Written by Missy Johnston
Yacht Charter Lifestyle
Everything you need to know before setting off on your new adventure
Q: How many people can travel on the same private yacht charter?
A: Yacht charters are booked on a whole-boat basis. This means whether your group consists of 2 people or 12, the fee paid will be for the yacht charter itself and is not determined by the number of occupied staterooms. Private yacht charter peaks at 12 guests per yacht because a charter is considered a “private yacht charter” according to the International Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) rules and regulations which state it carries 12 or fewer people. Cruise ships and other multi-cabin ships carry more than 12 guests, and operate under a different set of regulations.
Q: Are private yacht charters OK for kids and senior citizens?
A: Absolutely. Many of our bookings are made by families excited to sail the world and make exquisite memories together. From babies to seniors, everyone can find something they love.
Q: How does overall pricing work for a private yacht charter?
A: Generally speaking, private yacht charter contracts can be broken down into two main categories:
All-inclusive—This pricing includes the yacht, crew, food, and beverages. Often there are other services and items included in the pricing as well. All inclusions and exclusions in the pricing should be clearly delineated by the charter broker.
Plus all expenses—With this pricing structure, the charter price is for the yacht and crew only, and your trip is customized by adding whatever you would like for food, beverage, bar, and the itinerary. You are only charged for what you want, and your expenses are at the receipt price. The base charter price which includes the yacht and crew includes the services of a chef, so food is charged at the grocery-store-receipt price. The services of the crew also include preparing the yacht before the charter.
An expense deposit (what is known as an Advance Provisioning Allowance, or APA) is paid to fund all additional expenses beyond the yacht and crew. This usually costs approximately 20-30 percent of the base charter cost. The APA is then settled at the end of the charter against full receipts. General etiquette also includes tipping the crew, depending on the quality of service, using the typical range used for your cruising location. Your broker can help you calculate this amount.
Q: How does seasonal pricing work for a private yacht charter?
A: High- and low-season pricing is not necessarily priced based on the most or less desirable time to be in the location of your choice. Often high or low season might be based on demand. For example, July and August have high-season pricing in the Mediterranean due to demand, while June and September are typically less expensive. However, June and September are actually both excellent months to charter in the Mediterranean; you will experience the same nice weather in June and September that you would experience in July and August. Ask your yacht charter broker what might determine high and low season pricing in your charter location of choice, as perhaps you could enjoy low-season pricing and have a great charter with all of the high-season advantages of that charter location.
Q: How far in advance should I book?
A: For some of the most popular spots, yacht charters will book up months in advance. Each region has a season, and within that season both high- and low-season pricing are normally available. It is important to consider timing for your chosen location; yachts move and cruise around the world, and usually are available in a location during the season for that charter destination.
Q: Where should I travel?
A: Private charter hotspots can be found all over the globe.
- The Caribbean is a natural draw for travelers young and old.
- See the expansive vistas and exotic wildlife Down Under.
Q: What type of yacht should I select?
A: There are both motor yachts and sailing yachts. These can be catamarans, monohulls, classic yachts, or explorer yachts. Further, these can be mega or super yachts. Mega or super yachts can have amenities such as swimming pools, helipads, elevators, and fully-equipped gyms or spas.
Generally speaking, motor yachts cost more to build and operate and therefore more to charter than sailing yachts, as their engines are larger and more expensive and they also have more space to accommodate various types of amenities (such as an on-board gym). Obviously, if you want an additional sport + adventure factor, sailing is the way to go.
When reviewing charter yacht listings, one important consideration is the number of staterooms and bathrooms (“heads”). Yachts are usually chartered with each stateroom based on double occupancy, meaning if the yacht has 3 staterooms, the yacht is available to charter for 6 guests.
Q: How do I find a good private yacht charter broker?
A: A qualified charter broker will do everything possible to ensure your trip is trouble-free, which begins with your contract. The gold standards are the MYBA (Mediterranean Yacht Broker Association) contract or the AYCA (American Yacht Charter Association) contract. It is best to work with a charter broker who is an MYBA and/or AYCA member. A charter broker who is a member of one or both associations must have established professional excellence for a certain number of years to become a member, and must maintain proven professional excellence in the yachting industry to stay a member.
Q: What are private yacht charter crews responsible for on my trip?
A: Your crew handles maintenance, on-board service, on-board cuisine, and cocktail mixing. Not only that, they know the cruising area intimately. This includes all the great little anchorages, excellent restaurants ashore, where to go hiking, the best local guides, what to see ashore, and who to call when you need a taxi. They organize anything you need, help with all of your water fun, and are there spending time with you on board. They know which fruit is ripe, where to find fresh fish and shellfish, the best wines and cheeses, where to do the best kitesurfing, and the most scenic swimming spots. Bottom line: A great crew equals an extraordinary charter.
Q: Which amenities can I expect on board?
A: Electronics are always important. Most yachts do have a sound system for music, and a system to watch movies on board, plus a selection of CDs and DVDs.
Water toys are always fun to have and most yachts have a nice selection of water toys, including at least: snorkeling equipment, a tender for shoreside access, and tow toys to use with the tender. The yacht brochure will list the additional water toys that a yacht in which you have an interest might have on board, which might include sea kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, wakeboards, beach picnic setups, and scuba diving gear (if the yacht offers on-board scuba diving). Motor yachts, which have more room on board to store water toys, might have water slides from the top deck to the water, jet skis for licensed users, jet pack toys, and other equipment.