Once you are ready to vacation on your own private yacht you need to do these things to maximize your trip experience.
A yacht charter vacation should not be taken lightly. Besides the obvious financial commitment, there are a myriad of details that must be carefully planned.
- Choosing the right charter broker
- Choosing the perfect yacht and crew
- Passports and any other documentation (visas) if required. Passports are ALWAYS required.
- Airline flight reservations to the location where the yacht will pick you up.
- Trip cancellation insurance for you and your family. This is optional but recommended.
- Hotel reservations for the days and nights ashore before and after your charter.
- Planning a flexible itinerary that takes you to the specific locations along the way that you are most interested in.
Choosing the right charter broker is a the first and most important task. Charter brokers are an indispensable part of the planning process. Your broker should be patient and knowledgeable about the best locations and the yachts that are available for your dates.
Always choose a broker who is affiliated with and is a member of one of the recognized Charter Broker Associations like AYCA, CYBA or MYBA. These associations demand a high standard of knowledge and professional ethics.
Your broker will help you to choose the right yacht and crew. Remember that the crew can make or break your charter. They are the difference between the best vacation of a lifetime and a ho-hum experience.
Your broker should also help with the itinerary planning, so you can stop in the places you would like to visit along the way. A few do’s and don’ts:
- DON’T try and see too much and visit too many places on one trip in too short a time. You will spend too much time on the water and not enough time exploring ashore.
- DO always consult with the captain since he is ultimately responsible for your safety aboard. Weather can change at the drop of a hat and itineraries may have to be changed to provide you with the smoothest and safest ride.
- Many of our guests like to plan their days so that you have breakfasts and lunches on board the yacht and your evening meal ashore in one of the many excellent tavernas and ristorantis that abound in the Mediterranean.
- Make sure you communicate any allergies or eating preferences to the crew before hey provision the boat for your charter. Your charter broker can help with this.
Your captain will be very knowledgeable about the area that you are cruising, besides driving the boat, he can also organize shore-side excursions, recommend restaurants, and attend to the little details aboard that will make your Mediterranean charter vacation a complete success.
Here is a sequence of events that will happen to get you on board your charter yacht.
- Choose your Broker and the preferred dates for your charter
- Choose your yacht and pay attention to your brokers recommendations. The broker knows the yachts, the crews, has the benefit of experience with prior clients, and has probably been aboard the yacht during one of the many charter yacht shows that are held every year.
- Your broker will prepare the charter agreement which should be signed by you and the owner of the yacht. This can be done electronically.
- Pay your deposit, usually 50% of the charter fee.
- Arrange for trip cancellation insurance. Your broker can help with this.
- Talk about itineraries and preferences with your broker.
- Pay the balance of the charter and the APA (Advance Provisioning Allowance) 30 days before the start date.
Lastly, a word about the charter fee structure in the Med. Here’s how it works:
- The Charter Fee to hire the yacht with its crew.
- The Advance Provisioning Allowance (APA), depending on the yacht, this can be between 25% and 40% of the charter fee. This item covers expenses like fuel, port fees, provisioning of food and beverages and other minor items.
- VAT tax if applicable. This varies between countries.
- Cruising tax if applicable.
- Re-positioning fee if applicable. If the owner has to move the yacht from its current location to the boarding point, he will charge the cost of this re-positioning.
- Tips are not included in the charter fee. A tip for the crew is not mandatory but is customary for good service. 5% to 10% of the charter fee should be budgeted in the Mediterranean.