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How Much to Charter a Yacht for Your Dream Vacation

Discover how much to charter a yacht

Wondering how much a luxury yacht charter costs for your sea getaway or a memorable family vacation? Costs can vary widely, with factors including yacht size, charter type, destination, and seasonality at play. Prepare to navigate through prices starting from around $10,000 to over $150,000 per week, as we breakdown the key elements that influence how much you’ll spend. Whether you’re planning a bareboat adventure or seeking the full luxury of a crewed charter, our guide will steer you towards the best choices for your budget.

Key Takeaways

  • Yacht charter costs vary based on charter type, yacht size and style, and destination, with crewed charters being the most luxurious and costly, and cabin charters the most economical.
  • Additional expenses such as food, fuel, and docking fees are not always included in the base charter fee, which can significantly increase the overall cost of the yacht charter experience.
  • The charter pricing structure can be all-inclusive, which covers most amenities, or ‘plus expenses,’ which offers more control over separate costs. Taxes, insurance, gratuity, and an Advance Provisioning Allowance (APA) are important budget considerations.

Understanding Yacht Charter Costs

Illustration of a luxurious yacht sailing on the open sea

The cost to charter a yacht is not a fixed figure. It can range widely, influenced by a variety of factors. These include the type of yacht charter, the size and style of the yacht, and the chosen destination.

We’ll dissect the various aspects influencing yacht charter costs for your benefit.

Type of Yacht Charter

The type of yacht charter you choose significantly influences the total cost. There are three main types of yacht charters:

  1. Crewed charters: These provide you with a dedicated captain and crew to navigate and cater to your needs.
  2. Bareboat charters: These let you rent the boat, such as a sailing yacht, and navigate yourself.
  3. Cabin charters: These offer a packaged holiday on a catamaran, where you rent a private cabin with meals and activities included.

For those interested in a more traditional sailing experience, a sailing yacht charter offers the thrill of navigating the seas with the elegance of sail-powered vessels.

There are different types of yacht charters available, each with its own advantages and costs:

  1. Crewed charters offer a luxurious experience but come at a higher cost.
  2. A bareboat charter is less expensive but doesn’t include additional services.
  3. Cabin charters are an affordable option that include many amenities.
  4. Sharing the yacht with friends or choosing a charter that includes more amenities in the base cost can bring down the per person expense.

Yacht Size and Style

Illustration of various types of yachts showcasing different sizes and styles

Just as the type of charter influences the cost, so does the size and style of the yacht. The cost of chartering a yacht directly correlates with its size. Larger yachts command higher prices due to the additional space and luxury features they offer. Sailing yachts, known for their exhilarating holiday experience, offer a range of sizes and styles suitable for families or small groups looking to explore beautiful destinations at different price points.

However, older yachts are generally less expensive to charter than newer models. But be aware that older yachts might face more maintenance issues. Yachts with more amenities, such as the latest water toys or a prestigious builder, warrant a higher charter fee even among yachts of similar size.

Destination and Seasonality

Where and when you choose to set sail can also affect the cost of your yacht charter. Costs are highest during peak season, with a price difference of up to 30% compared to low season prices.

Destinations with larger charter fleets, such as the Bahamas, BVI, or Mediterranean, offer more competitive pricing due to higher competition. Charter contracts can differ by region, affecting the base charter fee’s inclusivity.

Choosing a charter yacht type that aligns with the planned activities and the destination can lead to a more cost-effective and enjoyable bareboat yacht charter experience, ensuring a memorable bareboat sailing vacation on charter yachts.

Breaking Down the Charter Fee

yacht, yacht exterior, superyacht

Comprehending the components of the charter fee aids in estimating the overall cost of your yacht charter. The charter fee consists of the base charter fee and additional expenses. Most variable costs for the yacht charter are calculated as a percentage of the base fee, which we’ll explore further in the coming sections.

Base Charter Fee Components

The base charter fee is essentially the cost of renting the yacht, including its equipment and the services of the onboard crew, usually for a period such as one week. This fee, also known as the charter price, can range from $10,000 per week to upwards of $150,000 per week, indicating a wide array of yacht charter pricing to suit different budgets and needs.

Several factors determine the cost of the base charter fee. These include:

  • The type of vessel
  • Length of trip
  • Charter destination
  • Time of year
  • Local taxes
  • Yacht’s amenities
  • Reputation
  • Most notably its age, with newer yachts generally featuring higher rental rates.

Additional Expenses

Base charter fees often do not cover all expenses associated with a yacht charter. Additional costs that need to be considered include:

  • Food
  • Fuel
  • Docking fees
  • Any special activities that are not included in the base charter fee.

In the case of a luxury yacht charter, these additional expenses can be substantial, reflecting the premium amenities and services provided onboard.

For larger motor yachts operating on a ‘Plus Expenses’ charter, an estimated 35% of the base price can be expected to go toward additional running expenses such as fuel and dockage fees. Opting to sail rather than using the motor on yachts can lead to significant savings on fuel costs.

All-Inclusive vs. Plus Expenses Yacht Charters

Illustration of an all-inclusive yacht charter with various recreational activities

Yacht charters are primarily offered in two pricing structures: All-Inclusive and Plus Expenses. While all-inclusive charters have a higher upfront cost that covers most amenities, plus expenses charters offer flexibility to control and potentially reduce these variable costs.

All-Inclusive Charters

All-inclusive yacht charters generally feature a comprehensive package that includes:

  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • Beverages
  • A range of recreational activities

Guests can expect chef-prepared meals, access to an assortment of beverages—including cocktails—and the full use of motor yacht amenities and toys like diving and fishing equipment.

While all-inclusive charters cover most expenses, certain costs such as dockage and taxes are typically handled separately and should be calculated additionally. The services provided by a dedicated and friendly crew are included in the cost, ensuring a comfortable and well-managed luxury experience.

Plus Expenses Charters

On the other hand, ‘plus expenses’ charters require additional costs like:

  • food
  • fuel
  • docking fees
  • any special activities

to be budgeted for separately. This pricing structure allows separate control over costs that are not included in the base charter fee.

While this may seem daunting, it offers flexibility. For instance, you can choose to sail more and use the motor less to save on fuel costs. Opting for a sailing yacht charter can further enhance savings on fuel costs, as sailing relies on wind power rather than fuel consumption. Or you can choose to dock in less expensive marinas to cut down on docking fees.

Advance Provisioning Allowance (APA)

Another cost to consider for a luxury yacht charter is the Advanced Provisioning Allowance (APA). This is an upfront payment that typically ranges from 25-40% of the charter cost and acts like an expense account for the captain to use during the charter. For a luxury yacht charter, the APA is crucial in ensuring that all premium services and experiences are seamlessly covered, allowing for a truly bespoke vacation.

We’ll delve into a more detailed understanding of the APA.

What is APA?

The APA acts as a way to deposit the estimated expense amount of the charter to cover costs that are not included in the base charter fee. Costs such as fuel, food, and dockage fees are typically covered by the APA.

These expenses can vary depending on factors like the yacht’s size, speed, distance travelled, and marina pricing.

Calculating and Managing APA

When planning a yacht charter, it’s important to estimate the APA, which covers variable costs in addition to the base fee. The APA is due approximately one month before the start of the charter, coinciding with the final charter payment.

If expenses incurred during the yacht charter exceed the APA, additional funds can be provided in cash or settled during the trip. On the other hand, should the total expenses be less than the initially estimated APA, the difference will be returned to the charterer.

Taxes, Insurance, and Gratuity

In addition to the charter fee and APA, other costs such as taxes, insurance, and crew gratuity also need to be considered when budgeting for a yacht charter.

Each of these elements warrants a more thorough examination.

Taxes and VAT

Value Added Tax (VAT) rates on yacht charters vary by location. For instance, differences can be seen in countries such as:

  • Greece
  • Croatia
  • Turkey
  • Italy
  • France
  • Spain

VAT will apply to charters within the EU and some Caribbean islands if embarked, except for commercially registered vessels.

All-inclusive yacht charters typically cover customs fees and cruising taxes, except where specified otherwise. Yacht charter taxes can vary significantly by region, with some areas charging no tax and others having rates up to 35%.

Insurance Options

Several insurance options are available for yacht charters. Cancellation and curtailment insurance is available, which helps protect clients against the unforeseen need to cancel or cut short their trip. A Yacht Damage Waiver is another insurance option that covers accidental damage or loss to the yacht and its equipment.

Personal travel insurance policies start from £38 per person per trip, while yacht charter cancellation insurance generally costs around 15% of the charter base fee. These insurance policies can provide peace of mind during your yacht charter experience.

Crew Gratuity

Crew gratuity is customarily 10-20% of the charter fee, which is provided to the captain at the end of the charter. The recommended crew gratuity amount is around 15-20% of the base charter rate, with gratuities typically based on the weekly base rate rather than the total charter cost and not solicited by the crew.

Customary tipping practices for crew gratuity may vary by location, with some areas having their own standard rates. In exceptional circumstances, such as during a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, an increased gratuity is often suggested to acknowledge the crew’s above and beyond service.

Tips for Budget-Friendly Yacht Charters

Illustration of a yacht sailing under a starry night sky

While yacht chartering is a luxurious experience, it doesn’t mean you can’t be smart about your spending. Here are some tips to make your yacht charter more budget-friendly.

Choosing the Right Destination and Season

Opting for a yacht charter outside peak season often translates into considerably reduced rates. Shoulder seasons provide an opportunity for yacht chartering at more favorable rates, outside of the peak summer and winter seasons.

Vacationing outside of the busiest months, such as July and August, allows for a greater variety of yacht options and more competitive pricing. Less frequented tourist destinations can offer lower costs for yacht charters, as well as for other services and goods.

Selecting the Appropriate Yacht Type and Size

The number of passengers is a critical factor in determining the yacht size needed to ensure everyone’s comfort and to adhere to safety regulations regarding capacity. Choosing a yacht that fits your group size can help you save costs. Considering sailing yachts can be a smart choice for those looking to enjoy the thrill of sailing without overspending, as they often come with lower charter costs and fuel savings.

Consider the amenities you truly need and will use. Extra features and luxuries can add significantly to the cost, and foregoing unnecessary ones can help you save money.

Booking Early and Negotiating Deals

Securing your yacht booking ahead of time opens up a broader range of choices, enabling you to find the optimal yacht that aligns with your preferences. Special offers and discounts may be available for those who monitor for last-minute cancellations, even during high season.

Subscribing to charter companies’ mailing lists is advised to catch last-minute deals and exclusive discounts as they become available. Negotiating deals early can also help you secure discounts and better rates.


To sum up, yacht chartering is a luxurious vacation experience that comes with a price tag. However, by understanding the various components that make up the cost, such as the type of yacht charter, the size and style of the yacht, and the chosen destination and season, you can navigate your way to a more affordable and enjoyable yacht charter experience. Remember, it’s not just about finding the cheapest option but about finding the right balance between cost and comfort, ensuring an unforgettable sailing adventure.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average cost of chartering a yacht?

The average cost of chartering a yacht can vary widely, ranging from $10,000 per week to upwards of $150,000 per week, depending on factors such as the type of yacht, size, style, destination, and season.

Are there any additional costs to consider when chartering a yacht?

Yes, in addition to the base charter fee, you should budget for expenses like food, fuel, docking fees, special activities, taxes, insurance, and crew gratuity.

What is the Advanced Provisioning Allowance (APA)?

The Advanced Provisioning Allowance (APA) is an upfront payment, usually 25-40% of the charter cost, serving as an expense account for the captain to cover day-to-day operating expenses and special requests during the charter.

What is included in an all-inclusive yacht charter?

An all-inclusive yacht charter typically includes accommodation, meals, beverages, and recreational activities. However, additional costs like dockage and taxes are usually calculated separately.

How can I make my yacht charter more budget-friendly?

To make your yacht charter more budget-friendly, consider chartering during off-peak months, choosing a yacht that fits your group size, and skipping unnecessary amenities. It’s also beneficial to book early and negotiate for discounts and better rates.