How expensive is it to charter a luxury yacht?

Nautical Channel
01 Feb 2022

There are different provisioning allowances and price variations to consider before deciding to charter a luxury yacht. Have you ever wondered how expensive it is to charter a luxury yacht? We put together all costs clients encounter when booking a dreamy charter vacation.

The first thing to take into account is the base price, referred to as “charter fee” or “charter rate”. Besides this, there will be another amount to pay on top of it. All-inclusive charter rates are not very practiced, so clients have to expect to pay more than just the basic fees that appear on the broker’s webpage or brochure. 

For example, if you go to a car dealership you probably will not buy a car just by saying “I’ll take that one”. The salesman will start asking whether you want a change of wheels, a radio, the two-tone paint… Similarly, yacht brokers will also provide an accurate estimation of all costs involved.

What does it mean to charter a yacht?

Chartering a yacht means paying a fee to rent out an owner’s superyacht for an agreed period of time and with a pre-arranged itinerary of where you will be cruising. During the charter’s vacation, you have access to all the yacht’s amenities. This could include a swimming pool, beach club, cinema as well as the toy box that often provides equipment for watersports. 

During charters, guests are looked after by the yacht’s crew, who will take care of guest’s needs including washing their laundry, providing cooked meals or ferrying them to and from shore. 

What factors determine the cost of a yacht? 

The yacht itself: Probably the most important factor that determines its cost is its size, design and age. A research conducted by Northrop & Johnson found out that the number of cabins and guest capability followed by its reputation affected the price of more expensive yacht charters. 

Moreover, the type of yacht can also affect its cost. There are sportfishing, expedition yachts, multi-hulled catamarans, classic yachts… but by far, motor yachts are the most popular type of chartered yacht followed by sailing yachts. 

Regarding passenger size, this does not vary as much. Small yachts may carry six people onboard, but even many superyachts can allow a maximum of 12 guests due to the SOLAS Convention (Safety of Life at Sea) set by the International Maritime Organization. As a curiosity fact, the first version of this treaty was adopted in 1914 after the sinking of the Titanic. 

Destination: In those locations with an established yachting industry prices tend to be less expensive, while remote and hard-to-reach destinations such as the Galapagos Islands are more expensive. 

Moreover, during high-season, yachting is usually more expensive as well. Mediterranean charters are costlier during the summer, while Caribbean yacht charters are highest from December to around March. Moreover, if you try chartering around special events, they tend to be even more expensive: New Year’s Eve, Cannes during the Film Festival, Monaco during the Grand Prix, the sidelines of the America’s Cup…

Additionally, some destinations have short seasons, and this increases the demand. Travis Peterson owns Alaska Charter Services’ Adventurous, a 56-foot charter vessel that provides guests with sportfishing and sightseeing trips in southeast Alaska. Due to the weather of Alaska, he only runs tours for half the year. 

Key tip: choosing times carefully. A difference of one week (high season to low season) can affect the cost drastically. For yachts measuring between 30 and 40 meters, the high season price can increase its cost by around €6000 per week. 

Trip duration: On average, yacht charter is around one week and many companies have a minimum stay of five days. Very occasionally an owner will accept a shorter duration, but this is not very common. Moreover, prices do not go down for longer holidays: if you want two weeks instead of one, you pay twice the price. There will likely not be a discount for extended stays. 

Equipment: When a yacht includes kayaks, paddle boards, underwater Seabobs, jet skis or even personal submarines, the price tends to go up. Some yachts even come with zorbs, sea pools and slides that can be deployed at the top of the yacht.