How to Charter a Private Yacht

by  Jim Sherman | Oct 23, 2009
Costa Smeralda
Costa Smeralda / Photo courtesy of the cruise line

Most people probably don’t think about chartering a yacht when embarking on a trip to a seaside locale, assuming such luxuries are only reserved for the super rich. However, considering that many of the world’s most wonderful coast lines can only be accessed by small boat – places that neither cars nor cruise ships can access – numerous economical options exist that are worth exploring. On a recent yachting trip to Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda (Emerald Coast) this summer, some friends and I visited the region’s noteworthy towns – Porto Cervo, Porto Rotundo, Palau, Madelena town, and Baia Sardinia – dropping anchor along the Mediterranean coast in front of picturesque coves and small beaches. The captain knew of particularly nice, secluded places, and nothing was more memorable than enjoying drinks and dinner while watching the sun set over the quiet water and mountains. 

During another of my recent sailing trips, a group of friends and I chartered the Kairos, by Sailing-Classics. This 125 foot yacht has 9 main passenger cabins (room for up to 18 passengers), a crew of 5 – including a captain, engineer, chef, and 2 deck hands. While cabins are not particularly spacious, each has its own bathroom, and it’s important to remember that not a lot of time is spent in one’s room, anyway. There’s an eating area below deck and lots of room on top for sunning, taking meals, reading, or whatever. Dinghies are used to take passengers to shore, unless the boat captain chooses to dock. I chose to swim from the boat to shore for a bit of daily exercise. This particular yacht can be rented out to groups (generally ranging from 12-18 passengers) or one can speak to the company about joining as an individual or couple. Pricing was approximately $4,500 for a cabin for the week – about $640 per night. However, if you come as a couple, the rate is a good deal, since all meals and, of course, transportation, are included (liquor costs extra). The captain is also accommodating, and will set a course ad hoc if guests have preferred places to visit, as long as the itinerary is appropriate.

The nice thing about the Kairos is that it’s larger than most private yachts, and certainly a lot cheaper. While more expensive than many commercial cruise ships, those vessels are often prevented from accessing some of the ocean’s most beautiful places. By having your own vessel, you feel you truly own it. 

When considering a private yacht, the key issues to keep in mind, besides cost and the type of ship, are the itinerary (will there be variety to what you see?), weather (be careful that winds aren’t too strong, as that won’t make eating on deck very easy), and the quality of the chef (he/she should be very good, since almost all meals are taken aboard).

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