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Posted on 08/ 08/ 2022
Curated by BOAT International
Make sure you book early
Charter bookings are at an all-time high, having more than doubled since before the pandemic. Yachts are therefore limited, so book as early as possible – up to a year ahead if you can – to avoid disappointment, especially in popular cruising destinations. If you can’t plan earlier, chose dates during the off-seasons or be fully flexible so brokers can offer you unexpected, last-minute gaps in the calendar.
Think about your destination
Do you want to follow the superyacht crowd or head away from the “milk-run”? Most superyachts can be found cruising the Mediterranean in summer and island hopping in the Caribbean in winter, though many are capable of venturing further. Where you decide to go will also impact the number of days required for a good itinerary, with potentially more time needed to reach a certain arrival/departure point. It’s also important to know if a destination has a rainy season, as this will determine when it's safest to cruise.
Bigger isn’t always better
There’s much more to consider than just the number of cabins or overall length when selecting the perfect charter yacht. If you’re interested in regatta racing, you might prefer cruising on a classic sailing yacht, or if you want to explore a far-flung destination, a steel-hulled explorer with a helipad might be the best companion. Design style, amenities, eco-credentials, crew numbers, child-friendliness and water toy options are all vital elements to check with your broker before booking.
Fill out your preference sheet
The more information a yacht crew has about guests’ desires, the more likely it is that the charter experience will live up to expectations. Even before you step on board, brokers will provide a preference sheet – if guests fill this out in good time, the crew can account for any dietary requirements or arrange necessities for younger guests or pets. It also means that crew can be duly prepared with food, décor or entertainment for celebrating special occasions.
Take your shoes off
High heels and dark-soled shoes can damage teak decks, so most yachts ask guests to take off their shoes or only wear soft-soled “boat shoes” on board. Beyond that, dress codes are entirely up to personal preference although guests often dress up for dinner on board. Of course, if you’re on a cold-cruising expedition, it’s more important to bring weather-appropriate attire (although expedition charter yachts often have stores of waterproofs just in case). When it comes to packing, try to bring lighter loads and soft suitcases as storage space is often limited.
There’s more to pay than the charter rate
Rates advertised on a broker's website are never the same as the final bill. Most charter contracts will include an Advance Provisioning Allowance (APA), covering additional costs such as fuel, food and drink, dockage fees, insurance and tax. The APA is often about 30 to 35 per cent of the charter fee. Guests should also be prepared to tip the entire crew– standard practice is to offer a sum of between five and 20 per cent of the base charter rate at the end of your time on board.
The Adventure Area returns to the Monaco Yacht Show: a gateway to unprecedented yachting experiences.