Below you will find a list of frequently asked questions regarding the process of chartering a luxury crewed yacht.
The Charter Process
When a yacht owner decides to put their yacht for rent on the charter market, it becomes open for chartering through a licensed yacht charter broker who handles the process of booking the yacht for the client. Your trusted charter broker will walk you through everything, making it a fun process.
What is a crewed charter yacht?
A crewed charter yacht is a yacht for charter which is staffed by a crew that handles the maintenance of the yacht as well as caters to the guests’ needs when onboard. The size of the crew aboard depends on the size of the yacht. A private yacht charter is when a client chooses to charter the yacht with their own private group of friends, family or guests. The crew is there to solely pamper the clients and devote the entire experience to the guests’ happiness. The details of the charter are specific to the needs and desires of the charter group.
What is a bareboat charter?
A bareboat charter is a yacht charter of a yacht without a skipper or crew accompanying it. One of the guests will need to hold the appropriate license/diploma to navigate and handle the yacht and all onboard duties are performed by the passengers aboard. Some bareboats allow the hiring of a skipper or hostess/cook. The type of contract used in booking a bareboat charter differs from that of a crewed yacht charter. Typically, bareboat charters run Saturday to Saturday, embarking at 17:00 and disembarking at 09:00 with a return to homeport required the night prior to disembarkation.
Why charter a private yacht?
A private yacht charter allows you to go where you want, with whom you want and when you want while being pampered by your own private yacht crew. The crew prepares meals to your criteria and taste, the food and drinks are served by your own stewards, just when you want and how you want. The access to sea toys aboard allow usage from day to night as you like. The yacht is both your mode of transportation while cruising among the wonderous islands and coastal towns as well as your floating villa/hotel. Flexibility is a key benefit to a yacht charter as guests have the option to set sail or drop anchor where and when they like, creating an itinerary totally custom to the pace of the guests’ whims. Privacy s another important factor as the company aboard is selected by you as well as how much you mingle with life off the yacht. From staying in private bays and avoiding crowds to joining the local culture and life around is all at the discretion of the guests.
How to Choose a Charter Yacht?
It is best to find a good experienced yacht broker who has been in the business for years and knows the inventory of charter yachts, who keeps updated information on the up-keep of the yacht and of the crew servicing the yacht. They need to be hands-on and involved in offering the best selections for each inquiry. They will need to define a few major questions to help the charter selection process with suggesting appropriate yachts. Here are a few basic questions to be prepared to answer as a client:
- Determine the area you wish to charter.
- What type of yacht are you interested in chartering (Motor; Motor Sailer; Sailing or Catamaran)?
- How many guests will be aboard (adults/children)?
- Are there specific dates or is that flexible?
- Is there a known budget for the trip including all expenses?
- Any information on what the client desires will be also taken into account. Such as sea lovers, sports enthusiasts, archeological site interest, nightlife interest, or quiet peaceful coves and beaches.
Once the decision on the Yacht is made with specific dates, a contract will be issued. The next steps are all about the fun of planning the charter details.
How much does it cost to charter a yacht in the Mediterranean?
Yachts will vary in cost as per the style, type, make, size and age/up- keep. Usually Motor yachts, which offer the best in luxury, will cost more than a motor sailer or sailing yacht/catamaran, although there are some lovely superyacht sailing yachts for charter such as the magnificent Maltese Falcon launched by Perini shipyard.
Charter yacht daily rates start from about Euros 600 a day for a 50-foot sailing yacht or a speed boat with a skipper to Euros 100,000 daily for some of the largest and most expensive motor yachts for charter. On top of the charter hire fee is then the VAT, added to that rate as per the cruising area for the charter. Running expenses such as fuel, food, drinks and other onboard expenses will come from a lodged account of funds called the APA. A crew tip is standard but not mandatory and can run around 5-15% of the charter cost. Charter yachts can be found at all budgets.
What is APA?
An Advanced Provisioning Allowance (APA) is a mandatory fee to be paid by the charterer in addition to the yacht charter fee. This allowance is typically calculated as 20% to 30% of the yacht charter fee and is typically paid in the balance payment, one month prior to your yacht charter. The APA is effectively a bank account to enable the Captain to purchase yacht fuel, food & beverage provisions for the charterers and cover any excess expenses incurred by the charterers for the charter. The “extras” that are included in such expenses are fuel for the yacht’s main engines and generators, gasoline for the tenders and sea toys, private port fees, charterer food & beverages and communications. The captain keeps a daily log of these running expenses, available to the charterer at any time. At the end of the charter the captain produces a full account of the total expenditures. The account is settled prior to disembarkation, meaning the charterer will either be refunded money not used or asked to pay any additional costs not covered by the APA.
What do I need to secure a yacht?
In order to secure a yacht for charter, in addition to asking the broker to reserve the yacht for your dates, a fully signed charter agreement must be completed by all involved parties (typically, main charterer, broker, stakeholder if applicable and the yacht owner).
What is a Charter Agreement?
A Charter Agreement is a legally binding document between the yacht owner and the charterer that defines the terms of the yacht charter vacation. It will hold all vital information pertaining to your specific yacht charter (dates, yacht, cost, cruising area and embarkation/disembarkation ports) as well as binding signatures of the parties involved, namely charterer, yacht owner, yacht broker. Payment terms and dates are also defined here.
What is MYBA?
MYBA is the Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association, an internationally renowned professional organization within the Superyacht Industry. MYBA maintains and promotes the highest ethical and technical standards, ensuring uniform Rules of Conduct within the industry. MYBA Charter Agreements and MoAs are the preferred and most implemented contracts used by professional yacht brokers for crewed yacht charters. Under the MYBA MoA, 50% of the yacht charter fee is paid upon the booking of the yacht and the additional 50% of the charter fee along with the mandatory extras (VAT + APA) is paid one month prior to the charter start.
What happens after you book a yacht?
In the first booking package there will be a full set of questionnaires which will be due back to the broker at least one month prior to boarding. These will assist the broker and yacht crew to prepare for the clients’ arrival. The only mandatory information needed prior to the yacht charter however, is a full list of passengers that will be on the charter including their passport information. This is required by law and given to the port police to ensure the safety of all. The charter questionnaires provide a space to fill-in passenger details. It is recommended to complete the charter questionnaire as best as possible for your broker to work with the yacht crew in preparing for your charter in the best possible way. This questionnaire is due back approx. one month prior to the trip start. Within the the questionnaire there is space to fill-in preferences for food and meal style, activities aboard, itinerary preferences, complete a drink order, etc. This questionnaire also gives the charterer an opportunity to request further services from the broker or yacht crew such as hotel, tour or private land and air bookings.
What do crews normally consist of?
All crewed yachts maintain a crew that is appropriate in size to well maintain the yacht and attend to guests’ needs aboard. The larger the yacht the larger the crew aboard. Nearly all yachts have expert, professional crew familiar with the yacht and the cruising areas of the yacht. Crews can range from two people to about 50 people. Megayachts equipped with larger crews have more divisions of crew such as deck crew, interior crew, and those in specialty roles.
Deck crew can consist of captain, first mate, engineer and deckhand who are responsible for navigation and cruising/sailing, tenders, preparation and operation of water toys. They also upkeep the exterior of the yacht, keeping it well maintained and tidy. An engineer is an important crew member who often go unnoticed as they maintain the proper functioning of the yacht’s mechanics from smoothly running engines to plumbing and air-conditioning etc. The interior crew can consist of stewardesses/stewards and chefs. These members are responsible for the food and drink service, housekeeping and other general duties.
Is crew tipping standard?
While not mandatory, it is customary prior to disembarkation to leave a tip (gratuity) for the work of the yacht’s crew. The typically recommended by brokers tip range is between 5% and 15% of the charter fee and of course depends on the charterer’s satisfaction with the crew. Typically the total amount is given to the captain who then distributes it to the crew with their internal system. If preferred, the charterer can hand out tips individually as seen fit.
Am I covered by insurance?
The charter fee covers the yacht insurance for marine risk and third party claims and the insurance of the crew for employer’s liability insurance. Some clients wish to take out Cancellation or Travel Insurance to protect against unforeseen circumstances that might prevent or alter the yacht charter.
What is supplied onboard for the guests?
Most crewed yachts have air-conditioning, Wi-Fi internet, linens, bath and beach towels, basic bath toiletries and basic sea toys. The larger the yacht, the more equipped the vessel. Yachts of 30 Meters upwards will also typically have hair dryers, sun creams, and a larger selection of sea toys.
What do I need to bring with me?
You don’t need much on a yacht charter as while glamorous it is actually a very casual vacation mode requiring very little preparation and gear. Clothes for summer weather such as bathing suits, sandals, cover-ups/tunics, and athletic shoes are basics to include. The dress code is determined by the destinations visited, usually casual attire is the norm; the Mediterranean is savvy-chic casual and jackets and ties are not required in restaurants. It is up to the charter party to create “dressy” occasions as desired. Bulky, hard luggage is never a good idea for storing on the yachts. It is recommended to bring soft luggage and not too much. Important materials like passports and visas are necessary. If you carry a small boat license it is good to bring in order to operate a jet ski or tender. Sea-sickness medicine is often onboard but good to have a personal stache if needed. All needed passenger medications is best brought from home in case something is unavailable in the charter destination. High-heels are not recommended as they cannot be worn on the yacht’s decks. A basket for shoes is supplied at the main deck aft as barefoot is the norm aboard.
Where can we cruise?
Yacht chartering is offered worldwide. Some areas are better suited to chartering and more popular such as the Mediterranean. Greece, with over 4,000 islands, is one of the best destinations as there are many separate, diverse areas to discover such as: the Cyclades, Ionian, Argo Saronic, Sporades and Dodecanese island groups. Croatia has become very popular as well for the seasoned traveler. The French and Italian Rivieras are still well visited by yachts and in particular a popular destination for megayachts. The Caribbean is also a popular area for the Winter season and more exotic locales are for the more seasoned yachtsman or adventurer. Those destinations can range from Antarctica to the Galapagos islands.
Comprehensive Itineraries are suggested in accordance with the preferences and budget of the charterers. Due to both the weather fluctuations and the mood of the charterers, itineraries are never set in stone and can be changed at a moment’s notice as discussed with the captain. Most yachts cruise a few hours in the morning and then stop for midday fun and sun and then cruise a bit more to be in harbor for the night, around sunset.
Do we need to choose and book ports in advance?
In the West Mediterranean during peak months (July & August) it is more difficult to access some of the most popular cruising ports. The charter broker with the captain will suggest itinerary routes that offer the charterer port options which can be booked in advance if certain specific destinations are required or desired by the guests. Some ports allow prior bookings while some only accept bookings 2 days in advance. Dropping anchor out of ports is another option and does not require any booking or pre-thought. The Eastern Mediterranean is more flexible as far as space in ports however hotspots like the port of Mykonos can be difficult to secure space and no pre-bookings are allowed. As far as fees, this depends on the exact port. Sometimes a hefty fee is required for popular port docking such as in Capri island whereas other island ports may just require a docking tip to the locals.
Do the yachts cruise at night?
Most yachts cruise until sunset and for safety reasons do not cruise at night. However, some yachts will allow night cruising if there is the both the desire from the client and the approval of the captain who is responsible for safety aboard. Larger yachts with ocean-crossing standards often cruise at night as they have the safety standards and extra crew to assist this effort.
Are qualifications needed to use the onboard water sports equipment?
SCUBA diving and jetskis and waverunners will require the appropriate license/diploma by those interested to do so while aboard. The Small Boat Licenses needed to operate the jetskis and waverunners can be attained before the charter if the guest does not have one and desires to drive on their own. If no license then a crew member can drive while the guests remain passengers.
Can extra guests be invited aboard?
The yacht can hold as many as it can physically fit while docked in harbor; no real restrictions apply when the yacht is docked however captain approval is needed. Typically the cruising protocol of the yacht is the same as how many it can legally sleep aboard. International Marine regulations however usually permit up to 12 guests cruising aboard. Only vessels with SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) permits can carry more than 12 guests and this is for passenger ships not leisure vessels. Some superyachts do have these compliances, however. The client should check of course what the cruising protocols are for each vessel if expected to cruise with more passengers some days.
Is there a maximum or minimum cruising period? How long is the average cruise?
Typically yacht charters last one week and therefore it is often to receive a weekly charter rate from your broker. For charters less than one week, a different rate may be given for example the weekly charter rate divided by 6 to get the daily rate. Event charters differ as events can last a few hours or one day and depending on the requirements, the rate is decided. Bareboats have one-week minimum charters, Saturday to Saturday. One can stay aboard for less than a week by the weekly charter rate remains fixed due to its seasonal schedule. Flexibility for shorter than a week charters is best when it is not high season due to the demand. The more time aboard, the more flexibility in itinerary and the more can be seen, of course. Most clients never feel they have had enough time aboard and thus become repeat clients.
Is there an age restriction for charter passengers?
No, all ages are welcome aboard, from babies to elders. If the crew does not offer enough service needed to provide extra attention to higher need guests such as infants or elderly with disabilities, hired help can be arranged by the broker or guests such as nannies or caretakers. A family charter is the ideal charter type, where many generations can mix and enjoy time together.
Are pets allowed onboard?
Typically pets are not allowed onboard for health reasons of the crew and future passengers, as well as safety reasons for the animals. Also, sea travel is not so enjoyable for most animals. With the special permission however by the yacht owner and broker, it can be arranged.
Is smoking or vaping permitted inside the yacht?
Smoking and vaping is generally not allowed in the interior spaces of the yacht due to safety and health concerns. In the outdoor spaces it is generally permitted.