Sail boat charters have been called the ultimate in personal vacations. They offer a chance to spend time with the family, explore new places, and relax in comfort and privacy.
To rent a private yacht with a crew gives you a platform to meet all of your vacation goals without compromise. But knowing what (and what not) to expect during a yachting vacation can mean the difference between a memorable family getaway and a trip never to be repeated.
Here are the 3 biggest mistakes made during a yachting holiday and easy steps to take to avoid problems and disappointment:
1. Having a Cruise Ship Mentality – for many, the first vacation experience at sea takes place on a cruise ship. Thinking a luxury yacht charter vacation will be similar to a cruise can be a big mistake. Jana Sheeder, President of SailAway Yacht Charters explains: "To accommodate hundreds of passengers, cruise ships must offer a structured vacation with scheduled stops and pre-arranged activities, etc. On a private yacht, there is minimal structure, and it is important for the client to have some general ideas as to where to go and what to do. Communication with the crew is paramount, as they need direction in order to properly customize the total vacation experience, as they can change at a moment’s notice, per a guest’s desires."
2. Attempting Overly-Ambitious Itineraries – sometimes, charterers will try to visit as many ports of call as possible during the term of their charter. Unlike large cruise ships with crews working round-the-clock shifts, sailboats and motoryachts are operated by small crews and rarely travel after dark. "If you ask your crew to zip from one place to another, they will do their best to oblige," says Sheeder. "Rushing from port to port leaves little time to relax and explore each unique destination. We encourage our clients to chat with their crew prior to the charter, to discuss itineraries, and the cruising time required to get from one port to the next. By keeping time underway to a minimum, the passengers can spend more time at anchor, and engage in watersports, sightseeing, and relaxing without the pressure of rushing to the next destination."
3. Spending Over Budget – because the typical yacht charter vacation is tailor-made and customized to a client’s preferences, many expenses are a-la-carte. Prior to a charter, the customer is asked to place a deposit (sometimes referred to as an "Advance Provisioning Allowance" or "APA") with the skipper to be used for the yacht’s running expenses during the voyage (items such as food, fuel, dockage, etc.). As a general rule of thumb, an APA equal to 20% of the charter fee is collected and held for use during the cruise. Sheeder cautions: "Clients need to remember, the crew will spend these funds as needed to meet the customer’s requests. It is easy to deplete these funds by requesting vintage and premium alcohol brands, or by cruising under power for long hours each day, and burning large quantities of fuel." Sheeder encourages her customers to prepay larger APA deposits – around 30%. "We want to avoid any embarrassing scenarios where the skipper is forced to come to the client multiple times during the charter, to ask for more money." Unused APA money is returned to the client after the charter, so it is better to be safe and budget extra money for expenses.
Looking for an easy-to-plan, hassle free vacation? Contact the yachting professionals at SailAway HERE and let them take you from your door to your dream.
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