Written by Missy Johnston
“There is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. …Nothing seems really to matter, that’s the charm of it . . . Here today, up and off to somewhere else tomorrow!”
A little bit of advice and a good dose of wanderlust is all you need to enjoy a private, customized charter on the seven seas. If you’ve always wanted to explore international waters from the comfort of your very own boat, we’re here to help. Follow our yacht charter tips and discover why a luxury yacht charter can be surprisingly accessible!
Private yacht rentals are always done on a whole-boat basis. Your group takes the entire boat, even if it’s a romantic cruise for two. Whether you plan to travel with family or friends, it is a one-of-a-kind experience.
Come Sail Away: How to Choose Your Yacht Charter Destination
Beautiful sunset scene on the island of Virgin Gorda in BVI
The first big question: Where do you want to go? There are many gorgeous spots waiting to be discovered; cays surrounded by crystal clear water filled with colorful tropical fish, exotic foods, and epic adventures.
The Caribbean is a natural draw for travelers young and old. Incredible scuba diving sites, sun-soaked beaches, sweet queen conch, and spiny lobster await you. Explore St. Lucia, the US Virgin or British Virgin Islands, St. Barts and Anguilla, or the Grenadines and the Tobago Cays, or any one of hundreds of islands off of the beaten path.
Step into paradise with a private charter in the South Pacific. The people of French Polynesia will greet you with outstretched arms. Pristine ocean waters offer some of the best sailing in the world. Visitors are invited to relax in aquamarine lagoons beneath craggy volcanic peaks. Then it is time to swim and snorkel through beautiful coral gardens filled with neon-lipped giant clams.
The Mediterranean, the Far East, Down Under, and the Americas; all is waiting for you. Still don’t know where to go? Our insider tips may be just what you need to help make up your mind.
Moorea, South Pacific
Now that you know where you are headed, it’s time to break out the calendar. 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. For instance, if you want to charter in Italy, the season is May through September. Generally during that time period, it is low season pricing in May, June and September, while high season pricing is in July and August. Yacht charter is not available in Italy when it is not the season.
Popular charter destinations will have a variety of charter yachts to choose from, including motor yachts, super yachts, catamarans, and sailing yachts. More remote locations might have far fewer charter yachts to choose from. The type of yacht you are looking for may not be available in a more remote location for that particular season. However, we can always let you know where the type of yacht you are looking for is available. We have access to every yacht available for charter in every worldwide yacht charter location, and have full information on every yacht available for worldwide yacht charter.
High and low season pricing is not necessarily priced based on the best versus less desirable time to be in the location of your choice. Often high or low season might be due to demand. For example, July and August have high season pricing in the Mediterranean due to demand, while June and September are low season pricing. However, June and September are both excellent months to charter in the Mediterranean and have the same nice weather in June and September as 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.
The Right Luxury Yacht Rental for You
We have found that identifying the right crew is even more important than locating the right boat.
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.
Of course, when it comes to yachts, there are 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.
Luxury Sailing Yacht for Yacht Charter
Generally speaking, motor yachts cost more to operate and more to build than sailing yachts, as they have more expensive and larger engines than sailing yachts. This is the primary factor for the large price difference between the two types of boats. Motor yachts also have much more interior space. However, only sailing yachts and sailing catamarans add the sport of sailing to any charter.
When reviewing charter yacht listings, the important information for each is the number of staterooms and the number of bathrooms. Yachts are usually chartered with each stateroom based on double occupancy, meaning if the yacht has 3 staterooms, then the yacht is available to charter for 6 guests.
Signing on the Dotted Line: Yacht Charter Contracts
A qualified charter broker will do everything possible to ensure your trip is trouble-free, which begins with your contract. The gold standard is 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 a 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 maintain proven professional excellence in the yachting industry to stay a member.
Your contract may detail an all-inclusive yacht charter or one in which additional expenses will be tallied separately. A “plus-expenses” yacht charter is one in which the base charter price provided covers only the cost of the yacht and the crew. Fuel, food/drinks, dockage, VAT, customs fees, sales tax, and other expenses—depending on the charter area—can account for approximately 20-35 percent or more of the base charter price provided, depending on what is requested by the charterer and whether the charter is taking place on a sailing yacht or a motor yacht. Expenses are charged at cost with no markup.
Family & Friends on Luxury yacht Charter
An expense deposit or what is known as an Advance Provisioning Allowance or APA is charged to be paid with the final charter payment in advance of the charter from which expenses are deducted. The APA is then settled at the end of the charter against full receipts. General etiquette also includes tipping the crew at a percentage range of the charter price that is provided by the charter broker for your cruising location.
Once you know what is included and what is not, it’s time to pack. Here is what a typical day looks like on board a luxury yacht charter.
Private Yacht Charter Amenities
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.
It’s Time to Set Sail!
Plans have now been put into place for your dream voyage. Reach out to us for additional questions, including travel to and from the yacht and your charter location. We can offer excellent guidance on the best routes and methods for reaching your departure destination.
With one of the yachts and crews that we love, a gorgeous setting, and all of the comforts and amenities that chartering a private luxury charter yacht provides, you are ready for the experience of a lifetime. Bon voyage!