How to charter a superyacht

Sunseeker 37Cruising the oceans, visiting exciting cities, staying in ocean side villas or hotels – indulging in the delights of an out of the way paradise, Each in its own way makes for a perfect holiday. The problem has long been that you cannot have them all at the same time unless you charter a superyacht. 

Imagine a hotel with a ratio of one staff to every visitor, no other guests except those you have personally chosen and a restaurant where the chef is creating gourmet meals only for you. Add an itinerary that enables you to decide where and when to go, and the chance to relax undisturbed by outsiders.

Choose to wake up each day in a new location or stay chilled out, anchored in an idyllic spot for as long as you like.  A luxury yacht charter has all this and more.  From diving in the Caribbean to visiting the latest nightclubs in the south of France. From being massaged under a palm tree on a sandy beach to gazing at the sunset in Bora Bora. From quiet anchorages to a berth in St Tropez, alongside other yachts full of the glitterati; a superyacht charter provides the ultimate passport to some of the most beautiful, exciting and remote places in the world.

Some yachts do cost as much as investing in a country cottage – to enjoy for just one week –  but there are plenty that are no more expensive per person than a holiday in a 5-star hotel.

How does this magic unfold?  Where does the novice begin to learn how it is done?  The answer lies in the initial choice of a charter broker a sort of specialist travel agent who works likes a dating agency by putting together the perfect boat for the occasion.

You’d be wise to select a broker who is a member of one of the major regulatory bodies – such as the Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association (MYBA) or the American Yacht Charter Association (AYCA) – in much the same way that selecting an ABTA travel agent is a secure choice for a holiday.

Here is our own list of ten tips designed to make chartering a yacht easy:

  1. Like houses, it’s all about location. Large yachts follow the sun so Caribbean winters and Mediterranean summers remain the top choice for many. There are specialist yachts from which to watch bears in Alaska, fly fish in Patagonia or go kite surfing in the Pacific.
  1. Sail or motor? Each has advantages and disadvantages.  If you want to get from A to B quickly choose a fast motor boat, if you love peace and quiet go for sails. Well-found explorer style yachts are equally at home carving through icy waters in Antarctica or cruising remote atolls in the Indian Ocean.
  1. Plan your trip with your charter broker, the ports of call are at your choosing, as is the duration of stay in each of them.
  1. Make contact with the yacht’s captain before you join the yacht.  Make sure he knows what you want out of the holiday.
  1. Consult with the purser, who acts as the yacht’s hotel manager and ensure you specify the brands of liquor and wines you would like to see served.
  1. Talk about food with the chef.  With enough notice a good superyacht chef can serve anything, anywhere in the world.
  1. Consider where to embark and disembark your yacht.
  1. Make joining and departing part of the experience.  Private jets and helicopter transfers make the occasion that much more special.
  1. Consider activities to enjoy while on board.  Water skiing or jet skis, snorkel and mask or simply soaking up the sun on deck and dipping into the Jacuzzi with a glass of Champagne when it gets too hot.
  2. Have fun, relax and enjoy the experience. After all, luxury yacht charter is all of those perfect holidays rolled into one.

About the authors – Frances and Michael Howorth

Frances and Michael Howorth are an award winning team of professional freelance travel writers specialising in coverage of luxury yachts, boutique cruisers and ocean side resort hotels and spas. Frances is an award-winning photographer. Michael is a qualified captain, certificated to command large luxury yachts of up to 3000 tons. Their work features in quality maritime publications around the world and they are contributing editors for the 2014/15 edition of the Super Yacht Owners Guide.

Follow them on Twitter: @YachtPhoto and @SaltySeaDog

Frances Howorth

By: Frances Howorth
Freelance Writer, Photographer