When Capt. Shawn Somers and Mike Shirley first met, they were both working on the crew of the Anderson Ferry. That meeting turned out to be pure destiny ... as in Destiny Yacht Charters, the luxury yacht the duo now co-owns and manages.

Somers, a veteran riverboat captain, and Shirley, whose background includes quality control for National Distillers and Givaudan, both have decades of boating experience between them. Starting as a captain for the Anderson Ferry and moving on to the Kentucky party yacht, the Victory, Somers also served as a first mate on private yachts in the Caribbean (with notable guests such as Tiger Woods). A crew member of the Victory himself, Shirley also served aboard the Lady Dean II — the vessel that is now the Destiny.

A sleek 110-foot motor yacht, approved by the U.S. Coast Guard to carry 149 passengers, the Destiny is the largest yacht-style vessel in Cincinnati. There are three deck levels available for guests to enjoy the scenic river views. Two levels are enclosed and climate-controlled. There’s also a sundeck. The Destiny is docked at Riverview Landing marina, located five miles west of downtown on Route 50.

Available for corporate and private entertaining events, the private yacht regularly holds events for 10 to 149 guests. Corporate activities include off-site meetings, team building and client/employee appreciation. Some of Destiny’s corporate clients are Procter & Gamble, General Electric, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and Toyota. “We have a great client repeat business, and we love to build those relationships,” Somers says.

Another facet of business for Somers and Shirley is helping charity organizations with fundraisers; they work with Youth, Incorporated (a residential program for at-risk children), the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, I Have Wings (a breast cancer foundation that supports Tristate women battling the disease) and UCAN (an animal spaying program).

Private events range from rehearsal dinners and proms to birthdays, anniversaries and actual weddings.

The yacht has participated in some of the most notable events on the river over the years. In Cincinnati, it takes part in the WEBN fireworks and Tall Stacks. In Louisville, the Destiny travels down the river for the city’s fireworks kick-off of the Kentucky Derby called “Thunder on the River.” Somers and Shirley also hold four public cruises each year: the Reds Opening Day cruise, a Father’s Day cruise, the Reds July 3 fireworks cruise and a fall Oktoberfest cruise. (Check www. destinyyachtcharters.com for activities information.)

It’s not just about a scenic river cruise; the crew of the Destiny takes pride in their customer service and personalized touches. Cruise Coordinator Nancy Perry and Cruise Stylist Michele Shirley do what they can to make each cruise special for the client.

“If it’s not illegal and won’t hurt the boat, we’ll do it for you,” Somers says of his crew.

A variety of packages exist, such as murder mystery evenings, and the Destiny’s packages are all-inclusive, meaning no additional fees will be added once a party is booked. The corporate and private cruises are three hours and weddings are three-and-a-half hours.

“We want people to come back,” Shirley says.