As more travelers seek out luxury vacation options that ensure exclusivity, security and peace of mind, many are opting for private yacht charters. With its ultra-hygienic and self-sustaining environment, a private superyacht is a safe sanctuary and affords guests a worry-free vacation in their favorite yacht charter destination around the world. Our charter brokers have a wealth of expertise and a wide variety of skills to assist first-time charterers every step of the way. Our charter team has compiled this comprehensive guide to provide professional advice, answer introductory and advanced questions and define commonly used charter terminology.
If this is your first time considering a luxury holiday on board a private yacht, welcome! Knowing that first-timers will have many questions, Northrop & Johnson’s charter brokers have compiled a guide to help you gain a better understanding of the yacht charter process. Please peruse our charter guide, which covers some of the most important information you need to know about chartering or renting a yacht, as you prepare for a conversation with your charter broker. If you already have the ultimate luxury vacation in mind, contact our charter team to book the yacht charter of your dreams.
Maybe you are looking for a family vacation in the Caribbean. Perhaps you’re dreaming of an island-hopping adventure. Regardless of the type of holiday, you’ll want a safe and secure environment to enjoy time with family and friends. A superyacht charter means doing things your way with your timetable, bespoke itinerary and favorite past-times in absolute luxury. On board a superyacht charter you will experience an unsurpassed level of service and comfort in your most desired setting.
There are two main seasons in yachting – summer and winter. The summer season runs from May through October, with the peak summer season (and peak rates) in July and August. The winter season runs from November to April, with peak season running primarily over the holidays and into New Year.
PRO-TIP: Shoulder-season charters are often a good option for those looking to avoid the crowds in the more popular cruising grounds, and you may have more choices in terms of yachts.
The most popular yachting destinations vary by season. During the northern hemisphere summer, the most popular destination is the Mediterranean. Locations such as the French Riviera, Balearic Islands, Corsica and Sardinia, Greek Isles and Croatia are favorites. During the winter months, The Bahamas and Caribbean are the top yacht charter destinations.
If you are looking to relax and unwind, a yacht with a spa and an onboard masseuse is ideal. Chartering with a family often requires a yacht with ample activities, water toys, onboard games and a dedicated movie room. Your charter broker will assist you in identifying a yacht with all the onboard amenities are important to you.
Yachts can range in size from 80 feet to 300-plus feet and larger. Charter yachts can carry up to 12 guests maximum.
Think about the type of yacht that would best suit the size and character of your charter party. A modern motor yacht is ideal for a family charter while a sailing yacht is best for yachting enthusiasts. Browse through our portfolio of yachts for a better understanding of the most suitable vessel for you. Or, if you prefer, talk to a charter broker for an informal chat on the best yachts for your charter.
Most charters last between seven and 14 days, with rates quoted by the week. During the peaks of the seasons, July and August and Christmas and New Year, rates are usually higher. Most yachts also have low-season rates in effect during off-peak times of the year. Prices differ from yacht to yacht and reflect a variety of factors such as size, year built and amenities. Additional expenses include food, fuel, dockage and more. (See next question for more details).
Additional expenses depend on the type of contract used; MYBA and AYCA are the most common. The charter rate generally only covers the hire of the yacht and the crew and the owner’s insurance. Everything else is extra, including provisions and fuel. To cover expenses, an Advance Provisioning Allowance (APA) is collected upfront and forwarded to the captain who is accountable for expenditures. The captain will present a detailed summary of expenditures at the end of your charter. Any unspent APA funds are refunded to you. Depending on the destination, other expenses might include taxes, VAT and delivery/redelivery fees. Ask your charter broker to confirm the expenses that will be associated with your charter.
PRO-TIP: Advanced provisioning allowance (APA) expenses generally run 25 to 30% of the charter fee.
Looking to avoid commercial transit and crowds? Private aviation is an ideal option for getting to your charter destination. Northrop & Johnson’s partner NetJets is the global leader in private aviation for more than 55 years. NetJets can get you to your yacht in a safe, hygienic and comfortable way.
PRO-TIP: Stress-free check-in, unrivaled service and the flexibility to travel on your own terms. These are some of the many advantages of flying with NetJets for travel to your yacht charter
Brokers recommend booking six to 10 months in advance if booking for Christmas/New Year or peak Mediterranean season (July/August). If you want to cruise off-peak season, brokers recommend booking three to six months out. Availability changes quickly. It’s important to contact your broker early on to ensure a broad selection of suitable yachts from which to choose. Popular charter yachts book as far as a year in advance.
Northrop & Johnson’s charter brokers are the most professional and knowledgeable in the industry. They utilize industry-leading tools, assets and resources that allow them to assist clients with creating the holiday of a lifetime. They have access to Northrop & Johnson’s range of luxury partners, including NetJets, allowing them to enhance charters for guests. This is a benefit not available with other firms.
By now you have a good idea about the basics of renting a private yacht. Chartering a luxury yacht is easier than you thought, but there are some important aspects that could make or break your dream experience. Please browse this section to learn about the finer details of yacht charter. Should you have more advanced questions about how to charter a yacht, let our team of charter experts guide your way.
All charter yachts that Northrop & Johnson handles are crewed. Bare-boat charters, as charters without crew are called, are available, however, they are only available on smaller yachts. Northrop & Johnson charter brokers do not handle these types of charters.
The yacht’s chef and interior team will purchase all provisions for the yacht. The charter preference sheet (guests’ likes and dislikes) provided by the guests prior to the trip advises what to buy. They also will purchase any additional items needed for meals. The food is purchased with funds from the Advanced Provisioning Allowance (APA), an advance payment that will cover things like food, beverages, fuel, dockage, etc.
This is true for most yachts. Some yachts do allow boat shoes on board, provided they are brand-new are not worn ashore during the charter.
There are very few yachts that allow smoking indoors, but some may allow smoking in designated outside areas. If this is an important point for you, please make sure to mention it to your charter broker.
Depending on the size of the yacht, the crew are always available to guests throughout the charter. From preparing midnight snacks to whipping up your favorite cocktails, they are on hand. The crew can be as present or as removed (for privacy) as you would like. They work in shifts, so different crew will be available at different times of the day and night.
Some yachts do allow pets, but this will depend on the yacht. If this is an important point for you, your charter broker can help you identify yachts that accept furry friends.
Almost all yachts offer Wi-Fi, but this is something to discuss with your charter broker and confirm with the captain. As for mobile phone service, your service provider will need to confirm if they cover the cruising destination.
The yacht must follow the rules of its flag state and the local laws where it is cruising. Illegal drugs are prohibited on all yachts. If marijuana is legal in the flag state and destination, smoking will be up to the yacht owner and captain.
This situation happens fairly regularly aboard a yacht. It is subject to the captain’s discretion as well as the availability of dockage in the region. Speak to the captain about your changes and he or she will do their best to accommodate
There is no minimum age for charter guests. Yachts are an excellent option for vacationing with Children. They offer many different activities, water toys and are extremely safe and comfortable. But some yachts are better suited for children than others. Speak to your charter broker about the ages of the children and your plans for the charter. They will help find the best yacht to suit your needs.
Each yacht has its own protocols for cleaning, disinfecting and hygiene. As a general rule, yachts are exceptionally clean and held to a rigorous standard. Your charter broker and yacht captains can share more information on the exact protocol aboard yachts you’re interested in chartering.
All crew are trained in first aid and CPR and captains and Medical Persons in Charge have advanced medical training. Yachts also carry a vast array of lifesaving equipment and many have telemedicine contracts that connect them to doctors ashore.
The great thing about a yacht charter: it is often possible to adjust your itinerary and head for the sun. Although, a rainy day in port opens up the possibility of exploring local shops, boutiques, bars and restaurants.
If during your charter you wish to extend, contact your charter broker. He or she will check the yacht’s schedule and availability and prepare the necessary paperwork.
While not required, a trip protection plan is highly recommended.
PRO-TIP: Trip cancellation coverage provides the charterer protection if you have to cancel due to illness or other concerns.
If you enjoy the service provided by your crew, you may wish to offer them a gratuity. While the level is completely at your discretion, it is customary to leave a tip of 10 to 15% of the base charter fee.
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