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What does a yacht charter vacation cost?

Mega yacht with inflatable slide

The water laps delicately on the stern where the paddleboards are still tied off from your earlier exploring. You lean against the deck of your privately chartered catamaran. Ice swirls and clinks in your glass—the shades of pink in your cocktail make the turquoise water look even more vibrant… Think you could use more than a daydream yacht vacation about now?

How Much Does It Really Cost to Charter a Yacht?

The simple—and most honest answer—is ‘it depends.’

Ugh. I know. ‘It depends’ doesn’t get you any closer to actually creating your dream vacation.

A simple ballpark answer is that a private yacht charter can be as affordable as booking a people-packed moderately priced cruise ship vacation. Chartering a yacht is no longer only for high-end luxury budgets!

But first…

Let’s navigate through what factors affect the final cost so you can understand what those rates include and how to personalize your charter yacht vacation and budget.

What Comes Standard in Most Crewed Charters

To start, let’s identify what will remain standard across most crewed charter yachts.

While the length of the charter will impact the price, most charters are a minimum of 5 days, with 8 days/7 nights being the average minimum. Of course, two, three, or more weeks are possible.

Additionally, a crewed charter will include, at minimum, a captain and a chef/first mate.

Inclusive vs. Advanced Provisioning Allowance

The cost of food, beverages, mooring fees, and all the other expenses that will accrue during your charter is usually offered in two ways, ‘Inclusive’ or ‘Advanced Provisioning Allowance’ (APA). Here’s how those options breakdown:

  • Inclusive charters—usually include the vessel, crew services, meals, ship’s bar, fuel, cruising taxes and permits, mooring fees, and expenses related to running the yacht. Exceptions are noted in the Special Conditions of the Agreement.
  • Advanced Provision Allowance (APA) Charters—charge a separate deposit to accommodate expenses such as fuel, food, beverages, mooring fees, harbor or park fees. The captain will account for all APA expenses and present an itemized list of costs at the end of the charter. If the expenses incurred during the charter are less than the APA deposit, the difference is refunded. If the expenses exceed the allowance, the balance is due.

The charter style, inclusive or APA, is frequently based on the cruising area and type of yacht. For example, large power yachts are usually APA charters because the taste in food, drinks, and fuel usage varies significantly between guests. Sailing catamaran charters in the Caribbean are typically inclusive charters.
Now let’s explore all the fun options you can play with…

Type of Yacht

When it comes to selecting your yacht, your choices are almost limitless— from a romantic sailboat that can tuck up into the most tranquil of coves to a mega power yacht decked out with jacuzzies and enormous blowup waterslides.

The cost of the boat is affected not only by size but type (power or sail) and style. Just like cars, the more luxurious, the more expensive.

Cruising Destinations and Seasons

Where you choose to cruise is another big factor in the cost of your yacht charter. Similar yachts in the Bahamas, Virgin Islands, and the Mediterranean will have different charter costs.

Further, each charter destination has a season. For example, in the Virgin Islands the main charter season is October 15-July 31. As a result, the inventory of yachts to choose from is higher—as will be the price. By choosing to cruise in the off-season, or hurricane season, you may be able to find very desirable cruises at an exceptional value. (Beyond just savings, there are other perks to chartering during the hurricane season.)

As expected, holidays command premium charter prices. In the Caribbean, the weeks of Christmas and New Year will cost significantly more and have more restrictions on what days and lengths of stay are available for charter. For example, there may be a minimum of 8 days/7 nights, and the holidays of Christmas and New Year’s are separated into two different charter weeks.

Number of Guests Aboard

How the number of guests affects the price depends on whether it is an inclusive or APA charter.

  • Inclusive charter fees are based on the number of guests onboard. For example, if a yacht can accommodate up to six guests, but you only have four guests, you only pay for the four guests.
  • APA charters have a set charter fee regardless of the number of guests aboard.

Fees, Taxes, Permits

Unescapable even in paradise—taxes, rate exchanges, park fees, fishing permits, internet access, mooring ball charges…

All these small additional costs can vary greatly depending on the destination and charter. Some of these fees may be included in an inclusive charter; others will not.

This is when working with a trusted charter yacht broker not only helps you design your ultimate dream vacation but also helps you be 100% confident in your final budget.

Onboard Amenities and Water Toys

Charter yachts will have a wide range of onboard amenities and water-toy activities for you to enjoy. You get to choose what activities you want to do, from snorkel gear to jet skis and inflatable unicorn floaties to underwater scooters. Have fun designing your yacht charter.

Take note that SCUBA diving is a bit different than other water sports. Yachts who offer scuba diving onboard often have a separate per-dive fee, equipment rental fee, or even a certification fee. If diving will be a large focus of your charter, understanding the costs and selecting a charter that fits with your dive expectations helps you control both the experience and your budget from the start.

Crew Gratuity

Awarding a gratuity to the excellent experience-tailoring crew who worked 24/7 to deliver you the vacation experience of your dreams is customary and much appreciated. It is also discretionary and not included in either the total charter fee or the APA fund. The customary rate is 20%-25% and is paid directly by you to the captain on the last day of the charter, often as a ceremonial closing of the trip.

How to Get Actual Prices for Charter Yachts

So, here we are, and you are still in need of an exact number.
Let’s get to it. You can use the link below to see hundreds of actual yacht vacation options.
Use what you’ve learned above to play around with adjusting cruising destinations, yachts styles, guests, seasons, and more.

You will get immediate pricing, browse photo galleries, view amenities, and see availability.
(You don’t even have to give up your email address!)

Or, now that you know what elements play the most significant factors in designing a yacht charter vacation of a lifetime, work with a trusted charter yacht broker.

Tell us your preferences and let us uncomplicate everything. Get a custom presentation of all the best charter options to you—and have the confidence of knowing they are tailored to your budget and experience expectations.