Yacht Charters

Upscale amenities and exclusivity are driving the popularity of yacht cruises

By: By Jonathan Siskin

Yachts can give guests access to land excursions typically off-limits to larger vessels. // (c) The Moorings
Yachts can give guests access to land excursions typically off-limits to larger vessels. 

Yacht charters appeal to upscale clients in the market for a cruise that combines exclusivity, privacy and flexibility with top-of-the-line accommodations and amenities. Charters are not only high-ticket items but have a strong repeat factor, as they often generate future business from satisfied clients.

Yachts typically accommodate anywhere from six to 12 passengers and offer clients the opportunity to customize their own itineraries. Yachts can transport guests safely for close-up views of marine habitats and also provide access to land excursions that are off-limits to most passenger vessels.

As the popularity of charters continues to grow, celebrities, along with corporate executives, are willing to spend top dollar for yachts equipped with luxury amenities such as onboard spas, beauty salons, king-size beds and Internet connectivity. Agents can rack up hefty commissions by selling yacht cruises that range from $25,000 to upward of $100,000 per week.

Both crewed and bareboat yachts can be booked on itineraries from the Caribbean, Alaska, the Mediterranean and Mexico to far-flung locations in the Indian Ocean and South Pacific. While crewed yachts have the major share of the charter
business, bareboat charters are favored by clients who are experienced sailors.

A longtime pacesetter in selling yacht charters is The Moorings www.themoorings.com, which has been in business for 40 years. Its large fleet of modern yachts, staffed by experienced crews sails virtually anywhere in the world. Popular destinations include the British Virgin Islands, Belize, the Greek Isles, Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast, the Galapagos Islands, the South Pacific (Tahiti) and the Indian Ocean (Seychelles).

In addition to staterooms, the Moorings’ all-inclusive fares cover all meals as well as beverages from a fully stocked bar, use of diving and snorkeling gear and other watersports equipment, such as kayaks and knee boards.

The four deluxe yachts in the fleet of American Safari Cruises www.amsafari.com may be chartered on itineraries including the Snake and Columbia rivers in the Pacific Northwest, Mexico’s Sea of Cortez and Alaska’s Inside Passage. There are also wine-tasting cruises in Washington’s wine country and sailings through the Hawaiian Islands. Both the Safari Spirit and Safari Escape accommodate a maximum of 12 passengers, while the Safari Quest has room for 22 and the Safari Explorer carries up to 36.

Other companies specializing in charters include Elite Yacht Charters www.eliteyacht.com, Charterworld www.charterworld.com and Arabella Cruises www.cruisearabella.com, which operates a three-masted schooner that sails on a series of New England itineraries.