The ultimate in privacy, freedom and luxury, a yacht charter is an amazing experience. Here are a few tips to make sure it’s the best trip yet.
There are few vacations that can compare with a luxury yacht charter. Whether it’s a romantic getaway, a family adventure or a couple’s break with your best friends, a yacht charter will make it a vacation for the record books. But check out these insider tips to make it your best trip ever.
BOOK AHEAD FOR BIG EVENTS
Holidays and special events are in high demand and often booked a season in advance. Your answers to where and when you want to go on your charter need not be ironclad unless you have a specific event in mind, such as Monaco for the Grand Prix or St. Barts for New Year’s Eve, both best enjoyed by yacht. If one of these stellar events is on your travel bucket list, make sure you let your charter broker know in advance. They can assure you get the right yacht to match your dream trip.
BE OPEN TO NEW IDEAS
While you can go nearly anywhere on your travel wish list with a luxury yacht charter, it’s good to have an open mind as your broker will suggest alternatives you might have overlooked. Sure, the Med and Caribbean will always be popular – and for good reason. But you might enjoy other areas you never considered, such as New England or the Pacific Northwest, which can be beautiful in October, or even as far afield as New Zealand and Patagonia, where November through January are the best times to go.
WHO IS IN YOUR ENTOURAGE?
In order to have the best charter ever, think ahead about how many guests you plan to have and what kind of trip this is – family, friends, a mixture? Or a romantic getaway for two? Whatever the type of vacation desired, there’s a yacht out there for you, but knowing who you’ll be traveling with in advance can help make finding the right yacht easier. On most yachts, the maximum number of charter guests allowed by law is 12. If you have a larger party, your agent will find you a yacht that is registered to handle more than 12 guests, i.e., SOLAS classed. Also discuss the number of separate cabins and beds required.
Some yachts have planned space for supernumeraries not counted as guests such as a nanny, a nurse, security guard, trainer or a personal assistant.
THINK AHEAD ABOUT YOUR TOY WISH LIST
The toys available on yachts today run the gamut. Think snorkel equipment as minimum and up to a submarine, with everything in between including jet skis, windsurfers, sailing dinghies, waverunners, SeaDoos and water slides. It’s probably not surprising that the larger the yacht, the larger the toy selection – and the bigger boats even count helicopters and cars among their “toy collection.” For the avid scuba divers, many yachts have their own facilities, or will offer rendezvous diving. A charter yacht is the ideal platform for divers – and to learn diving as well – as you take your luxury accommodation with you as you sail to the most amazing dive locales in the world, many that are sublimely free of tourists. For those who prefer to catch fish than swim with them, find a charter yacht with fishing capabilities – like a fighting chair in the cockpit – or that tow their own sportfishing boats, so you can chase the big game and retire to your superyacht afterwards in style.
HEED YOUR BROKER AND CAPTAIN'S ADVICE
The number of ports you can visit will be determined by the speed of the yacht, weather conditions and availability in a particular marina or harbor. Entering certain ports also may be restricted by the size of the yacht or its flag. Some harbors require pilots; some anchorage require permits. Both need to be arranged in advance. Your broker can advise you, bearing in mind that they and the crew can arrange most things, except the weather!
"To have the best charter, take your captain's advice on transit times"
Want to have the best charter? Take the captain's advice regarding distances and transit times, prevailing winds and local attractions. It is all too easy for the inexperienced charterer to turn what should be a relaxing cruise into an exhausting race to complete an overcrowded itinerary.
HOW CONNECTED DO YOU WANT TO BE?
Will you need Internet access and satellite communications while on board? Do you or your children have entertainment preferences, such as a PlayStation or Nintendo Wii? Many yachts have extensive video and music libraries, but favorites can be stocked if requested in advance. If the yacht is iPhone compatible, bring your own tunes along.