When you book a charter yacht, the process to officially confirm the booking comes through an executed agreement between you and the yacht owner. Within that agreement, you will find a cancellation provision as well as a Force Majeure clause. Depending on the agreement being used by the owner, fear of travel – you’re not feeling secure about a situation in the destination where you are booked – is not a reason where a full refund would be triggered, nor does it trigger the Force Majeure clause in this particular case.
In many of the industry-standard charter agreements, the following cancellation provision would apply in which a portion of the charter fee could be returned:
If the CHARTERER cancels the charter before the start of the Charter Period, the OWNER may retain any amounts paid by the CHARTERER as of the date of cancellation and any amounts due but unpaid as of the date of cancellation will remain payable. The OWNER and the BROKER shall use reasonable efforts to book a new charter for all or part of the Charter Period. If the OWNER books a new charter for all or part of the Charter Period, the CHARTERER will receive a refund equal to the net proceeds of the new charter after deducting 20% of the Charter Fee (covering the BROKER’s commission, the STAKEHOLDER’s fee, and administrative costs) and any expenses incurred by the OWNER due to CHARTERER’s cancellation for the cost of provisions and special requests. If, despite reasonable efforts, the OWNER is unable to book a new charter, the CHARTERER will receive no refund.
Alternatively, the primary course of action in this situation is to reschedule the charter within twelve (12) months of the scheduled charter date and with no penalty to apply. If you are unwilling to reschedule and should you have purchased a travel insurance policy with the cancel for any reason (CFAR) endorsement, your insurance policy may repay some or all of the charter fee. Otherwise, it will be up to the owner’s discretion and good faith to go against their contractual obligation and return the charter fee.