Yacht Charter Vacations

By Yacht Charters Guru

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Booking Process

After you have chosen which yacht and crew best fit your needs we will confirm the yacht’s availability for your dates. Once availability is confirmed we will put a standard 2 week hold on that yacht’s booking schedule. The terms of your charter are typically based on the Charter Yacht Brokers Association (CYBA) Charter Agreement, an industry standard.

During this period you will sign a contract with the yacht or agency and make the deposit. The deposit and charter fee is put into an escrow account for your protection. If it is more than 6 months away you will pay a 25% deposit and then another 25% at 6 months prior to charter date. The remaining 50% is generally due 60 days from the date of your charter. If it is under 6 months when you book your charter you will put a deposit of 50% and pay the balance in 60 days. Once the deposit is received and the contract is signed by both you and the owner of the yacht, your charter is confirmed.

About 30 days before your charter begins we will send you a “preference sheet”. This gives you the opportunity to make your requests known to the yacht’s chef for your menu. It also allows you to detail both your dietary and beverage needs along with any other preferences or requests for your crew.

YachtCharters.Guru is devoted to you, our client, and will remain involved to help you with any arrangements or needs you may have before and after your charter. We can help with concierge travel arrangements for your vacation.

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Will the yachts negotiate on the charter rate/price?

No. Save yourself the wasted time of trying to find a better deal on a crewed charter yacht on another sailing vacation website. Our recommended yachts set their own rates. These are "published rates" within the industry which are priced competitively based on current market trends. The yachts who are professional play by the industry rules. However, several of our yachts do offer published specials throughout the year. See our regularly updated Yacht Specials for further information.

How can I find and choose the right yacht charter for me?

Try our Yacht Charter Search function to decide which type of yacht you desire and our destination articles to decide where you would like to cruise. You can then request a booking, or contact us to fine tune your selection and receive yacht chartering advice and any current special deals. 

Do I have to charter a yacht for a week?

No. Although many crewed yacht charter owners require a one week, from 12 o'clock noon to 12 o'clock noon, especially during high season, many owners are willing to charter their yacht for the shorter duration. Charters can be booked starting and ending on any day of the week. The only exception is with Christmas and New Years charters; because they are back-to-back holiday weeks, the yachts do mandate specific date ranges so that they can secure a week long charter for each holiday. Charters of 5 nights or less will typically include at least a 10% surcharge. We recommend a minimum charter length of 5 nights, simply because you cannot see and do it all in 3 nights! Trust on this! 

*Note: It's never too early to book a charter, particularly a holiday charter such as Christmas or New Years charter in the BVI. Spring Break and Valentines Day/Week is very popular. Booking your charter at least one year in advance is often necessary to secure the yacht of your choice.

What is the cost of a crewed yacht charter?

The cost of your crewed yacht charter depends on a couple of different things. The larger the yacht and the more crew it uses, generally the more expensive it will be. Newer yachts are often more expensive, although this is not always the case as sometimes older, classic yachts may have been constructed with the best materials money can buy and finest attention to detail. Motor yachts and power catamarans are usually more expensive than sailboats or yachts by length.

The length of time you charter your yacht, of course, also determines cost. Most yacht charter guests charter for one week or longer. Some yachts may be willing to offer a discount for an extended yacht charter of 10 days to 3 weeks. 

Are there hidden extras - what will I REALLY end up paying?

The base charter fee pays for the rental of the yacht and services of the crew for the duration of your charter. All other items, unless specifically itemized in the contract, are extra and will be billed at cost. You'll know before you arrive onboard the yacht if there will be addition charges and how much they will be. Depending on the yacht, additional charges may include high-end wines/liquors, food, fuel, moorings used while on charter, occasionally use of certain water toys and diving. Typically, the only item excluded from our all inclusive charters is the standard 15-20% crew gratuity. You'll tip your Captain and Crew at the end of your charter according to the quality of service you've received during your stay. 

Once I book a charter, what are my payment options?

The most common means of paying is by bank wire transfer. Prior to payment, your contract will clearly detail the amounts and dates of payments. 

How can I trust that my payments will reach the yacht's owner?

Clients often ask how can they be assured that funds paid to us will reach the yacht owner. Here's the assurance we can provide to you: We are upstanding members of key industry organizations using the standard recognized contract created by the Charter Yacht Brokers Association (CYBA). 

We pay the Yacht's Agent immediately upon receiving money from you. Your funds will be held in recognized charter yacht trust account. The rule is: one half of your charter funds will be sent to the yacht 10 days before your charter in order to provision the yacht for your sailing vacation. The final one half payment will be made to the yacht on the day you get onboard. We do not sit on the money or try to "bank it" to make money on the float. That's why we prefer to work with bank transfers - they're easy, safe and secure. All of our charters are contractual, which provides significant protections for you. Please read the fine print, or ask us to explain the numerous ways you are well protected.

How does YachtCharters.Guru get paid - you say your service is free?

We act as an independent yacht charter broker, matching your needs with the ideal yacht and crew. The Crewed charter yacht industry has established standard practices to protect all parties involved in the process. The Central Agent for the yacht (the company under contract to manage the yacht on behalf of the owner, which includes keeping the charter calendar) pays us a commission out of the charter fee for finding the customer and taking care of all questions, paperwork, and payments.

Our prices come from a standard price list that is set by the yacht owner and is therefore the same as the price that the charter operator offers to the general public. Normally charter operators do not reduce prices for individuals, so the price we propose to you is the best price you'll receive.

What if I want to cancel my charter?

The charter agreement will document what happens in various circumstances if the charter is cancelled. We recommend trip insurance to all our clients. Trip or Travel insurance covers your group in case of cancellation due to unforeseen circumstances.  This insurance will protect you from any loss of cancellation fees.

What kind of quality control do you have on the yachts you represent - how do I know they will be in great condition?

All crewed charter yachts, whether they are owner/operator, (like we were) or hired crew, must adhere to the local maritime laws and regulations. This is your primary protection, and in most cases the rules are quite strict. Newly imposed maritime law in the U.S. Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands require that the yachts are inspected for MCW safety individually by each country's official representative. All crewed vacation yachts are required to carry a certain amount of liability insurance. 

Most of the yachts that YachtCharters.Guru propose are CYBA approved yachts, meaning that they are managed by a strict set of standards set by a Charter Yacht Broker Association Board of Governors in order to be booked by a CYBA representative.

Beyond the above standards, we strive to propose yachts where we personally know the Captain, crew and yacht. We regularly tour as many yachts as possible, speaking with the Captain and crew, to intimately understand the yacht and service you will receive. We will regularly attend several of the Charter Industry shows, such as the CYBA Charter Shows in the USVI & BVI as well as the Antigua Charter Show, where stunning new yachts and those most popular on the charter circuit are on display for Brokers. We regularly post descriptive information about the exciting luxury yachts we visit on our blog

How Do We Get There?

British Virgin Islands: There are no direct flights to the BVI from the US mainland, Canada or Europe. Flights usually connect via Puerto Rico, St Thomas or Antigua. The BVI Tourism Board has provided handy information on the most direct routes to Tortola, depending on your point of origin HERE. Tortola’s Terrence B Lettsome Airport, airport code EIS is the gateway. It’s a modern facility with an ATM, car rental, internet cafe and food concessions. The tiny airports on Virgin Gorda and Anegada are for small charter planes only.

U.S. Virgin Islands: It can be less expensive to fly into and out of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. The airport code is STT. Many yachts like to pick their charter guests up in the USVI. The U.S. Virgin Islands has daily, nonstop flights from New York, Newark, Baltimore, Atlanta, Miami, Philadelphia, Boston, Charlotte, Detroit, Chicago and Fort Lauderdale. Connecting flights are available to and from Los Angeles, Dallas, New York, Miami and Atlanta via the San Juan hub. In addition, there's connecting service from Canada, Europe, South America and the Far East. Commuter service between San Juan, St. Croix and St. Thomas is also available. Commuter airlines can transport you between islands in as little as 17 minutes. The seaplane is an exciting way to travel between St. Thomas and the British Virgin Islands.

Getting Ready for a Sailing Vacation: 

What type of activities will there be to do on my yacht chartering vacation?

A few of the more common activities which yacht charter guests can enjoy includes scuba diving (this may be onboard or rendezvous diving depending on the yacht), the ever popular stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, jet skiing, water skiing, wake-boarding, snorkeling, swimming, sunbathing, dining, beach bar hopping, shopping, fishing, hiking, geocaching, sailing - the list goes on depending on interests. Use our experience to fit the best type of yacht and location to your desired activities.

Is fishing an option on these charters?

Yes! Most of our yachts offer on-board fishing. Fishing licenses are required for anyone 18 years of age or older that wants to fish while in the BVI. Learn more about BVI fishing license rules and regulations as well as why you want to obtain your fishing license in advance. One month in advance of your charter, YachtCharters.Guru will provide you with all the necessary details.

What about scuba diving on these yachts?

Many of the yachts we represent feature scuba diving with enthusiastic, professional onboard Dive Masters or Dive Instructors. Some yachts offer rendezvous diving with a company who will meet you at your charter yacht and whisk you off in their fast dive boat for a 2-tank morning or afternoon dive. 

What will my itinerary include and where can we sail?

This depends on your destination and the yacht you charter. As a general rule your itinerary will be based on your interests and requests. YachtCharters.Guru along with the Captain and crew will have in-depth knowledge about the area whether at sea or ashore. Your itinerary will be tailored largely to your wishes and is very flexible, however do depend on weather and wind conditions.  If you need more information about your chosen charter location contact us and we will let you know what type of attractions that particular location features.

What type of food and drinks will be served onboard?

Once you have confirmed a booking, YachtCharters.Guru will send you a preference sheet to complete. The preference sheets are a great chance to let the crew know about your likes and dislikes. Many of the yachts are known for their Award-winning cuisine, so eating and drinking will be a very enjoyable part of your charter vacation. It's very important to spend some quality time filling out your preference sheet with some thought about not just your preferences; but each member of your group. The more the crew know about you the better so they can stock the yacht with all of your favorite things. Your menus will be created around your group's individual food preferences, appealing to most appetites, tastes and dietary needs with prior warning of your group's requirements. 

What do I need to pack and bring for the yacht chartering vacation?

As with most holidays or vacations the general rule is: the least amount of luggage you have, the better. If you've never been on crewed sailing vacation, it's hard imagine what it is that you are going to be doing while on your particular charter. Much of the time you may be swimming, snorkeling or sunbathing - a one night during your charter might be dining onshore at a restaurant. But the mood in the Caribbean is casual and so is the dress. The type of charter and location dictates what is advisable to bring. We can give you advice on what to pack for specific charter destinations.

Some items which are worth considering are: light summer clothing such as shorts, tops, skirts, sun hats or caps, sandals, trainers or sneakers or soft soled athletic shoes, bathing and swim suits and warmer clothing for night wear such as sweatshirt, sweater, windbreaker, jeans, light pants. 

Remember to bring any personal items such as passports and visas as well as medication or personal sport equipment. Softer luggage is ideal for fitting into cabin lockers and is generally more practical on a yacht. Learn more on our Advice page!

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Tell Us About Your Needs:

What Type of Yacht Do You Want to Charter?
What's Your Group's Approx. Budget?
Does Anyone in Your Group Smoke?