For yacht rentals of any size, right up to the biggest superyachts, this guide will show you what you need to know and the questions you should ask your broker
Where better to go on your private jet? How about renting a yacht. Luxury yacht charters provide you the same control, security, and healthy safety as private aviation in this COVID-19 world. Superyachts are already known for their hygiene and during the current pandemic, cleaning procedures and crew health measures have been increased even more.
A yacht charter broker is your key to helping you find the right yacht. A broker will work with you to figure the destinations, the yacht, the itinerary, and even. the menu. Your professional yacht crew is trained for safety at sea and providing luxury service and complete safety as you cruise.
Crews know the ins and outs of practically every cruising destination. From the hot spots to the best spas to off-the-beaten-path restaurants, your broker and crew can facilitate everything from VIP access to the best clubs to a private table at the restaurant you want to dine at.
To get you started, we spoke to executives and top brokers at Northrop & Johnson, which was founded in 1949. Today it ranks as the number one broker in the U.S. The Ft. Lauderdale-based company has 17 offices worldwide to provide localized service to you.
Yacht Rentals – What you need to know
Are you new to chartering a yacht? Here are some questions to consider before you make the first call as well as answers to questions you probably have.
How many people will be going on your yacht rental?
This dictates the size of the yacht you will want to charter. Be sure to specify if there are any children in your party, along with their ages. Most typical yacht charters are limited to a total of 13 guests. However, brokers can also help arrange charters of cruise ships that can handle groups from 25 to over 5,000 guests.
Where do you want to cruise?
There are charter yachts available worldwide, although you will find the highest concentration of yachts in the Med during the summer and the Caribbean and the Bahamas for the winter. However, more and more first-timers are using the luxury of a yacht vacation to explore Alaska, New England, Canada, Northern Europe, and even the British Isles.
What type of vibe do you want?
Each yacht crew has its own personality. Some provide a more formal level of white-glove service while others are known to excel with families and young children. Your broker knows the captain, the crew and will guide you to the boat that matches what you want.
What are the amenities you want for the yacht rental?
Yachts vary widely in amenities. There are pools and Jacuzzis, water sports toys and gym equipment, beach clubs, and movie theatres. A good broker will take your input and come back with the options that best fit your needs.
Where do you want to go with your yacht charter?
The beauty of chartering your own yacht is that the itinerary is designed around you and is tailored to suit your wishes. Your broker and captain will provide a suggested itinerary and will work with you to personalize it, offering their own recommendations along the way.
What do you want to eat?
You set the menu. Your crew will take care of provisioning everything that’s needed to provide you with the types of dishes you and your companions want. Dietary needs and preferences can be accommodated. Your broker also knows the chefs on each yacht and can advise you. For example, some chefs have experience from fine dining restaurants while others are more akin to the personal chef you might have in your home.
What do you want to see?
Your broker will work with partners in each port to arrange sightseeing or shopping excursions or book any other activities you want to partake in, including renting cars and exotic autos. Use your yacht as a moving headquarters to visit as few or as many places as you want.
Does your itinerary make sense?
Many brokers will say first-timers want to do too much in too short a time. Perhaps you can go for two weeks instead of one, or if you have limited time, trust your broker to advise the number of ports that will fit into your charter.
Can I bring my dog on my yacht rental?
Whilst most yachts decline to have pets on board, some owners will allow you to bring your dog. If this is important to you, tell your broker.
What happens if there is a breakdown or weather interferes?
This is covered in your charter contract, and your broker will be able to advise you.
What happens to my money between when I send it and when we cruise?
Your money should be held in an escrow account. Ask your broker for details.
How far in advance should you contact your yacht charter broker?
Brokers recommend at least three to six months. As no two yachts are the same, the inventory changes, and that yacht you were thinking about, once it’s gone, you might find it difficult to find something quite the same. Popular charter yachts book as much as a year in advance.
What else do I pay for besides the yacht rental?
Food and beverages, fuel, gratuities to the crew and port charges are extra. These can range widely, but budget 25-50% of your charter cost, depending on your chosen yacht and itinerary. Your broker will set up an onboard expense account with the captain (known as an Advance Provisioning Allowance or APA) and you will need to wire money to fund this account in advance of your charter. You will get an itemized invoice and updates as the captain uses money in the account for provisions, fuel and other expenses. Anything left in the account at the end of the trip will be returned to you.
Where should my voyage start and end?
Your broker will work with you to find the most advantageous ports to start and end based on where you want to go and where the yacht is sailing before and after your cruise.
How do I stay in touch while at sea?
These days most yachts are set up with Wifi and satellite communications. Your cell service should also work when cruising near to the shore. Ask your broker for specifics on the yachts you are interested in.
How do the payments work?
Upon signing the agreement, typically you will be asked to pay 50% of the charter amount as a deposit. The balance is generally due one month before your charter starts, along with the APA funds mentioned above.
What’s the standard gratuity for the crew?
Gratuities vary but typically start at 10% with many customers tipping 15% or more for excellent service.
Who’s in charge?
While you chartered the yacht, keep in mind that your captain is responsible for your safety as well as adhering to international maritime law and local regulations of the places you will visit.
How much does a yacht rental cost?
A one-week charter can range from under $40,000 per year to over $1 million.
How big do superyachts get?
Azzam, from Lurssen at 592 feet, 6 inches is the world’s longest megayacht while Fulk Al Salamah at 538 feet, 1 inch might be confused with a cruise ship. Roman Abramovich’s Eclipses (533 feet, 1 inch) built by Blohm+Voss ranks third. Oracle founder Larry Ellison’s Rising Sun measures 454 feet, 1 inch. Octopus, build for the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is 414 feet long. The 357 feet Bravo Eugena is owned by Jerry Jones, owner of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. Bill Gates is reportedly spending $600 million to build a 376-foot-long, hydrogen-powered superyacht. As a comparison, the Queen Mary is just over 1,000 feet long.
Can I visit a yacht before chartering it?
It’s not unusual to visit boat shows such as Palm Beach, Monaco, Miami, and Ft. Lauderdale to not only see yachts firsthand but also to meet with the crew. The 2020 calendar has been impacted due to the pandemic. However, Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show is currently scheduled Oct. 28 to Nov. 1, 2020. The Miami International Boat Show is scheduled for Feb. 11 to 15, 2021.