Charter Yachting: Freedom on the Seas

Photo credit: Flickr user ingeniarius

Imagine your own private and often luxuriously-outfitted hotel, your own private swimming pool, your own personal Captain, chef and crew, your own private beach … This is charter yachting.

Yachties (definition: a term to describe people who work, love and live for boating) and private boat owners have been doing it for years. Cruise passengers have experienced water travel by the masses …but now there is something even better.

Today, the affordability of several friends or couples chartering a boat is increasing in popularity, but still, many folks do not yet realize the options and opportunities that this “vacation category” presents. In the last 20 years, many private yachts of all sizes have been made available to vacationers for charter. Many of these yachts come with a crew that pampers charter guests with five-star service, gourmet food, and activities superior to any five-star resort.

Or alternatively, many boating enthusiasts chartered bare boats, meaning they sailed the boat themselves and did their own navigating, cooking, cleaning, etc.

Charter yachting as a vacation concept has long been an option for the very wealthy, or the adventurous boating enthusiast that cannot resist the lure of the sea.

The greatest yacht charter locales around the world are as numerous and diverse as the types of charter yachts available, be they sailing yachts, super yachts, catamarans or luxury and crewed charters.

What a yacht charter provides is freedom on the seas, under a sunlit sky, and the chance to explore various regions docking or mooring in areas where land-based tourists cannot go …

You have the option to create a world of your own aboard a luxury yacht, with gourmet dining, shore excursions, water sports and a custom itinerary planned according to your desires, by your own personal captain and crew. Crewed chartering combines the service and friendliness of an elegant ship with complete freedom to explore wonderful and picturesque destinations without ever worrying about crowds.

If you want the exhilaration of being on the water, privacy of your own boat, and a bit of luxury and pampering, then consider a crewed charter.

There are literally hundreds of private yachts available for charter. Most charter brokers (like travel agents) represent a fleet of 100 or more, and can help you plan the vacation of a lifetime. And, if you are intrigued by this type of vacation, make no mistake, you will require professional guidance and advice.

Several years back the catamaran became the ‘jewel’ of charter yachting. These open plan, and spacious yachts offer identical cabins, open and airy public space where the galley and dining salon are on deck level, and more stable cruising for the sometimes queasy passenger. Traditionally most of the yachts available for charter, which are privately owned, feature stunning master cabin suites with additional guest cabins, some of which have upper and lower bunks. The Cats on the other hand offer identical accommodation, so no fighting over who gets the best cabin!

The 65’ Catamaran Shangri-La was one of the first custom built yachts to be launched and designed to cater exclusively to charter, offering a new and unique concept. This design boasts equal style accommodation for all guests featuring five identical en-suite cabins with private heads (bathrooms) and separate showers.

A crewed yacht charter offers a diverse range of destinations and activities to suit almost any preference.

For the diving enthusiast, if you would like to dive daily for seven days, you will be matched with a yacht complete with dive master, dive equipment and dive compressor onboard. Imagine diving 14 different locations in one week? If you want to fish for a week, you can charter a boat that specializes in fishing …If you are looking for romance on the seas and beneath the starry night skies (use your imagination!) … or you can arrange an unique and special foodie experience …and you can even charter to learn to sail …

Where to Charter?

Answer: Just about anywhere that there is water …


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The Caribbean is a charter and destination hotspot. Since the days of the pirates, brave adventurers have been sailing the azure waters of the islands.

The myriad destinations and availability of various categories of boats and experienced crews make the Caribbean a popular consideration.

The diversity of cultures, distances between islands, water-activities and weather have attracted Yachties for years.

Popular places to visit on a yacht charter include Antigua, St Bart’s, Anguilla, St Martin, The British Virgin Islands, The US Virgin Islands and the Grenadines.

The primary sailing season is typically between November through July. The hurricane season, which you will want to avoid, is from late July to early October.

Mediterranean / Europe

If you are looking for the unequalled, charter a yacht in the Mediterranean. Onshore, you will have access to a multitude of natural beauty, cultural heritage, gorgeous sandy beaches, glamour and fame.

The sunny Med is split into two main geographies – The Western and the Eastern Mediterranean. Yachts of all sizes and shapes dazzle the coasts; some large, some sleek, some performance and others of a more comfortable cruising style.

Some of the most famous yacht charter ports-of-call include Monaco, Nice, Cannes, St Tropez, Capri, Portofino, Amalfi, Positano, Porto Cervo, Palma de Mallorca, Valencia, Barcelona, Dalmatians, Corfu, Mykonos, Piraeus, Bodrum and Marmaris, to name just a few.

Yacht charter season in and around the Mediterranean generally runs from April to the end of October. During the height of the season, in July and August, the climate is warm and sunny and the winds tend to be light. Another pleasant period would be on either of the shoulder seasons from April to May and September to October. During this time there is greater choice of boats and anchorages, and the costs may often be less.

Northern Europe has all the many types of yacht charters available in the United Kingdom (England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales), Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway and Sweden) and Russia.

Anyone on a yacht charter holiday in the British Isles or Europe will experience great cultural and scenic variety.

South Pacific Islands

A yacht charter vacation in the South Pacific Islands (Tahiti, Tonga, Fiji, Cook Islands, New Caledonia, and Vanuatu) was once experienced by only a dedicated few. Now, the South Pacific Islands can be easily cruised by all.

The thought of chartering a yacht in the islands of the South Pacific inspires visions of paradise –warm azure waters, white sandy beaches and an abundance of sea.

The South Pacific is gaining increasing popularity as a yacht charter destination.

The South Pacific is south the equator so the seasons are the reverse to the northern hemisphere. The primary charter season is from April to November.

The area is vast, and provides passengers an almost endless variety of cultures, sceneries, sea-going experiences and treasured memories.

Chartering had been described as the ultimate vacation, one that you must experience firsthand to understand. Costs have become comparable to many other means of travel and touring, so for your next ‘adventure’, especially if you are travelling with one or more other couples, consider the novelty and uniqueness of a becoming a Yachty.

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