A Norfolk holiday firm says it is reaping the rewards of creating a luxury experience for tourists on and off the water.
Veteran Broads operator Len Funnell re-entered the sector in 2007 when he launched Horning Ferry Marina and he has since grown the business to include 38 hire craft and a portfolio of luxury riverside holiday properties.
The firm’s focus on taking Broads’ holidays upmarket was shown at the launch of its latest £200,000 cruiser on Monday – in view of its most recently developed holiday home Tealby.
The impressively sleek Mercury Emblem has two spacious cabins but has been designed for four to six people rather than the eight who would traditionally be accommodated on a boat of such size.
General manager Peter Reeve said: “For many, a holiday on the Norfolk Broads is a chance to get closer to nature and to slow down the pace of life, but over the years we’ve noticed that our customers want to do this with more comfort and style than traditional boats offer.
“We’ve invested significantly in the design and build of cruisers which offer luxury at an affordable price. Last year we introduced two new cruisers for this market and it was their success that drove the design of Mercury Emblem.”
The boat has all the mod cons, including satellite television, that have become the norm for new launches but, significantly, there is more space on board for people to spend time together or apart.
The four-bedroom Tealby is the latest in a development of four luxury holiday properties to be built.
Mr Reeve said: “It has proved so popular that bookings for this year are almost full and people are already booking for 2015 and 2016 to get the weeks they want.
“The design gives people an amazing experience of open plan living. With glass on three sides, when you are sitting in the living room it is like sitting in the middle of the Broads.”
He said Ferry Marina was also setting the pace by making boating holidays all-inclusive with no hidden extras such as the added cost of fuel.
“Our all inclusive program was hugely successful last year and our customers were over the moon with the value it offers them. Now that we offer these exceptional cruisers with the all inclusive offer, we can honestly say luxury on the Norfolk Broads is affordable too,” he said.