Tips are usually discretionary based on the level of service you have received, but there is a bit of a grey area with regards to how much. Read our guide on everything you need to know about crew gratuities on your luxury yacht charter.
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The superyacht industry is a service-based industry at its core, with a crew of highly-trained professionals at your disposal for the entirety of your vacation. As such, tipping them for a job well done is customary practice on a yacht charter.
Most charter yachts distribute the tips equally between each crew member, regardless of their role. This is because it takes a team to ensure the overall success of a yacht charter, rather than any particular individual.
It can often be tempting to tip the most visible crew members, such as the stewardesses and deckhands, however less visible crew members, such as the crew chef or engineer, work just as hard behind the scenes to make the charter a memorable experience for both you and your guests.
The worldwide yachting association (MYBA) has made things a little easier by issuing tipping policy guidelines that recommend a gratuity of between 5 - 15% of the base charter cost, with 10% being the standard, based on a week-long luxury yacht charter.
However, it’s important to remember that cultural differences can sometimes come into play when it comes to gratuities. For instance, an American crew will expect a tip of no less than 15%, whereas a European crew will be happy with a tip between 5 to 10%.
Often the amount to tip can vary depending on the season and destination of the charter. For example, the most popular time to charter in the Mediterranean usually coincides with their high season, and as such the gratuities tend to be higher commensurate with the yacht’s base charter fee, whilst the winter rates in the Caribbean season are generally lower.
That said, in the Mediterranean the gratuites are generally worked out at the lower end of the recommended percentage, while tips for charters around the US and Caribbean are often calculated at the upper end of the scale. So, it all balances out in the end!
Obviously, the amount to tip is entirely at your discretion, and if you feel you have received top-notch service from the crew throughout the charter, then by all means reward them for all their hard work. Conversely, if you are in any way disappointed with the level of service you have received then the tip should reflect that.
It is customary for any tipping to take place at the end of the charter and to be presented to the captain (see below), who will then divide it among the crew.
On smaller charter yachts, the tip is typically collected amongst the guests and presented to the captain for distribution, but the crew gratuity can also be deducted from the Advanced Provisioning Allowance (APA) at the end of a charter, with any credit balance from the APA to be returned to you.
Alternatively, to avoid carrying large amounts of cash the crew gratuity can be held in escrow with your on-shore broker for distribution once the charter has ended, subject to your agreement.
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