Have you ever wondered what it’s like to live the yacht life? Well, you and everyone else has at one point or another. But why not quit the daydreaming and actually try it? While you may have thought yacht living to be something only the ultra-wealthy can afford, trust us, there are many charter experiences on offer that costs less than a week on a cruise. You don’t need to own a huge luxury boat to experience living inside one. And your yachting vacation needn’t entail servings of foie gras at thousand dollar per diems unless you wanted it to. Because, ultimately, what matters is the journey, the destination, and the experience. And, thankfully, charting companies exist to make all of that available to the inveterate traveler.
So, for this article, we’ll give you a rundown on how to charter a yacht and luxuriate in the middle of the sea without having to drop millions of dollars on a 5-ton sea-dwelling hunk of metal.
Why a Yacht?
Why not a yacht? It is truly among the most opulent experiences one can have, after all. It is like a 5-star resort experience that follows you as you move from one exotic place to the other to gratify your every whim. You can eat al fresco in the on-deck hot tub with the Seychelles Islands’ towering granite rocks as your backdrop, you can float away to the beaches of Anegada and take selfies with the pink flamingoes, or you can go beach hopping along the white sands of the Caribbean. You can do all that and more, without having to trudge along a buffet line like you typically would on a cruise. With a yacht vacation, you can map out your own itinerary and sail to your destination of choice. You can even change your plans en route! With a yacht vacation, the possibilities are nearly endless. Indeed, one doesn’t know a real vacation until one has tried a yacht vacation.
How Much Does it Cost?
This will depend on a slew of things, one of which is the charter you’ll be choosing, and the broker—or yacht charter specialist—who’ll be helping you make a choice. Naturally, your charter of choice will depend on other things, too, like where you intend to go and the type of adventure you want.
Among all the factors that determine the cost of your charter, the single most consequential one will be the yacht itself—its size, its design, and the type of amenities onboard. It goes without saying that a bigger boat will require a bigger crew, which will in turn command a steeper price. So ask yourself: are you bringing the family on this adventure, or will you be going out with your squad? Do you intend to throw a party? What kind of food do you want—or what kind of chef do you prefer onboard? Will you be needing the services of a concierge? These are a few of the questions one should be asking before deciding on a charter, because not all yachts are made equal, and some will provide the services you want better than others.
The Destination, Duration, and Time of Year
Believe me when I say that deciding on a destination will be one of the most difficult things when chartering a yacht. The fact is that there is an abundance of destinations to choose from, so it will definitely take a while to decide. Do you want to go snorkeling in the Bahamas or explore the islands of Fiji? There are more than a few options available, and every single one of them will be amazing. You can, and should, narrow down your options by picking a destination on the basis of your budget. Just remember that the rates can be significantly higher during peak season. And, naturally, the farther your destination is, the more expensive it will be; if you book a charter in the US, then you can expect a trip to, say, the Mediterranean to cost more than a trip to the Caribbean, just on the basis of both these places’ relative distance to the US.
How long do you want your yacht vacation to be? A typical yacht vacation lasts just about a week—indeed, most charter companies require a charterer to book a minimum of 5 days. But, of course, it’s up to you how long you want your vacation to be. It’s not unusual for guests to book a yacht for more than a week. And it goes without saying that the longer your yacht vacation is, the steeper the cost will be.
When do you want your yachting vacation to begin? Because a good part of the cost will depend on the time of year, too. Mediterranean charters, for instance, will be more expensive during summertime, because this is when demand is at its peak. Tours to the Caribbean, on the other hand, are highest during winter when people book charters in huge numbers to escape the wintry temperatures. Typically, one can expect chartering prices to be lower during “shoulder months,” which are the months that fall between the high and low season.
Your Charter Broker
Once you’ve got all the above figured out, and have a general idea of what you want your yacht vacation to be, a reputable charter broker can help you plan out an itinerary and set you up with a yacht that is tailor-fit to your specific needs. You can find a charter broker who adheres to the relevant international guidelines on the MYBA website. These professionals are well-versed in the chartering industry and can advise and protect you during each step of the process.
You can also look through different app and web-based chartering platforms like Ahoy Club and Yotha to book a yacht. These platforms are like the Airbnb of the chartering world in that they remove the headaches out of chartering by connecting the charterers directly with the yacht owners.
We know chartering seems confusing and intimidating at first, but don’t fret, because, as you can see above, all you really need to do is determine the kind of yacht vacation you want, while leaving the other minutiae for your broker to attend. Overall: while the cost of chartering a yacht will vary depending on the type of vacation you want, there are definitely chartering options that cost just as much as your other, more conventional, vacations. The difference is that a yacht vacation offers more—indeed, so much more—than the typical vacation.
So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead, charter a yacht, and create a spectacular experience that you and your family will never forget.