What is the difference between a charter yacht broker and a travel agent?

A charter yacht broker will propose numerous luxury crewed charter yachts that meet your criteria and offer advise on possible itineraries for your dream destination. As your broker we will work with many different yachts and offer totally unbiased advice regarding the selection process to find the perfect vacation for you personally. A travel agent mainly concentrates on land-based vacations and doesn’t have our expertise and vast experience of yachts and yachting destinations.

How will Yacht Charter Specialists assist us to plan our charter?

Yacht Charter Specialists will work with you to determine what type of yacht you require and which destination is best suited to your needs. YCS will then propose several yachts for you to choose from. Because we work with many different vessels and crews we are able to offer you totally unbiased advice.

Why should l use a charter yacht broker?

Our advice and service to you is free. We can dove-tail all your requests to ensure that your needs are met and also help with flights or hotels ashore if needed.

We’ve never chartered before, is this the right vacation for us?

Why not try the vacation of a lifetime!

If you are looking for a unique vacation tailored to your specific needs, great food freshly prepared just for you served by your own personal chef aboard your own private restaurant floating under the stars, personal service, escaping the crowds, enjoying peace and quiet, watersports whenever you feel like it (which are usually included in the price) and total flexibility with regards to your itinerary, then yacht charter is definitely the right vacation for you.

Luxury yacht charter is like renting your own private villa except you get a lot more.

Each day you sail to a different destination to explore, so instead of just visiting one island you will have the freedom to cruise to many diverse islands.

Each day you get to decide if you would like to snorkel, sunbathe on a beautiful beach, go for a hike, take lunch or dinner ashore, check out one of the local bars, or just chill out; the choice is yours.

Yacht charter is suitable for all ages, so whether you’re a family, a group of friends or a couple wishing to have a honeymoon of a lifetime, this is the vacation for you.

Which type of yacht is best for me?

Perhaps our most valuable contribution to your yacht charter adventure is our assistance with boat selection. We will help you find your ideal vessel for your dream vacation, and more importantly find the right crew to fit in with your family or charter group.

What is the booking process?

Once you have chosen your yacht, Yacht Charter Specialists will place a two week hold on the yacht so that you have time to confirm your travel arrangements without anyone else overbooking your dream vacation. A charter agreement will be issued to you at this time for you to sign.

Once signed, you just need to email the agreement back to us and this will be sent to the owner of the yacht for counter signature. A fully executed copy of the signed charter agreement will be returned to you for your records. A deposit of 50% is payable upon signing the agreement and at this point your charter is confirmed.

The balance is payable two months prior to the commencement of your charter. Any monies deposited with Yacht Charter Specialists are held in a client escrow account for your peace of mind and security.

When is payment required?

Upon signing the charter agreement a 50% deposit is payable. The balance is payable two months prior to the commencement of your charter.

What is included?

This will depend upon which type of yacht you decide to charter and also your chosen destination. Your charter yacht is a luxury floating hotel which carries everything you will need for your vacation. All this information will be discussed with you during the dream yacht selection process.

For inclusive sailing charters in the Virgin Islands the yacht charter fee includes the running costs of the yacht and tender, use of on board water sports equipment (some yachts include diving), all meals taken on board (three meals per day and snacks), a free ship’s bar, local cruising taxes and permits. The only additional costs in the Virgin Islands are dockage if required, taxi to and from the airport, special requests for premium wines or special spirits and the crew gratuity.

For sailing charters elsewhere throughout the Caribbean it is the same terms as above except bar and beverages and cruising taxes and permits are charged an additional fee.

For superyacht charters (yachts 100ft plus), motor yachts and charters in the Mediterranean and Rest of the World the charter terms are known as plus all. This means that the charter fee is for the yacht only, and all expenses are additional – fuel, food, bar & beverages, local cruising taxes and permits, dockage, taxi to and from the yacht and crew gratuity. Due to the amount of additional costs an Advanced Provisioning Allowance (APA) of 30% is added to your charter agreement – this is standard practice. At the end of your charter the ships captain will provide you with a statement of account and any outstanding balance will be payable to you.

What’s included will be clearly indicated to you in our correspondence and it will be documented on the charter agreement.

Are there any hidden extras?

We try and avoid hidden extras. We will discuss your budget and advise on the best yacht for your needs. We will inform you if there are additional costs on the yacht you have chosen so that you know in advance.

What time of year is best to book a charter & when is the best time to travel?

The sooner you book your charter the greater choice of yachts you will have, for peak vacation times like Christmas, and New Year you are advised to book up 6 months or more in advance.

The Caribbean hurricane season is officially 1st June – 30th November each year, however the peak time for hurricane activity is usually September and October. Some charter yachts remain in the Caribbean year round and in fact some of the best cruising takes place during this period. However, if you are chartering in the Caribbean during hurricane season you may wish to take out Trip Cancellation Insurance.

In the Mediterranean most yachts are generally available from May until mid October, however again you will find some yachts based in the Med are available year around, and we can advice you regarding your options.

If you wish to travel further a field to the Rest of the World please contact us to discuss your charter options further.

Can we choose the food and drinks that we like?

Definitely. Upon signing the charter agreement we will issue you with a Preference Sheet and on this document you state any dietary requirements & food allergies, what food you like and dislike, the types of cuisine you want on your vacation menu and what you like to drink. The chef will then use this document to create a menu especially for your charter. Typically the same dish is served to all the charter guests at lunchtime and dinner, with more variation at breakfast time.

If you are chartering in the Virgin Islands most yachts offer a free ship’s bar, so some requested drinks may not be included, however the captain can purchase any special brands that you require and they will be aboard upon your arrival. The yacht captain will provide you with a ship’s account at the end of the charter which is usually payable in cash prior to disembarkation, but other arrangements can be made.

How do we notify the yacht of or food and drink preferences?

Once your charter has been confirmed Yacht Charter Specialists will email you a Preference Sheet for completion, here you specify what types of food & drink you require and notify the yacht of any food allergies.

What should we pack?

Dependent upon your chosen destination Yacht Charter Specialists will provide you with a list of items we recommend you pack. You will be amazed as to how light you can travel because so much is provided for you!

Passports are a requirement for most destinations and visas may also be required. Dependent upon your proposed destination and your citizenship, we will advise you of the exact requirements.

Do we require travel insurance?

We recommend Trip Cancellation Insurance for your peace of mind. This will cover you during the Hurricane Season in the Caribbean, if a member of your family or party is taken ill, or if you have to cancel your charter for any reason.

Can l be contacted in a case of an emergency?

Prior to your charter you will be provided with an emergency contact number for your yacht which you can leave with friends and relatives. Also, most yachts now have an Internet connection on board for easy communications. Yachts may provide this free of charge. We will advise you what services are available on each vessel when we explore yachts for you to charter.

Are children allowed on a charter yacht?

The majority of yachts allow children onboard. Children love being onboard a yacht as there are so many new thrills for them to experience, whether it’s sailing, fishing, snorkeling, watersports or playing on a beautiful white sandy beach lined with palm trees. Many parents have commented after their charter that they have never seen their children engage so much as they have done during the family vacation onboard a luxury charter yacht.

My children prefer simpler meals; will this be a problem for the yacht?

Please notify us about this when discussing your charter and we can advise you of the yachts that can cater with a different, simpler meal for younger children. Yachts galleys tend to be a lot smaller in size than your kitchen at home; hence your chef will serve the same meal at lunchtime or dinner to all the guests. However certain yachts can assist with preparing a special meal. Yacht Charter Specialists will discuss this with the yacht’s crew prior to you signing the charter agreement.

I have teenage kids, will they get bored on the yacht?

Most charter yachts carry a good selection of water sports equipment.

These water sports will keep teenagers entertained for hours, typical equipment includes standup paddle boards (SUPS), kayaks, wakeboards, water skies, kneeboards, donuts and snorkeling equipment.

Some yachts will offer diving for teenagers and free tuition.

Superyachts will also come complete with several tenders and dinghies, jet skies and some will have Hobbie cats or Laser dinghies and maybe Diver Propulsion Vehicles (DSVs) for use when diving.

Onboard your charter yacht there will be a good selection of music & DVDs and most yachts have an Ipod hook up so teens can listen to their own music below and on deck.

Some yachts carry board and beach games.

Whilst cruising around the islands you will have time to hike and explore ashore, or enjoy a shopping trip. Some islands have historical sites to visit, tropical rain forests, volcanoes, mountains, waterfalls, botanical gardens. Kitesurfing has become very popular and some charter yachts offer this onboard, whilst others can fix up a lesson for you ashore with a local expert.

And most importantly of all is the trill of sailing. Most charter yacht captains are happy for you to take your turn at helming the yacht and will pass on some sailing tips. And whilst sailing along you can always try your hand at catching your own dinner, so there are plenty of activities for teens to enjoy on a sailing vacation!

Will we suffer from seasickness?

The vast majority of charter guests do not suffer from seasickness, and we can advise you on the type of yacht that may be best for you and travel destination to limit seasickness if you are prone. There are a number of very effective non-drowsy inducing seasickness tablets and patches available as well as travel wrist bands and natural remedies that you may wish to purchase prior to your sailing vacation. If you have any concerns regarding this matter please discuss them with us and we can advise you accordingly.

Can we see an itinerary?

Yacht Charter Specialists is happy to provide you with an outline itinerary and some suggestions on great anchorages that you may wish to consider.

Your charter yacht captain will sit down with you at the start of your charter, and probably on most mornings, to discuss your options for the day based upon the current weather conditions and also the information that you have provided to the yacht on your Preference Sheet.

If you like a particular anchorage and you’d like to stay longer, that’s not a problem, your vacation is totally flexible and designed around what you want to do.

It’s only the pickup and drop-off locations and the cruising area that have already been agreed when you chartered the yacht. This is what makes chartering a yacht so very special.

You have no fixed plans or itineraries. You can decide each day what you would like to do and where you would like to go.

Do we pay for your advice?

Our advice if free of charge, so ask as many questions as you like!

How are gratuities handled with the crew?

Typically a guideline for crew gratuities is 10 – 20% of the yacht charter fee, however crew gratuities are entirely discretionary.

The crew aboard your luxury charter yacht are very professional, experienced and in many cases, know exactly what you require before you even have to ask for it. They will provide you with an exceptionally high level of service.

Read here for updated information on this summers tragic Caribbean storms Hurricane Irma & Hurricane Maria.