With travel trends changing fast, luxury yacht holidays are becoming more and more popular. According to global travel surveys, travellers' preferences are changing in ways we never would have imagined, opening up new paths to enjoy holidays.
It's been revealed by an expert report from ABTA this year that many people would prefer to have a holiday of a lifetime and many are also keen to go for a cruise holiday despite current government advice.
Luxury yacht holidays are definitely an approach which proves to be more and more popular and not just because they are exclusive with real privacy but also because they are more affordable than people would imagine. Let's look into it in more details, shall we?
Well, you lovely people, that's a question everyone wants to know the answer for although everybody has an idea in their head about it. So how yacht holidays are different from cruises?
Cruise ships are massive. Gigantic. Colossal. With their size comes high number of tourists of course. 2-3000 soul on board and you're not that special anymore (I have to add I still very much enjoyed my all inclusive cruise holiday), even though you're in a luxury setting.
Yachts are smaller in size obviously but still large enough to allow you to enjoy everything privately and in your own pace. Everything is just perfect, tailor made to your taste and preferences. You'll be for sure at the absolute centre of attention.
Want to have freshly cooked breakfast late? Done. Want to sunbathe on the deck alone? No problem. What you'd like to do after? Snorkeling, visiting a secret island or sightseeing somewhere on land? It's up to you, really. Discuss with your captain where your heart wants to take you and your dream comes true instantly.
I often find myself daydreaming these times about the intimate sunsets, jet ski trips from the yacht or sliding off from aboard into the sparkling deep blue ocean.
The crew is knowledgable, attentive and they are there only for you, and they are very happy to go the extra mile. Now, that's what I call a luxury holiday. Freedom, independence, no more rushing back to the port, no more fixed times or rules for anything. You are the one and only boss and everyone around you is happy to please you. Sounds nice, doesn't it?
I came across this amazing company called OceanScape and they have an extensive list of heaven like destinations all around the world; Caribbean, Mediterranean, Pacific Ocean, USA and more.
My personal favourites are Indonesia and Italy, they have jumped on my bucket list straight after I saw their brochures. Anyway for more inspiration I highly recommend to have a read on their blog too, just reading some of the articles and looking at their photos gave me goosebumps.
There are so many different yachts. Seriously. Not just body type wise but also so many options to choose from when it comes to extras. Let me try to shed some light on things for you, I'll promise I'm going to give you useful and practical info only, no fluff included.
Some boring details which are quite essential when it comes to comfort and preferences. A full displacement hull means that your yacht will sit low in the water, so it's pushing through the waves instead of riding on top of them.
What are the benefits? It is more comfortable; less shaking, bouncing and of course less chance for seasickness. It is also the most fuel-efficient which might be important to you when it comes to budgeting your luxury yacht holiday.
Please note that full displacement yachts are also the slowest with about 10 knots of cruising speed. They are perfect for family yacht holidays with kids.
More horsepower, more speed, higher fuel bills. That's about it in a nutshell. Benefits is that you can cover more ground due to the higher speed, again it comes down to what your preferences are.
Yachts with planing hull have powerful engines which are able to lift the yachts' bow, so it's riding over the waves with an adrenaline-pumping 20-50 knots cruising speed. If you want to cover a lot during your holiday then this is the perfect type of boat for you but please remember; with high adrenaline level and speed comes a high fuel bill too. I would definitely recommend this type for adventure junkies, it's truly an experience of a lifetime.
There are 3 main types of holidays you can choose from. Everything depends on what you're into; you're looking to fully relax and be served, or want a complete adventure on your own.
I'll explain a little bit more about them so you get the full picture and hopefully it will help you to make your decision.
Bareboat yacht means that you get a functioning boat with a full tank, life jackets, ropes, but really nothing else apart from the necessities. You need to know that it's only possible if you are a fully qualified skipper, without the right certificates you won't be allowed to charter. A safe bet for "bareboating" is the Mediterranean due to their manageable sailing and weather conditions.
A skippered holiday is when you hire someone to do the steering while you're chilling. It's recommended for inexperienced sailors or for people who are not only looking for a captain but someone who has loads of local knowledge so the holiday can be spiced up with unique places and experiences.
It's kind of self explanatory but I need to go into some details here. Hiring full crew is not just about getting people to serve while aboard.
You'll hear from experienced charterers that having the right crew is the most important element of your luxury yacht holiday.
According to your needs and preferences you can have tailor made crew. I highly recommend to have a long, detailed discussion with your yacht broker about this, because this is what will make your holiday so damn special. And the more they know about you, the happier and more satisfied you'll be.
If you are into gourmet cuisine ask for a crew with a kitchen maestro. If you are planning a family holiday there is crew with experience with kids and their entertainment. Maybe you want to discover more on land, then you'll need someone with local knowledge. You get the idea, right? So, don't be shy to share your dreams with your broker, the more you'll say, the closer they can get in organising the perfect yachting experience for you.
It really varies and you would need to do your own research as every company and every yacht is different. But one thing is for sure; you won't be bored or disappointed.
Many of the boats include as standard the snorkel gear, a tender, and some water toys. You'll also find yachts with their own jet skis, water ski equipment, slide, water scooter, underwater scooter, fishing gear and many more.
Screens and video games are also standard on many of them and Wifi is available too, although if internet is important for you, definitely ask about speed as it works differently on water.
So again, do a proper research and find the right one for you before booking anything.
That's a tricky one and many times prices are not as transparent as we want them to be but hey, we all have internet and we can always ask questions before agreeing to anything.
Most of the luxury yacht holiday companies are going to show you their base rates online which is basically just the price of the yacht hire with the crew (if you opted for a crewed charter). On top of that there are many expenses which will highly depend on location and your needs.
This is a charge that varies by country, so just to have some examples; Bahamas is only 4%, Florida 6%, and on the higher end are France with 20% and Italy with 22%. The Eastern Mediterranean is somewhere in between with Croatia at 13% and Greece at 12%.
Obviously fuel prices differ too depending on the area but your final bill will come down to how much cruising you'll want to do. The closer you stay to land and ports the less you're going to pay. If you are a big adventurer who likes to discover the whole wide world then expect a higher price tag.
If you choose the right company and ask the right questions from your broker you shouldn't face any hidden fees.
I asked OceanScape about more details (is it obvious that I hate hidden fees?), and I'd been informed that their guidance to clients is to add an additional 50-55% onto the base charter rates. This would cover the APA (advanced provisioning allowance - food and drinks), VAT, fuel, and optional tips (recommended rate is 15%).
Just remember, ask questions - about everything, even if it doesn't seem so relevant - and you should be fine, no extra surprises.
Luxury yacht holidays can be enjoyed all year round - just make sure to choose the right location.
If your chosen destination is the Caribbean then the ideal months to travel is between November to July - primary high season is from mid December to March.
The Mediterranean is best enjoyed from July to August but charter season generally runs from April to end of October.
If you haven't got a concrete plan yet as to when you want to go then check out some all year round destinations, like the Bahamas, Florida, Brazil, Thailand, Tahiti, Seychelles, Oceania and the South Pacific Islands.
Whatever luxury yacht holiday you choose and whichever destination you go to, you can be sure that you are in for a real treat, an experience that really is for a lifetime. I hope you'll enjoy it and let me know how it went when you're back - I'm dying to know!
A yacht can carry up to 12 passengers by maritime law. If it were to take more people on board it would be called a passenger ship which requires a comprehensive list of stringent safety measures and a different licence.
Super yachts are boats over 24 meters (80 feet) and mega yachts are over 60 meters (200 feet).
Mega yachts carry a higher number of crew to look after the boat and offer exclusive and extremely high level of service.
There are few different options:
If you're planning your first yacht holiday, it is highly recommended to opt for the fully crewed option to have peace of mind and to actually enjoy the vacation.