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A Complete Guide To Chartering A Private Yacht: All Your Questions Answered

  • Travel 101
  • By Lauren Godfrey
  • Published 04 March 2024

Holiday with a difference by chartering a yacht, the perfect way to mark a milestone or simply spending time with your family; grandparents and all!

Enjoy your personalised holiday on the water with a luxury yacht charter booked through Winged Boots. From helping you choose your destination and full sailing itinerary through to booking beach clubs and making dinner reservations, we can make it happen to ensure you have a trip of a lifetime, every time you travel with us. 

We understand that if you’re new to yacht holidays then you may have a wealth of questions around tipping, taxes, and also the terminology used - such as what does berth mean, and what does APA stand for? Oh, and that biggie: How much does it cost to charter a yacht? So we’ve rallied up the experts at Sunseeker and Meros, as well as our Managing Director David Ox, to help answer the most frequently asked questions.

Meet The Experts

Lottie Underwood

Lottie has been working in the luxury sector for eight years for a select group of ultra-high-net-worth individuals, managing portfolios and client experience both on land and sea. Lottie represents Meros yacht sharing in the UK and Europe, alongside the brand’s partnership with Sunseeker.

Lottie Underwoord, Meros

Lottie Underwoord, Meros
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Charlie Nicholson
Charter Broker, Sunseeker Charters

Having joined Sunseeker Charters in 2018, Charlie is proud to say that she has secured more than 600 Charter bookings over the past 5 years and amassed a huge number of returning clients. A qualified sailing instructor and power boat skipper, Charlie has lived in France, Greece, Turkey and Bahrain which has set her in good stead for the charter industry.

Discover more about Sunseeker.

Charlie Nicholson, Charter Broker for Sunseeker Charters

Charlie Nicholson, Charter Broker for Sunseeker Charters

David Ox
Managing Director, Winged Boots

David founded Winged Boots in 2008 and has grown the boutique travel agency through his black book of customers and industry contacts into a personal travel management business. David loves all aspects of travel and has enjoyed many yacht trips with his family and friends. 

David Ox, Managing Director Winged Boots

How do I know which type of yacht to charter for my family?

Charlie says: “Choosing the right type of yacht for your family charter depends on various factors, including your preferences, the size of your family, your budget, and the activities you plan to do during your charter. 

“There are many considerations to help you decide the perfect boat for you:

1. Group size: Consider the number of people in your family. Smaller families may find a smaller yacht suitable, while bigger families may require a larger motor yacht with multiple cabins.

2. Budget: Yacht charters can vary significantly in price. Establish a budget for your charter, including not just the cost of the yacht but also additional expenses like fuel, crew gratuities, and provisions. Keep in mind that larger yachts typically come with higher costs.

3. Destination: Think about where you plan to charter. Some areas may have specific types of yachts that are more common or better suited to local conditions. 

4. Activities: Consider the activities you want to enjoy during your charter. If you're interested in water sports like snorkelling, scuba diving, or paddleboarding, you'll want a yacht with the necessary equipment and storage space. If you prefer a more relaxed cruise, a yacht with a spacious deck and comfortable seating will be ideal.

5. Amenities: Yachts come with varying amenities. Some may have luxury features like a hot tub, a barbecue grill, or a fully equipped kitchen, while others may be more basic. Decide what amenities are important to your family's comfort and enjoyment.

6. Duration: Consider the length of your charter. If it's just for a day or a weekend, you might opt for a smaller yacht. For longer trips, especially if you plan to stay on board for an extended period, you'll need a yacht with more space and amenities.

“Ultimately, your family's preferences and comfort should guide your choice. Consider the style, size, and layout that will best suit your family's needs and desires.”

Can I charter a yacht for a few days during my Ibiza holiday?

Charlie says: “Yes, you can charter a yacht for a few days in Ibiza. This is a popular destination for yacht charters, and we offer day charters to explore the beautiful waters around the island as well as being able to accommodate long term charters in this area. 

“Whether you're looking for a relaxing day on the water, a cruise to Formentera, or a combination of both, there are a variety of options to suit your preferences.
“Book your yacht charter in advance, especially during the peak summer season, as Ibiza is a busy destination for boating enthusiasts.” 

How much should I tip and what’s the typical APA?

Charlie says: “Tipping and the Advanced Provisioning Allowance (APA) are important considerations when chartering a yacht and they can vary depending on the location and type of yacht.

“Tipping the crew is a customary practice in the yachting industry and is a way to show appreciation for their hard work and service during your charter. The industry standard for tips is 10% - 15% of the charter fee. 

“The APA is a separate budget allocated to cover expenses during your charter, such as fuel, food, beverages, berthing fees, and any other extras. The APA is calculated as a percentage of the total charter fee, which is typically 35%, but can be higher for those with a more ambitious itinerary. 

“The APA amount is paid prior to the charter and held by the captain to cover expenses related to your trip. At the end of the charter, any unused APA fund will be returned to you. However, if you exceed the APA amount, then you will have to make an additional payment. While on board, the crew will provide regular updates on the APA expenditures to keep you informed.”

Can I charter a yacht for the Monaco Grand Prix?

Charlie says: “Yes, you can charter a yacht for the Monaco Grand Prix. The Monaco Grand Prix is one of the most prestigious and famous Formula 1 races in the world, and it takes place in the picturesque harbour of Monte Carlo, Monaco. Many people choose to watch the race from the deck of a yacht, as it offers a unique and luxurious vantage point.

“Here are some key points to consider if you want to charter a yacht for the Monaco Grand Prix:

1. Plan in advance: The Monaco Grand Prix is a highly sought-after event, and luxury yacht charters for this occasion can get booked well in advance. It's advisable to start planning and booking your charter as early as possible, sometimes even a year or more in advance.

2. Type and size of yacht: We have various types and sizes of yachts available for charter during the Grand Prix, ranging from smaller yachts to larger luxury superyachts. The choice will depend on your budget, the number of guests you plan to have on board, and your desired level of comfort.

3. Location: The location of your yacht is crucial for viewing the race. You'll want a berth in a prime spot in the harbour, as close to the track as possible, to have the best view of the race action. With the connections Sunseeker has, we are able to help secure this prime spot for the race weekend.

4. Duration: Charter durations during the Monaco Grand Prix can vary. Some charters are for the race weekend, while others may offer longer packages that include additional time for cruising along the French Riviera.

“Chartering a yacht for the Monaco Grand Prix can provide a memorable and luxurious experience, allowing you to enjoy the race in style and comfort. However, due to its popularity, careful planning and early booking are essential to ensure you get the best experience possible.”

What are the main benefits of chartering a superyacht?

Charlie says: “Chartering a yacht offers numerous benefits, making it an attractive option for those seeking a unique and luxurious holiday experience. It allows you to enjoy all the perks of owning a superyacht, without the running costs.

“When chartering a yacht, you have exclusive use of the vessel, ensuring privacy and a personalised experience. This means that we can create a tailored itinerary based on your preferences. You can choose your destinations, anchor in secluded coves, and enjoy the luxury of the high-end amenities on board.

“As yacht charter is such a high-end personalised service, the professional crew are there to cater to your every need throughout your time at sea. We have the flexibility to adapt your plans based on weather conditions and your preferences throughout the trip.

“Many yacht charters offer gourmet dining experiences prepared by talented onboard chefs. You can enjoy one-of-a-kind menus and dine in picturesque settings. There is an unparalleled opportunity to appreciate breathtaking landscapes while waking up to a different view every morning and enjoy the beauty of the sea and nature.

“Yachts often carry a variety of water toys and equipment, such as paddleboards, snorkelling gear, jet skis, and even scuba diving equipment, meaning you can engage in water sports and activities at your leisure.

“Overall, chartering a yacht offers the opportunity to experience a level of freedom, luxury, and adventure that is unmatched by other forms of travel. It's a perfect choice for those seeking a memorable and personalised vacation on the water.”

Where is your number one yachting destination and why?

Lottie says: “The Balearic Islands - particularly Mallorca, Ibiza, and Menorca - are among my top recommendations for yachting enthusiasts. These islands offer a perfect blend of stunning wild landscapes, crystal-clear waters, vibrant nightlife, and rich cultural experiences.” 

I’m a beginner to yacht holidays. Where do you recommend I start?

Lottie says: “For beginners, I often suggest starting with a yacht charter in the Med. The calm, protected waters are easy to explore making it an ideal place to ease into the world of yacht holidays.”

Are yacht holidays suitable for a young family?

Lottie says: “Absolutely! A yacht is a place to make memories. Fully supported by an experienced crew, there's something for all. Whether that's exploring on sea bobs, learning to paddleboard or simply embracing the lull of the ocean from a giant inflatable flamingo. The calm Mediterranean waters are generally safe for children too, with minimal tides and many bays it becomes a playground for the whole family to enjoy.”

When is the best time to sail in the Mediterranean?

Lottie says: “The Mediterranean offers a long yachting season, typically running from late April to early November. However, the ideal time to sail can vary depending on your preferences. Early summer (May to early June) and late summer (September to November) are often considered the best times. During these periods, the weather is usually pleasant with warm temperatures and fewer crowds.”

What is yacht sharing?

Lottie says: “Yacht sharing, also known as yacht co-ownership, is an excellent way to enjoy the benefits and luxury of a yacht without the full financial and logistical commitments. It involves owning a yacht with others, typically splitting the costs and usage throughout the year. By yacht sharing through Meros, we make this our responsibility.

“The benefits include: 
•    Cost sharing
•    Exclusive Meros membership to support your yachting lifestyle including a dedicated concierge.
•    Flexibility through the choice of weeks in different destinations throughout the year 
•    Reduced hassle: Meros handles all matters of upkeep and maintenance, and you simply take charge of your adventure. 

“Lastly, it's an eco-efficient and cost-effective way to experience the joys of yachting. The Meros fleet currently run the yacht on HVO fuel reducing the company’s emission by up to 90% and this style of usage and ownership is becoming increasingly popular among those who want to enjoy the yachting lifestyle without the full time commitment.”

How do I plan my yacht holiday itinerary?

David says: “Speak to one of our personal travel managers and tell us your requests. We’ll get to know you and suggest some ideas for routes and places to visit. Once we know how many people are travelling, your planned holiday duration and location then we will put together a bespoke itinerary with one of our specialist yacht partners. We’ll present everything to you, and then handle every detail from your flights and transfers, through to restaurant and beach club reservations. All you need to do is pack your suitcase.” 

How much does it cost to charter a private yacht?

David says: “The most common question: how much is a yacht? There are two types of luxury yacht charter. An all-inclusive charter where almost everything is included within the cost. Think crew, food, drinks, fuel and sports equipment. Alternatively, you can pay a base price for the ship and its crew and then any additional expenditures are chargeable under the APA (Advance Provisioning Allowance). This is called a ‘plus expenses’ or ‘separated charges’ charter and is the most common option. Prior to travel, you’ll complete a thorough questionnaire detailing your likes and dislikes and requesting certain food and drink to be stocked onboard to create a tailored experience. The APA will also cover fuel and usually dockage and is usually 30% - 35% of the base charter fee.

“The size of the yacht, how experienced the crew are and also your itinerary will affect the cost of your charter. But, in general, the bigger the boat the bigger the cost. Also consider the time of year you plan on travelling. This will impact the cost of your charter just like when booking a typical flight and hotel package holiday. Travelling during peak times comes with a higher price tag.

“Luxury uacht charter generally costs between £80,000 to £120,000 for a week, however this figure can drastically change due to the toys, itinerary and crew required. All charters are personalised to the individuals wants and budget. Unfortunately, there's no one-size fits all response to 'how much is a yacht?' But, that is precisely why a luxury yacht holiday is so special... every detail is tailored to you!”

All images supplied by Sunseeker

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