For the uninitiated, contemplating luxury crewed yacht charters can be intimidating. How does this work? How much does it cost? Whats included? How much should we tip? What should we take? When can we go?
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Waking up on a yacht gives you a new lease on how good life truly is; simplified, unplugged, just down to the main principles of really good food, some great play-time and ethereal evenings spent sheltered beneath an awe inspiring canopy of stars. There simply is no experience that compares; unpack once, experience many places, stay awhile and return refreshed full of real experiences to share and encourage others to get out of the box and into the great blue wonder that is our world afloat; the Big Blue is like no other holiday!
As a starting point, Big Blue Yacht Charters can advise you on the best seasons for various destinations and match your needs (and your budget) with the perfect yacht and crew. Big Blue will endeavour to make sure everything goes smoothly so you have a successful charter.
What are the costs and payments?
Typically, a 50 percent deposit is required at the contract signing. The remaining 50 percent, plus an Advanced Provisioning Allowance (APA) to pay for food and beverages, is required one month before the charter begins. Keep in mind that the quoted charter fee or base rate is only a part of the final, total cost. This is a part of a pricing system that operates in the charterer’s favour by charging only for those items that the charterer actually uses.
For instance, because of the Mediterranean’s concentration of shoreside attractions, yachts often cover only small distances, thereby reducing fuel costs, and charter parties may dine ashore regularly, lowering food consumption aboard. Some charter parties might wish to berth in a marina every night while others will prefer to stay at anchor.
So, rather than including a “catch- all” fee for such items such as fuel, food and marina charges, terms assure charterers are only asked to pay for commodities they actually consume. A charterer should be aware that the location and itinerary, together with the cost of food, beverages, fuel and marina charges, can be 30 percent in addition to the charter base fee. Big Blue will go over this factor plus confirm the applicable tax(VAT) rate.
At the end of the charter, the principal charterer will be provided a full account with relevant receipts of the expenses paid out and balance.
How much do I tip? It’s customary to leave a tip for the crew at the end of the charter, usually 10 - 20 percent of the base charter fee. You can leave this with the captain at the end of the charter or with Big Blue for onward distribution on your behalf ideally as you disembark. These amounts can be scaled up or down according to your satisfaction.
What’s in a charter contract?
Most large yachts charter in the Mediterranean under standard agreement and terms. A standard yacht charter is normally seven full days, so if you board at 3pm on a Saturday you can stay until 3pm the following Saturday.
The conditions of this agreement, will usually be signed by four people: the principal charterer, the owner of the yacht, a stakeholder usually the yacht’s central agent, and the charter brokerage and is typically for the charter base rate, which is the yacht, crew and insurance. APA is often included with the second instalment.
This is also the contract type typically adopted for luxury crewed yacht charters in U.S. waters although some yachts use an alternative combination of a demise agreement and separate yacht services agreement. A variant of the standard Mediterranean agreement most often used by smaller yachts in Turkish waters, is slightly more inclusive, usually including up to five hours of fuel per day, dockage and the crew’s food.
In the Caribbean, yachts of less the 115’ (35m) are usually chartered under terms and rates which are inclusive of food, fuel and drinks, excluding premium alcohols.
You may be surprised by the length of the contract document, but its detail makes sense when you consider that you are being “given the keys” to someone’s multimillion-dollar investment. The agreement protects and clearly defines the rights and obligations of each party.
Do I need charter insurance?
No one goes on holiday thinking that they will meet with the unforeseen or unfavourable, so it is wise to be prepared. Travel insurance for flight and luggage delays plus medical are a given nowadays. However Big Blue will bring attention to the contract clauses that outline the yachts insurance requirements; such as does the yacht’s insurance policy cover guests for third party liability, loss of possessions and personal accidents. Your insurance broker can be informed of the yachts coverage and any specifics not covered can then be insured privately, if necessary.
What’s a preference sheet?
Once your luxury crewed yacht charters booked, you’ll be asked an array of questions in order to best customize your experience. This preference list covers everything from dietary requirements and favourite beverages to details about medical conditions and allergies. Celebrating an occasion such as an anniversary or birthday on board? Be sure to provide this information in a timely fashion so that Big Blue may inform the captain thus allowing time for the chef and crew to plan ahead.