BY ALAN DALE
An old-school business model that rewards hard work, integrity, and character seems to be alive and well at Marina del Rey.
FantaSea Yachts, well into its fifth decade in business continues to provide plenty of opportunities for those who want to hold special events such as weddings, corporate shindigs, mitzvahs and so much more with a bit of pizzazz on the proverbial high seas.
Owner Daniel Ginzburg, who took the baton from his father, Uri, says that his company is the “longest standing yacht charter company in Marina del Rey,” with parties that can host 25 to upward of 300 guests.
“We have two yachts – the Dandeana (which holds up to 100 guests) and Fantasy One (up to 250 guests),” Ginzburg says. “All of our full-time staff have worked with us for at least 20 years and many close to 30 years with a lot of our kids working there part-time in the summers as serving staff. It’s really a three-generation company.”
Ginzburg says one major factor in FantaSea’s long-term viability is because of “excellent customer service,” while recognizing you are “only as good as your last event.”
He stated that the focus of his company is to care as a team and for all individuals and to do the job at a high level.
“We realize that the better events we do, the better it is for business and for all of our team employees,” Ginzburg says.
“We’re very detail-focused. We have a lot of parties and you have gotten all the little details right. Our best advertising is having great parties. That way the client comes back. Many clients have gotten married with us and then they come back for their kids’ birthday parties, bar mitzvahs, quinceañeras.
“The same captain that married them will be the captain on board for their kid’s bar mitzvah.”
The inner machination of the operation has to perform like a ballet, according to Ginzburg.
“It’s people moving, dancing well like the symphony performing well together,” he says. “You know what your colleague is doing and you know what the client wants before they even anticipate it themselves. We really care about the employees that have worked with us all their lives. “
We found good people and then their positions evolve as their skill set and interests evolve. (The employees) are almost all doing something different than what they started. But they were all smart and their hearts were in the right place. For me when I judge a staff, I look at do they want to do well and are the head and heart in the right place. If it is, they can be taught anything and it doesn’t matter what position they have.”
Ginzburg learned a lot of this working for his father who was of the Golden Generation and one that respected good work and character, something he learned when he started working for Uri as a 15-year-old.
“Hard work taught us to empower good people and give them the latitude and the runway to exceed,” Ginzburg says. “That’s been FantaSea’s success because there’s been a lot of yacht charter, and special events companies that have come and gone in our industry. We’re the only family business that survived and that’s because of our team and staff. We’re a family.
“You want to give (hard workers) an opportunity because that’s what this country was founded on. I think you want someone who is willing to work hard and who you think has a good heart. The resume, the school, the background doesn’t matter.”
Ginzburg says another advantage competitively comes from everyone else “working hard” but it comes down to FantaSea trying to work smarter to deliver a perfect event.
“It’s a series of small details all being done correctly,” he says.
The company employs its own caterers and cooks and all food prepared comes fresh from local California produce and other products. Everyone from the disc jockey essentially are FantaSea team members and not free agents brought on for a 1-time gig. That includes the event producers and planners, boat crew, captains, engineers, and deck hands along with the party staff including bartenders.
It comes in handy in a world as eclectic as southern California.
“One of the best parts of L A is its diversity and that makes for very interesting and a great range of events for us as a host and for our staff,” Ginzburg says. “It also is very culturally exciting- so different menus, décor and musical themes. Occasionally we’ll work with an outside caterer if the client has their favorite, but most of the time, it is inhouse.”
Ginzburg says partying on a yacht boils down to a bit more intimacy.
“Doing events on the yacht is a little bit different because if you have a party in a hotel or a restaurant, you’re sharing hallways and public spaces,” he says. “When you do an event on the yacht, the whole yacht’s yours. It’s very private. There’s a shared sense of adventure.”
They also may have a new look in the near future.
“We’re in the process of replacing all of our engines with brand new zero-emission engines and upgrading cosmetically our yachts,” he says. “The guys who started with me as boat cleaners are now highly skilled engineers able to do a complete repowering, installing new engines.
“As the company grows up, we stay steady. We’ve gone through various economic ups and downs. We got through COVID. It’s just continuing to do great parties and let that be our biggest advertising for sure.”
For more information about FantaSea, visit fantaseayachts.com or call (310) 827-2220. But make sure those interested book early, as the company will host five to 10 events per week yearly.