How to Choose a Yacht Charter

With a huge variety of luxury yacht available on the charter market, these tips will help you select the right one

How to Choose a Superyacht to Charter

With literally hundreds of luxury yachts available for charter, finding the right one for you may see a little daunting. Choosing a charter yacht can often be a sizeable task with such an overwhelming choice of fantastic vessels on offer.

Whether it’s your first charter or you are a seasoned professional, choosing a superyacht doesn’t have to be difficult. Think of it like you would when booking a hotel, apartment or villa rental. There are different aspects to consider such as the size, location, budget and style. Commissioning the help of an established yacht charter broker will be invaluable in finding the ideal vessel for your requirements.

To point you in the right direction here are twelve helpful steps:

1. Budget

The same as telling your real estate agent what your price range is, you should tell your charter broker the budget for your superyacht vacation. Be absolutely honest about what you want to spend and remember to a set a realistic figure. With this type of information your broker will help you understand the various additional costs such as fuel, berthing and dockage. Don’t forget the price of your flights or the cost of travel to and from the yacht. Having a set budget in mind will cut down on the number of yachts on offer to you, making your choice easier.

It’s worth remembering that the cheapest yacht may not necessarily be sufficient to your needs or alternatively the most expensive option, more superior. A larger, older boat for instance may be the same price as a newer, smaller vessel due to its age, condition and onboard facilities. In other words, you don’t have to blow your budget to find everything that you need. By weighing up your budget options before you depart, you’ll have a clear understanding of the costs involved.

2. Location

If you don’t already have a specific location in mind, an experienced yacht charter broker will be able to suggest the best destinations. What’s more, your charter broker should know more about the crew onboard each charter yacht. Make sure to lay down your destination preferences and requirements for an enjoyable charter trip. Where are you hoping to explore? What are the popular cruising destinations throughout the season? The area where you decide to charter a yacht will depend a lot on what type of experience you’re looking for and the time of year you’re planning to travel.

3. Number of guests

When it comes to the number of guests in your yacht charter party, accommodation is the key. If you have children, then you’ll want more cabins, usually with twin berths or bunk beds. Chartering a yacht with several couples? Larger yachts provide more spacious accommodation so everyone is happy onboard. The maximum number of guests allowed by law on many charter yachts is 12. When going beyond that number, maritime regulations require that the vessel is registered under the Safety of Life at Sea - SOLAS, regulations use of cruise ships. Don’t worry, there are many large superyachts which meet the SOLAS classification in order to cater for more than 12 guests.

Other important yacht requirements include cabin configuration. When reviewing potential yachts to charter, consider your layout needs. If you have children take a close look at the layout. Choose a yacht that has smaller cabins near yours or cabins with adjoining doors. Are there adequate safety rails around the stairways and swimming pools? Did you know there are also yachts that offer the capability to remove breakable objects to avoid costly accidents? Just tell your charter broker you need a kid friendly yacht and everything will be taken care of.

When it comes to a yacht charter vacation with couples, it’s nice to have some separation. Let’s put it this way, the bulkheads, walls on a yacht, are not nearly as soundproof as at home. Having onboard suites which don’t share an adjoining bulkhead means you can watch TV and enjoy intimate moments without disturbing your neighbours.

Charter guests with disabilities can also be easily accommodated. There are yachts available with elevators between decks, wide passageways for wheelchairs or walkers. Dedicated crew are fully trained to deal with guests who have special needs. You also have to think about how to get to and from your charter yacht. More often than not, your yacht will moor in a marina or at a quay. This is called Med mooring when the stern of the yacht faces the quay so you can just walk down a gangway which is solid and secure.

4. Amenities

Needless to say, different yachts will have a range of different amenities. All you have to do is work out which amenities are most important to you. Let’s begin with:

5. Food

Fine cuisine is an essential part of any yacht charter vacation. With this in mind review the qualifications and specialities of the chef carefully to make sure they match your taste preferences.

6. Exercise

If you’re one of those people who like to be able to burn off any excess calories after indulgences, choose a charter yacht with onboard exercise facilities. Pick a vessel that equals and surpasses shore-side gyms so you can stick to your regular regime throughout the voyage.

7. Watersports

Are you are a dedicated scuba diver, snorkeller or fishing enthusiast? Opt for a yacht that has a certified dive master on board including all the equipment necessary for scuba diving, snorkelling and fishing. When it comes to scuba diving, there needs to be compressors for refilling the tanks. Some yachts prefer, whether for liability or insurance purposes, to arrange rendezvous diving.

This entails a professional local dive company arranging to rendezvous with your charter yacht, bringing their own boat, staff, as well as diving equipment. This type of arrangement is very popular in the Caribbean where yachts regularly use local services. One thing’s for sure, whichever method you use, having a yacht with a crew of experienced divers will make the experience all the more enjoyable.

8. Tenders

A traditional way to reach a charter yacht which is anchored away from shore, is by a small boat called a tender. Tenders are often specially designed to protect guests from wind and spray. Many large yachts have several tenders for different purposes. These can range from water-skiing or fishing, depending on the need of guests onboard.

One of the latest versions of the traditional tender is now the helicopter. Many of today’s superyachts are built with helipads which can quite easily accommodate helicopters. OK this won’t take you to shore for a spot of lunch like a tender, however a helicopter can whisk you to and from the airport on your arrival and departure. Helicopters are also ideal to use for adventures away from the yacht.

9. Style preference

Once you’ve decided on most of the details of your yacht charter, the next step is to think about style preference. Charter yachts are just like houses, they come in all different shapes and sizes. Let’s be honest, what’s the point in spending a week onboard an ugly yacht. Pull out all the stops to choose a style you like.

10. Sailing or motor

If you’re a sailing enthusiast, then you should consider one of the sailing charter yachts. This will combine the delights of an afternoon breeze with towering sails overhead including all the luxurious amenities found on motor yachts.

Why not charter a sailing yacht so you can enter one of the many exciting regattas which take place around the world? What could be better than large yacht racing with different social activities ashore? Remember that sailing charter yachts doesn’t need you to crank winches or trim the sails. Your friendly crew will do everything for you, using modern electric winches as well as sophisticated furling systems.

11. Traditional or modern

No doubt you have probably seen classic yachts which were built in the roaring twenties. There are sleek Euro-styled yachts with stunning modern interiors and sailing yachts with impressive clouds of sail. Today, traditional yachts have been updated with state-of-the-art systems, however you still might find smaller accommodation than more modern designs.

12. It’s time for adventure

Expedition or explorer yachts are very popular choices in charter fleets. These vessels are more distinct from conventional motor yachts because they have the ability to venture into faraway places. This kind of sailing adventure requires a combination of seaworthiness and toughness. You could charter an expedition yacht to sail through the glaciers of Alaska, venture up a jungle river or explore deserted atolls in the Pacific. An expedition or explorer yacht will more than make your dream of adventure come true.

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