Make the most of your yacht charter by avoiding these easy mistakes.
So, you’ve finally decided to take that yacht trip you’ve been dreaming of for years. One, good for you. Two, can we come? And three, are you sure you’re fully prepared?
Booking a yacht vacation is, without question, a thrilling proposition. It means being the center of attention on the high seas, with your every whim taken care of by an attentive staff. It also means getting to visit any destination you’d like, provided you can get there via water. While an excellent vacation idea no doubt, it can also be a rather expensive one. According to Worldwide Boat, the average weekly cost of a 100-foot sailing yacht can fall somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000.
To help ensure you get your money’s worth, we spoke with Melanie Burke, charter broker for Fraser, a full-service yachting company with more than 70 years of experience. Here are five common mistakes travelers make when booking a yacht vacation — and how to avoid them.
Not Working With a Yacht Charter Broker
According to Burke, booking a yacht charter is a lot like planning a wedding. “There are so many details, both small and large that make a world of difference when customized correctly,” she says. “This can be done through working with a skilled and experienced yacht charter broker, which many don’t realize is the backbone of booking a successful trip.” Here’s the best part: According to Burke, there’s no cost to the client to use a broker in the process, meaning they’ll simply reap all the benefits of having an industry professional on their team to help steer them away from substandard charters.
Relying Solely on Online Research
While so much of our research starts on the internet, Burke says it’s critical to go offline and speak to someone in person. “There are many websites that don’t provide current photos or up-to-date information on the vessels,” Burke notes. “I’ve learned through 30-plus years in the business that you can’t trust what you see in photos online, which is why my Fraser colleagues and I regularly travel around the world to inspect charter yachts and interview crews in person, often tasting the yacht chef’s specialties firsthand, so we can best advise clients about the finest options available on the market.”
Only Focusing on Length and Look
It can be tempting to fixate on the look of a certain yacht. However, Burke urges clients to go beyond the facade and focus on the interior instead. “The volume of the interior spaces and the layout and design of the deck are more important than the overall length of the vessel,” Burke says. “There are 164-foot yachts that have more interior and exterior guest spaces than 180-foot yachts, and some 130-foot yachts with more interior and exterior guest spaces than 150-foot yachts.” For a successful trip, Burke adds, it’s more important to focus on the spaces on board for the kind of experience you want to have, as well as the type of amenities you’ll most enjoy, from state-of-the-art gyms to movie theaters. And though it’s important to like the exterior look of a yacht, you’re going to spend most of your time on board, not looking at it from afar, so go for quality over beauty.
Choosing the Wrong Location to Charter
Another mistake newbies tend to make is choosing a location and time of year that will not provide the kind of experience they want while on a yacht charter. “If one is looking for tranquility and to enjoy a leisurely time exploring local towns and outdoor cafés, then cruising the Amalfi Coast or Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda in August may not be the right choice due to the influx of tourists,” Burke notes. “Does your group want to spend a lot of time in the water enjoying water sports and WaveRunners? Then, cruising in the British Virgin Islands may not be the right choice, since WaveRunners are only permitted in one or two bays in the entire country.” Again, think about what you’re trying to achieve on the trip, and chat with your broker to find the best options.
Rushing From Destination to Destination
Burke notes that she often sees clients who want to see and do it all on a one-week itinerary, which ends up being overwhelming. Instead of rushing from one beautiful place to the next, Burke says it’s best to focus on a particular cruising area and enjoy experiencing all the best that region has to offer. Burke adds, “By not trying to pack too much into your itinerary, it’s going to give you the flexibility to linger or discover other less-traveled spots along the way.”