want to go to Nantucket, (Massachusetts), for lunch, you can go to Nantucket for lunch. If you want to live on the boat for six weeks, you can live on the boat for six weeks.”
Climb aboard, and get a glimpse of the yacht life.
The assembly line
Viking Yachts, a company that recently marked its 50th anniversary, expects to have built 58 to 60 yachts by the end of 2014, explains Frederiksen. Sizes range from 42 feet in length all the way up to 92 feet long.
Prices here start at $1 million and climb up to $9 million — the latter marks the price of their 92-foot-long enclosed bridge convertible yacht, which is currently under construction.
Viking Yachts is often touted as the “Mercedes-Benz” of the boat world.
“What makes the quality of the boats so high and in demand is that the company is 50 years old, it’s all the same management, and you have people that have been here a long, long time,” Frederiksen explains. “And because they’ve built so many boats, if a customer comes and is building a boat and they want whatever they want, chances are they’ve (workers) already done it. When you walk into the boat, everything is seamless, everything looks like it belongs. That comes from experience, it comes from knowing what works in a boat.”
Viking Yachts products have fiberglass exteriors. Teak, veneer and hard wood, with glossy or satin finishes, is used in the boat’s interior and the cockpit’s sole. Maple wood is used in the furniture’s interior drawers.
“Everybody is making parts for a boat that may not be built yet, but may be ordered, so there’s a huge, big system,” says Frederiksen. “It takes about six to seven months to build a boat, but in that time period, half of that is usually spent building the parts. Then, when it gets to the production line, all those parts are ready, and they start throwing them in.”
The finished product
It’s an admirable shock, to come face-to-face with Viking Yachts largest model yet — at 92 feet long. The yacht will have taken roughly nine months to complete before it goes to its undisclosed female owner in mid-August.
Though still under construction, the yacht is already polished and pristine — described as the “epitomy of luxury afloat” by Frederiksen.
“You really would have trouble not having everything you want,” he adds.
Inside, Frederiksen explains the layout and amenities:
- The salon, or living area, has L-shaped sofas, a wet bar, and a staircase leading up to the bridge — where there is another L-shaped lounge and seating.
- A dining area for eight people, plus five bar stools around the kitchen island.
- The kitchen, or galley, features granite countertops, under-counter refrigeration, doors and drawers with a push-button locking mechanism, Sub-Zero appliances, and a walk-in pantry.
- Six bedrooms, called staterooms or cabins, are furnished with glossy-finished walnut furniture.
- Eight spacious bathrooms.
- Eight flat-screen televisions.
- A washing machine and dryer.
- 12 tons of chilled water conditioning, which Frederiksen says gives customers more comfort.
- Several ice machines.
- Carpet flooring, with tile in the bathrooms.
“We try to make everything generously proportioned for people,” says Frederiksen. “You can never have too much storage; you can never have too much space on a boat.”
But the 92-foot-long yacht isn’t the only boat here with fabulous features. Other models also have flat screen televisions, granite countertops, appliances, wet bars, dinettes, sofas, recess lighting and chilled water air conditioning, among other amenities.
“All of our boats have under counter refrigeration,” says Frederiksen. “If you’re out on the boat, everything stays low. If you want to go make a sandwich or something, and you’re fishing and you want to watch out what’s going on behind you, you can keep an eye on it.”
William Bales and Company, based in West Berlin, is an interior design firm that assists Viking Yachts customers regularly with color schemes, materials used on sofas and bedspreads, carpeting, granite countertops and more.
“It allows the customers to really personalize the boat that they want,” says Frederiksen. “They really want the boat to replicate the same environment they live in when they’re home.”
It’s important to keep in mind how people are going to use their new yachts, Frederiksen explains. With the $9 million 92-foot-yacht, for example, another price presents itself — the fuel. It can carry 4,000 gallons of fuel, and with a price of $4 per gallon, it will take an approximate $16,000 to fill the fuel tank.
Of yacht owners, Frederiksen says their occupations vary. But above all, they love boats and adventure.
“They’re types of people that really enjoy adventure,” says Frederiksen. “They don’t care if it’s raining out, it doesn’t upset them — they know the sun is going to come out. They’re fortunate, and they know it, and they’re taking advantage of it. They’re nice people.”
People take out their yachts for all sorts of reasons — to fish, to unwind and entertain for special occasions and to go on family vacations, for example.
If you decide to buy a yacht, you must love boats — it’s part of the lifestyle, he adds.
“(It’s) the ability to go wherever you want to go,” says Frederiksen. “In order to do that, they’re involved in it. These people are very eminent with their boat and if they’re going to go somewhere, they know where they’re going to go. They’re going to go for a week, and they’re going to go for a month, or they’re not coming back at all.”
Also, the amenities inside the Viking Yachts immerse people in the way they are accustomed to living, Frederiksen adds.
“They’re made to give you a lifetime of memories,” he says. “It’s really exciting to see the people get excited about it. That is what makes the boat special, they’re very proud of what leaves here, because it will go around the world.”
WHAT: Viking Yachts
WHERE: 5724 Route 9 (on the Bass River), New Gretna