If the beach is Delray’s main squeeze, then the two large yachts docked on the northwest side of the Atlantic Avenue Intracoastal bridge are it’s ladies. The Lady Atlantic and Lady Delray, as a matter of fact. Two towering and pristine presences with effortless and carefree beauty, despite their enormity, that rest calmly in the charming waterway awaiting their next departure. Upon seeing these two vessels, one’s first instinct is to wonder, what large cruise company owns and charters them? As is often the case in Delray Beach, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover that the yachts are family owned and operated. With honest to goodness sweat, occasional tears and old school hard work. The passion projects of husband and wife, Captain Joe and Kerry Reardon, the Lady Atlantic and Lady Delray were designed with the passenger’s in mind. With year- round cruises everyday of the week, (except Monday’s off-season) the yachts are an exciting and family friendly way for tourists and locals to explore the water off land. Born and raised in Massachusetts, Joe from Duxsbury and Kerry from Plymouth, they were both naturally inclined to boating. Joe became a Captain at age 18, operating sightseeing, charter, and whale watch boats in Plymouth. Kerry worked in the hospitality industry, in every capacity, working at some of the most prestigious restaurants and hangouts in Cape Cod.
Combining their skill sets was a no-brainer and the Reardon’s purchased their first boat, The Pilgrim Bell, a traditional paddle wheel yacht, in 2002 and began spending their winter’s North and their summer’s in South Florida. Soon after, they purchased the Lady Delray. After four years of part time living, both in Massachusetts and Florida, the Reardon’s decided to settle down and stay here year round. Choosing Delray Beach, specifically, was a somewhat spontaneous decision. In a “Mariner’s Yellow Pages,” so to speak, the Reardon’s saw an ad that was about twenty- words describing Delray. The Reardon’s came here in July, when the town was virtually deserted, (this was over nine years ago) and Kerry looked at Joe and said, “This is our spot.”
“Delray Beach felt like “us”. It was basically everything we wanted. We fit into the scene, the people, what we wanted to do, it all fit,” says Kerry.
They then began to further build their business. As their business grew, the Reardon’s decided to purchase a new, larger yacht. They sold the Lady Delray and designed, literally drawing sketches and creating blue prints, their dream yacht. Because of their histories, Joe as a Captain and Kerry in hospitality, they were able to bring to life what they felt was the best possible boat to give their customer’s the most incredible experiences.
The Lady Atlantic was conceived, a 105 foot, triple-decker vessel. Cosmically, the Reardon’s also received another of their dreams, at the same time. “Everything happened at once,” says Kerry, “I was in the hospital giving birth as the boat was being delivered.” That was in 2008. Since, Captain Joe and Kerry have purchased back the Lady Delray, a 90 foot, double-decker yacht, and are now able to charter both. “We are a Mom and Pop organization,” says Meghan Christian, Kerry’s younger sister. Meghan is the Event Planner for the yachts and also works in the ticket booth, answering the phone that literally rings off the hook, and selling tickets for the daily public cruises. “Joe and Kerry have given 110% of themselves. They have built this from the ground up,” says Meghan. And although there were tough economic times over the years, they never thought about selling. “We kept going because we truly love it, it’s our passion,” says Kerry. On board the Lady Delray or Lady Atlantic, Captain Joe is almost always your Captain, providing live narration, quite a personal touch. The food is always fresh and prepared on board. While the Lady Atlantic is the bigger of the two, the Lady Delray is often chartered for more intimate affairs, smaller weddings or corporate functions.
The real treat, however, is that the Reardon’s are passionate about affordable fun. There are daily two-hour narrated sightseeing cruises, sunset cocktail cruises, Sunday Brunch cruises and even Family Cruises, where the guests dine on pizza and ice cream. All of these events are open to the public and are reasonably priced. Since the birth of Lola, Joe and Kerry’s daughter born at the same time as the Lady Atlantic, they have not slowed down. While Kerry, who used to be on almost every cruise, has stepped back to be a full-time Mom, she is always on-call. “If someone doesn’t’ show up, I get the call,” she says. And, of course, Lola loves being on the boat. She loves to see the brides at weddings,’ walk around and even wears her own uniform, identical (except smaller) to that of the rest of the crew. “We work for ourselves, doing what we love to do,” says Kerry, “We’ve created our own slice of paradise that we get to cruise around on, and everyone’s invited.” For more information or to make reservations, visit www.delrayyachtcruises.com or call 561-243-0686. Pop by their office, 801 E. Atlantic Ave., and chances are you’ll be greeted by Meghan or Kerry.