There is nothing quite like the private yacht charter experience. It is a carefully customized vacation designed for you and your guests, whether family or friends. The best parts are the luxury, the attentive crew service, and the lack of limitations; you are able to choose your destinations, your amenities, and your adventures.
Another amazing option is the type of yacht. The question then becomes, “Which is the best yacht for charter for me and my group?”
We will demystify the various yacht types so you can more easily choose the best yacht for you. There isn’t a more luxurious way to travel the globe.
Luxury Yacht Charter Types
There are four primary choices for your upcoming private yacht charter vacation:
- Mega Yachts/Superyachts
- Motor Yachts
- Sailing Yachts
Mega Yachts and Superyachts
As the name indicates, a mega yacht or superyacht is the supersized version of a motor yacht or sailing yacht. They measure at least 150 feet from bow to stern.
These magnificent vessels often sport out-of-this-world amenities, including offices, gyms, additional exterior spaces, and spa facilities. It’s not uncommon to find beauty treatment rooms, massage therapy spaces, and even Turkish baths (also known as hammams) on board. Helicopter pads on the top level provide great transportation options as long as the yacht is a safe distance away from any busy port. The aft “garage” on the lower deck may house an impressive collection of water toys and a stern platform powered by hydraulics that can be lowered into the water to allow guests to sun themselves while resting in cool ocean waters.
The crews on board super yachts are well-trained in the art of exquisite customer service. Your superyacht charter will include full nighttime turn-down service, laundry, packing and unpacking, and complete interior and exterior service for meals, drinks, water toys, and shoreside access. The mega yacht does boast a bigger price tag, of course, for this full and incredible experience. A superyacht is synonymous with luxury and glamour, affording families and friends the freedom to travel to the world’s most glittering destinations in ultimate comfort and privacy, or to the most remote corners to explore and relax in pampered comfort.
While most superyachts are power yachts, some are sailing yachts, such as the famous Maltese Falcon built by Perini Navi in Istanbul, Turkey. One important note: No matter the size of the mega charter yacht, the restriction on the number of guests remains. Twelve people on board is the maximum, which means no more than six or seven guest staterooms.
Motor yachts sport engines and no sails, and can measure at least 60 feet (18 meters) on to 150 feet (45 meters).They can move from point A to point B without worries about wind direction and/or velocity. On board, the crew consists of, at minimum, two crew, a captain, and a chef/mate. Up to 12 guests are allowed, depending on the size of the motor yacht and number of staterooms, and some of the bigger motor yachts can have as many as 14 crew members.
There may be a gym and an on-deck hot tub. The chef on the larger motor yachts normally has gourmet culinary training. There are usually plenty of water toys to keep people of all ages entertained. Pricing fits many budgets as motor yachts come in such a broad variety of sizes. Some customers also prefer a motor yacht to a mega yacht for the more casual lifestyle with fewer on-board crew.
Of course, a sailing yacht has at least one mast with sails. Underneath the hull, there is also a long keel or protrusion extending into the water. This mast and keel steady a sailing yacht so that those on board are not as affected by sea conditions as when on a motor yacht. That same mast and keel, however, can restrict sailing yachts to certain ports or dockage areas if the water is shallow or away from locations that might have restricted access due to bridges that might be lower than the height of the sailing yacht mast.
Sailing yachts have no more than three decks. A rare sight is the fixed flybridge deck, which is only found on larger sailing yachts. This is an exterior spot for additional sunning with great views and may have a jacuzzi. The wheel, lines, winches, and navigation instruments are on the main deck. Living and sleeping quarters are located in the interior of the hull.
The primary amenity offered on a luxury sailing yacht charter is the art of sailing. It is a constant while you are on board, whether you are sailing for the pure exhilaration of the wind in your hair, to go from anchorage to anchorage, or to see how fast your sailing yacht can sail with well-trimmed sails.
A sailing yacht cannot always cruise in a straight line toward your destination, especially if your destination is “upwind” from your current location. You must sail into the wind in a zig-zag manner. Obviously a motor yacht can go as the crow flies. If you are more interested in cruising directly between anchorages or ports, and are not into the sport and art of sailing, a sailing yacht may not be for you. But if you enjoy the art of sailing and the sensation of using wind to get you to your next location, a sailing yacht is the only way to go.
Sailing and Power Catamarans
A yacht with one hull is called a monohull; a yacht with two hulls is called a catamaran. Catamarans can be sailing or power vessels, just like their monohull cousins. Catamarans are wider than monohulls, making them more stable in certain sea conditions, and on a sailing catamaran, the “heeling” aspect of sailing is reduced or non-existent. While the sailing or power catamaran may be shorter in length to a comparable monohull motor yacht or sailing yacht, the increased width, providing increased deck space, and interior volume make up that difference.
Usually catamarans have big open interior spaces, with large exterior aft cockpits and forward areas with trampolines between hulls, ideal for relaxing and sunning. If the catamaran has a flybridge, this is usually a large area as well with a great view. There is easy water access down stairways almost always built into the aft two hulls.
The Right Journey for Your Chosen Craft
The four different charter yacht options cannot all be found in every corner of the world and in each yacht cruising location. The yacht in question may not be the right type for that region or demand for that particular type may be higher elsewhere. Here is some general guidance as to whether or not certain charter locations will have your preferred charter yacht available.
The French Riviera is a mega and super yacht playground. These magnificent vessels can be seen lined up and docked in a glittering display. Guests on board can enjoy their time in privacy on the top deck or a little more publicly from the aft deck to partake in dazzling life on the quay. The Western Mediterranean is also a good location for motor yacht charter. The winds are too flukey, however, for a sailing yacht because they come over the cliffs directly behind the coastline of the Cote d’Azur. This is also a hard location in which to find catamarans.
For excellent sailing conditions, journey further south to Corsica or Sardinia. This is an area that can be enjoyed by chartering a megayacht or super yacht, motor yacht, sailing yacht, or power or sailing catamaran. Catamarans are in low supply here, but can be found depending on the schedule of the yacht. From Portofino, along the Cinque Terre, the Tuscan Islands, Pontine Islands, south to Capri and the Amalfi Coast, and even further south to the Aeolian Islands and Sicily, there are also great sailing winds, and any type of charter yacht can be chartered in this area if it is available.
The gorgeous Greek Islands are sprinkled across a wide area outside of Athens in the Aegean and Adriatic Seas. Mega yachts, super yachts, or motor yachts are best here for the speed provided by the engines to reach your favorite islands from Athens. For charters through the islands closest to Athens, there are great winds for a sailing yacht or a sailing catamaran.
Croatia is the land of 1,000 islands. With beautiful water and constant sailing winds, the choice of charter yacht is entirely yours based on availability.
With the balmy trade winds, the Caribbean is a great location for a sailing yacht charter. Sailing catamarans are a wonderful choice for easy access into beautiful clear Caribbean waters for a refreshing swim. The bulk of sailing and power catamarans in the Caribbean are located in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands. All four charter yacht types are available in the Caribbean, any one of which is a great choice according to your charter interests.
This is a charter location filled with shallow waters, so a megayacht or super yacht (or motor yacht) are the primary charter yacht choices. There are a few sailing catamarans in the Bahamas as well. However, this is not necessarily a sailing yacht location, as the keel under the hull, protruding a number of feet under the yacht, can cause sailing yachts to have to be anchored too far away from cays and beaches. Mega yachts, superyachts, and motor yachts can anchor close to the beaches in shallow, warm, beautiful water, where the crew can put out all of the water toys for hours of fun.
New England is the land of sailing, with sea breezes that are constantly blowing. This is an excellent sailing yacht charter location; however, it is also a great charter location for mega yachts/super yachts and motor yachts. While power and sailing catamarans are also a good choice, they are rarely available in this location.
The atolls of the Society Islands in French Polynesia, with their beautiful lagoons, are best for mega yacht or superyacht charters, motor yacht charters, or sailing or power catamaran charters. The deeper keels on sailing yachts make accessing these beautiful lagoons difficult. Due to the remoteness of French Polynesia, only a handful of charter yachts are available here at any given time.
Fiji is a great location for any one of the four types of charter yachts. In order to find one here, however, often the charter yacht must be delivered for an additional cost. This means the selection of charter yachts in Fiji fluctuates depending on availability.
Australia and New Zealand
Small charter fleets of yachts are available in Australia and New Zealand. Most are mega yachts, superyachts, and motor yachts. Availability can vary due to the small total number of yachts in each country’s waters.
Thailand and Myanmar are lovely yacht charter cruising destinations, and are suitable for any of the four types of charter yachts. Again, just a small total selection is available here.
Indonesia is a vast country, with yacht charter taking place in the eastern islands. This is a cruising area suitable for any of the four types of charter yacht, however only a small number of charter yachts are available, spread out from Komodo to Raja Ampat.
Your Charter Yacht Vacation
The right private yacht charter is out there and waiting for you. Whether you choose to journey past glaciers or atolls, hot springs, or waterfalls, we encourage you to work directly with an experienced charter broker to customize a truly epic vacation. Contact us with any more questions on private yacht charter types and where to find them.