Your first yacht charter is a really exciting experience. Firstly, we would like to welcome you to this fantastic lifestyle, it really is like no other. Charter yachts boast facilities that rival the most exclusive resorts, with a dedicated crew pampering you and your guests at all hours. With complete mobility and flexibility, you can take in more of your preferred region than on any other vacation, and of course you can do so in total security, comfort and privacy. What could be better?
However, we understand that planning your first yacht charter can be daunting. You’re bound to have important questions which ensure you get the most from your yacht charter, and it’s important that you receive honest, timely and detailed advice. Great news – 212 Yachts are here to help.
Here, Jenny Caird, CEO and Founder of luxury yacht charter brokerage 212 Yachts, answers some common questions from first time yacht charter guests. Continue reading, or contact us right away to organise a phone call or meeting to discuss all of your questions, requirements and start planning the vacation of a lifetime!
I am considering my first yacht charter, but I have some great other options for my vacation! Why should I charter a yacht?
A yacht charter is the most luxurious way to vacation, and can be as refined or as laid back as you desire. Flexibility and bespoke experiences are central to yacht charter – really anything is possible. A yacht charter is essentially a floating luxury resort, however you need only share your space (and time) with friends and family, and the highly trained service staff who cater only to your specific needs. And of course, your location can change every day. No other vacation allows you to go to sleep in one location and wake up in another every day of the week, without compromising on comfort, privacy and security.
In my experience with first time yacht charter guests, after disembarking at the end of their charter, they wonder why they haven’t done this sooner. There is no better way to fully immerse yourself in a coastal region and optimise your time than on a luxury yacht charter. You don’t need to have any prior yachting experience, as our team are highly experienced in assisting both first time charterers and more seasoned guests through the process of selecting the perfect yacht, the perfect location and itinerary, and organising all preferences to ensure your time spent on-board is exactly as envisioned. While on-board, your professional crew are dedicated to ensuring you have an enjoyable and safe charter, with the hope that you will become a yacht charter guest for life.
When and Where Should I Do My First Yacht Charter?
In order to answer this appropriately, I would first ask you a range of questions designed to gain an understanding of all of those coming on-board during your first yacht charter. Understanding your guests’ personalities, their age range, their interests, their relationship with each other and how they like to spend their time allows my team to offer truly tailored advice – after all, every yacht charter is different, just like those on-board. It is also useful to know where you and your guests will be travelling from, to ensure your yacht charter destination is easy to access for you. Your availability will determine where in the world is most suited, for example Caribbean Yacht Charter is most popular over the Christmas holidays and into the New Year, while Mediterranean yacht charter is best enjoyed June through September. From there, I use the details you have provided and any preferences you have to suggest specific cruising grounds.
Popular yacht charter locations include;
Exuma Yacht Charter (the Bahamas)
There is no ‘best time’ to enjoy your first yacht charter, as you can adjust your charter location to suit your availability. For a Mediterranean yacht charter, July and August are the busiest months and have the highest charter rates (costs). If you are available in June or September, you can benefit from lower charter rates and less crowds. For charters in the Caribbean, November through March are the best months to charter, with Christmas and New Year’s being the most in demand periods. There are of course lots of other more exotic places to charter around the world, so whenever you are available there will be an exciting location to explore!
We always advise booking as early as possible, to ensure the best yachts are available when you are. If booking for peak periods, start planning between 6 and 9 months before your preferred charter date. If you have left it later, do not worry. Our team are experts are securing last minute deals, and will ensure you can still enjoy an incredible yacht charter!
How much does a yacht charter cost?
Yacht are normally priced and advertised on a weekly rate. This rate is a base fee which includes the use of the yacht, its facilities and its crew. This does not include all other expenses such as fuel, food, drinks, berth costs etc. On top of the base fee that you see advertised, there will be VAT to pay, and the amount of VAT due depends on your preferred charter location.
The cost of fuel, food, drinks and other expenses is taken from the ‘APA’. Yacht Charter APA stands for Advanced Provisioning Allowance and is paid in advance of the charter. It is essentially a bank of credit for your crew to make purchases on your behalf to ensure that all of your requests are fulfilled during the charter. After signing the yacht charter contract, your charter broker will send you a Preference Sheet, on which you are invited to list the provisions you would like to be on-board during your stay, in addition to any other requests / points of note you may have (events you are planning, preferred style and time of meals, medical requirements, special diets etc). It also provides the crew with a real sense of your tastes, allowing them to prepare and deliver a highly personalised level of service. The crew will then use the APA to go shopping in order to purchase your provisions and anything else that you would want. The captain on the yacht, as per the charter contract, is legally obliged to keep a full account of all the money that is spent before and during the charter, which is to be presented to the principal charterer. If at the end of your charter there is some APA remaining, this can either be refunded in cash, or sometimes larger amounts will be returned by bank transfer. Finally, it is common to leave a gratuity of approximately 10% of the charter fee for a well-performing crew.
Charter prices are decided by yacht owners, and the charter fee advertised should be the same for all reputable brokers. Occasionally you may see two yachts that seem very similar in terms of size, age, and features, but their price is quite different. This can come down to a few things; it could be that one yacht owner plans to maximise his profit margin, and the other yacht owner is just very keen to get his yacht booked and so places a more attractive price. Other things that can come into play are if the yacht has been refit (renovated) recently, you might see that cost reflected in the price. Our brokers will advise the key selling points of particular yachts, and explain any such price difference between options.
Can I Negotiate on the Price of a Yacht Charter?
212 Yachts are committed to ensuring our clients receive the best charter rates and have access to any deals on the market – we are often thanked by clients for this, as many brokerage houses refuse to consider negotiations. While yacht owners are often rigid on price as in reality there are more clients than there are charter yachts on the market, some owners will consider cheaper rates for longer charters (for example over one week) and during off-peak dates. Even during the high season, small discounts can be negotiated if the yacht has a gap in its calendar or if the owner is particularly keen to secure bookings. Typically, owners offer a reduced rate as standard during the low season ranging from 5% to 25% off of the charter fee, and do occasionally run promotions, such as additional time free of charge or reduced rates.
When you have selected your yacht, our team will manage any negotiations, and will ensure if there is any room on price, you will benefit.
With so many yachts on the market, how do I choose the best yacht?
When looking for a charter yacht, being open with your broker is key. Don’t worry about hurting our feelings by saying you don’t like the yachts we have proposed, and don’t forget that we have access to ALL YACHTS ON THE MARKET, meaning you don’t have to contact another broker to see new options, you just need to let us know. Both positive and negative feedback help us understand exactly what you are looking for, so that we can propose the perfect yacht for your first yacht charter.
Things to consider at first include your available dates and preferred location(s), in addition to the number of guests that will be on-board and your budget. We can then narrow down exact features you consider ‘must-haves’ and ‘nice-to-haves’, and look at various interior and exterior design choices. As noted, the more feedback you give, good and bad, the better we can assist and ensure you eventually enjoy your first yacht charter on the most suited charter yacht on the market.
What is the role of the crew?
Choosing the right yacht is as much about the crew as it is about the vessel itself. The crew can make or break your first first yacht charter! If you have young kids for example, then we know how important it is that the crew are playful and be able to entertain them and to provide them with fun activities such as watersports. Service is also hugely important, and the role of your service team is to look after your every need. If you warm to them and they get you, which the really good ones will, they should always be a step or two ahead of you, and that’s what really makes the experience luxurious. Equally, the chef on-board is an important factor. A menu will be crafted just for your charter, so having a chef capable of preparing your preferred cuisine to an extremely high standard is important.
Fortunately, yacht crew are trained to a very high standard often with strong experience is luxury resorts, private households and Michelin star restaurants. When selecting your yacht and location, our team will also consider which yachts have teams that we are confident will deliver the experience you are interested in, so that you are in the very best hands.
How do I book and pay for a yacht charter?
Once you’re happy with the yacht that you wish to proceed with, be quick to tell your yacht broker because the reality is there will be other people looking at these yachts for the same dates as you, and to avoid disappointment, I really encourage moving quickly! Let your broker know that you’re ready to book and they’ll ask you for some personal details such as your name, home address and proof of identity. With this information, they’ll proceed to draw up the charter contract and send it to you to be signed. Contracts are industry standard, typically MYBA on the Mediterranean and AYCA in the Bahamas, to ensure you are protected. Only once the contract has been signed by all of the parties, is it confirmed, and the next step is to pay as per the payment instructions stated on the contract. It is important to note that all fees must be paid in advance, with the final instalment due no later than one month before the charter start date.
What if I need to change my dates or cancel my yacht charter once the contract has been signed?
As per the clauses in the contract, you can’t really change your dates or cancel your yacht charter without unfortunately suffering some financial loss. However, that said, if you think that for some reason you might need to change your dates or cancel your charter, then make sure it’s brought up in advance of the booking. For example, with enough advance notice for a change of dates, and assuming the yacht is available on other dates, your broker and the owner could revert and change the dates to accommodate you.
What is a yacht charter broker and how do I know which broker to choose?
Charter Brokers are people who are highly experienced in yachting, passionate about the industry, and who have booked hundreds of different yachts throughout their careers. They regularly attend industry events including yacht shows, private visits and brokerage events to ensure familiarity with new and old yachts on the market, any alterations to vessels, and any changes to charter crews. Ultimately, they are your go-to for all information yacht charter related, and are in the best position to advise on and deliver the very best experience possible from a yacht charter. Importantly, most yacht charter brokers, such as 212 Yachts, are not associated with yacht owners, ensuring we ony represent your needs, and offer truly honest and unbiased advice.
Our goal is for your first yacht charter to be an incredible experience, so that you become a client for life. It’s that simple! To find the best yacht charter brokers, consider looking at online reviews, requesting references, and simply talking to and meeting them.
To discuss your first yacht charter, or your next yacht charter if you are more seasoned, then contact 212 Yachts today.