Choosing a luxury yacht charter affords you complete control over every aspect of your holiday, and best of all, in the world of yachting, there are people who help you every step of the way.
A broker will work with you to figure the destinations, the yacht, the itinerary and the menu — even the Champagne. From the captain to the chef, professional yacht crew have the training and skills to provide luxury service and complete safety as you cruise.
Crews know the ins and outs of practically every cruising destination. From the hot spots to the best spas to off-the-beaten-path restaurants, your broker and crew can facilitate everything from VIP access to the best clubs, to a private table at the restaurant you want to dine at. To get you started, we spoke to executives and top brokers at Northrop & Johnson, which was founded in 1949 and today ranks as the number one broker in the U.S. The Ft. Lauderdale based company has 17 offices worldwide to provide localized service to you.
Questions to Ask Your Broker
Are you new to chartering a yacht? We talked to Northrop & Johnson’s top brokers to tap into their expertise. Here are some questions to consider to consider.
How large will your party be?
This dictates the size of the yacht you will want to charter. Be sure to specify if there are any children in your party, along with their ages.
Where do you want to cruise?
There are charter yachts available worldwide, although you will find the highest concentration of yachts in the Med during the summer and Caribbean and Bahamas for the winter.
What type of vibe do you want?
Each yacht crew has their own personality. Some provide a more formal level of white glove service while others are known to excel with families and young children. Your broker knows the captain, the crew and will guide you to the boat that matches what you want.
What are the amenities you want?
Yachts vary widely in amenities – from pools and Jacuzzis to water sports and gym equipment, beach clubs and movie theatres. A good broker will take your input and come back with the options that best fit your needs.
Where do you want to go?
The beauty of chartering your own yacht is that the itinerary is designed around you and is tailored to suit your wishes. Your broker and captain will provide a suggested itinerary and will work with you to personalize it, offering their own recommendations along the way.
What do you want to eat?
You set the menu. Your crew will take care of provisioning everything that’s needed to provide you with the types of dishes you and your companions want. Dietary needs and preferences can be accommodated. Your broker also know the chefs on each yacht, and can advise you. For example, some chefs have experience from fine dining restaurants while others are more akin to the personal chef you might have in your home.
What do you want to see?
Your broker will work with partners in each port to arrange sightseeing or shopping excursions, or book any other activities you want to partake in, including renting cars and exotic autos. Use your yacht as a moving headquarters to see visit as few or as many places as you want.
Does your itinerary make sense?
Many brokers will say first timers want to do too much in too short a time. Perhaps you can go for two weeks instead of one, or if you have limited time, trust your broker to advise the number of ports that will fit into your charter.
Can I bring my dog?
Whilst most yachts decline having pets on board, some owners will allow you to bring your dog. If this is important to you, tell your broker.
What happens if there is a breakdown or weather interferes?
This is covered in your charter contract, and your broker will be able to advise you.
What happens to my money between when I send it and when we cruise?
Your money should be held in an escrow account. Ask your broker for details.
How far in advance should you contact your broker?
Brokers recommend at least three to six months. As no two yachts are the same, the inventory changes and that yacht you were thinking about, once it’s gone, you might find it difficult to find something quite the same. Popular charter yachts book as much as a year in advance.
What else do I pay for besides the charter?
Food and beverages, fuel, gratuities to the crew and port charges are extra. These can range widely, but budget 25-50% of your charter cost, depending on your chosen yacht and itinerary. Your broker will set up an onboard expense account with the captain (known as an Advance Provisioning Allowance or APA) and you will need to wire money to fund this account in advance of your charter. You will get an itemized invoice and updates as the captain uses money in the account for provisions, fuel and other expenses. Anything left in the account at the end of the trip will be returned to you.
Where should my voyage start and end?
Your broker will work with you to find the most advantageous ports to start and end based on where you want to go and where the yacht is sailing before and after your cruise.
How do I stay in touch while at sea?
These days most yachts are set up with Wifi and satellite communications. Your cell service should also work when cruising near to the shore. Ask your broker for specifics on the yachts you are interested in.
How do the payments work?
Upon signing the agreement, typically you will be asked to pay 50% of the charter amount as a deposit. The balance is generally due one month before your charter starts, along with the APA funds mentioned above.
What’s the standard gratuity for the crew?
Gratuities vary but typically start at 10% with many customers tipping 15% or more for excellent service.
Who’s in charge?
While you chartered the yacht, keep in mind that your captain is responsible for your safety as well as adhering to international maritime law and local regulations of the places you will visit.
Can I visit a yacht before booking it?
It’s not unusual to visit boat shows such as Palm Beach, Monaco, Miami and Ft. Lauderdale to not only see yachts firsthand but also to meet with the crew. The next show coming up is Palm Beach International Boat Show March 22-25. Brokers attend the show to host clients and prospects who want to tour yachts and see them firsthand before deciding on a charter. If you are interested in attending email charter@NorthropandJohnson.com.
Hot Med Superyacht Charters
When one thinks of summer destinations popular for superyachts, today you will find charter options around-the-world, including Alaska, New England and even the Caribbean. Yet it’s the Mediterranean, the classic, that remains the most popular, say Northrop & Johnson brokers. And when you think of the Med, there are multiple cruising regions to focus on, from Marbella, Barcelona, Mallorca, Ibiza, the South of France, Sardinia and the Amalfi Coast in the west to the Greek Isles, Croatia and Turkey, which are popular as you go east and Malta in the middle. Below are four yachts Northrop & Johnson still has availability on for the summer in the Med, or you can view more options here on the yacht finder on their website.
Victoria del Mar
The 164-foot (49.9m) Delta luxury superyacht VICTORIA DEL MAR is one of the top charter yachts in the world. This motor yacht was launched in 2006, but her 2014 complete refit ensured her like-new condition.
Twelve guests are easily accommodated in seven staterooms aboard VICTORIA DEL MAR. She welcomes any type of charter from families to groups of friends and beyond. The yacht’s master stateroom is located on the bridge deck and has access to a semi-private deck area, among other spaces on board. Two VIP staterooms, two queen staterooms and two twins also are available.
The modern amenities on board VICTORIA DEL MAR further enhance guests’ charter experiences. From the impressive art collection, including, Elsworth Kelly, Andy Warhol and Joan Miro, to the main salon’s open layout and formal dining with a bespoke glass chandelier to the full gym, which can be converted to a spa, VICTORIA DEL MAR doesn’t disappoint. The yacht’s skylounge, verged by private balconies, is the perfect place to kick back after a day of playing on the water.
On deck, guests can lounge on sunpads, dip in the Jacuzzi, dine alfresco and enjoy evening movies thanks to the 100-inch movie screen on the sundeck. Prices start at $235,000 per week, plus expenses
Sought after by charter guests around the world, the 173-foot (52.8m) luxury superyacht VIXIT is extremely comfortable and luxurious. This classic motor yacht has benefitted from numerous refits throughout her life, including the most recent in 2013.
Luxury yacht VIXIT welcomes up to 12 guests aboard. The master and VIP staterooms are located on the main deck; below deck, four additional staterooms are located.
Those athletically inclined will enjoy the onboard gym, which also has a steam shower. After hitting the weights, soak up the sun on the sundeck’s sunpads, dip in the Jacuzzi or enjoy an alfresco meal at the main deck aft lounge or the forward seating area. VIXIT offers a bevy of tenders and water toys for guests to enjoy during their charter. VIXIT is available for $195,000 per week, plus expenses.
Built by the renowned Dutch shipyard Feadship, HARLE is an impressive 147-foot (44.7m) well respected charter yacht with an impeccable reputation for being one of the best yachts on the water. Built in 2007 and refitted in 2017, this yacht is sleek and sexy.
Twelve guests are welcomed aboard to enjoy the luxury lifestyle at sea. The large master, two double staterooms and two twin staterooms offer guests beautiful places to rest their heads. From the main deck salon to the bridge deck lounge, the interior spaces have been designed with luxury living and comfort in mind. HARLE is well suited for entertaining or relaxing. The multipurpose lazerette can be utilized as a gym or a recreation area when using the yacht’s water toys. The swim platform is a favorite spot for a private beach club set up with easy access to the water. HARLE is available from $225,000 per week, plus expenses.
Chic and sleek, the Italian-build 140-foot (43m) luxury motor yacht ‘H is the epitome of on-ocean style. From her alfresco spaces, including a sundeck with a Jacuzzi and sunpads and a multipurpose beach club where guests can enjoy the at-sea lifestyle upclose and personal, to her Zen-like interior with comfortable furnishings and a sophisticated design, ‘H truly has it all.
Ten guests are accommodated on board. The expansive master suite boasts 900 square feet of elegance. Large windows flood the space with natural light and offer incredible views. Four additional guestrooms, including two kings and two twins, are located below deck. They are outfitted to the highest spec and feature private en-suite bathrooms. The yacht’s private gym is well equipped for even the most enthusiastic fitness buff and the yacht’s tenders and toys will keep everyone entertained and having fun while on board. ‘H is available from $150,000 per week, plus expenses.
Northrop & Johnson has brokers located around the world who speak a variety of languages. Email charter@NorthropandJohnson.com