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How to Choose Your Charter Yacht

From size and style to facilities and crew, the options are limitless.


Knowing where to start when chartering a yacht can seem daunting, but our extensive guide on everything from the type of yacht to the location of where you want to charter will prove the perfect jumping off point ahead of your discussion with your yacht charter broker, so you can relax and savour the experience of creating an unforgettable yacht charter vacation tailor-made just for you.

There are so many things to consider when choosing your perfect yacht, so to make things easier we have broken it down into 5 categories: destination, budget, guests, style and amenities. 


It makes sense that before you decide on a yacht, your first consideration should be where you wish to go; thinking about the type of experience you are looking for and the time of year you and your guests wish to travel. 

With so many fabulous destinations to choose from you will be spoilt for choice; whether it's cruising the glamorous French Riviera, or scuba diving the exquisite island reefs of the Caribbean, the sky's the limit.

Overlooking a yacht harbour in Croatia

Charter Seasons

Charter seasons vary according to the climate and weather of that region, as well as for peak times when demand for yacht charters are at their highest. During peak times, otherwise known as the high season, charter yachts tend to be more expensive, so choosing where and when you want to go will depend not only on the cruising conditions and climate of that region, but also on whether peak charter rates apply. 

For popular destinations, such as the Mediterranean in summer and the Caribbean in winter, there tends to be a greater concentration of charter yachts, although demand will be higher so bear this in mind when deciding on your destination.

The destination may also impact the type of yacht you need; for charters cruising the shallow waters of the Bahamas, yachts with larger drafts may find it difficult to access some of the prime locations and anchorages on offer. 

Alternatively, if you have your heart set on a sailing yacht charter around the stunning turquoise waters of the Maldives, you may struggle to find enough wind in certain regions and be forced to fall back on motoring everywhere.

Yacht Charter Seasons
Yacht Charter Seasons
Off-Season Yacht Charters
Off-Season Yacht Charters


The next important step is to decide on your budget. Consider what your price range will be and make sure to convey this to your yacht charter broker, who will then advise you on the types of yachts available in that bracket.

Dollar bills poking out of wallet on a wooden surface

It's important to note that additional expenses, such as food, fuel and dockage costs, will need to be paid on top of the yacht's base charter fee. Depending on the type of charter contract, this is usually calculated as a percentage of the base rate – around 25-30% – and is payable, along with half of the charter fee, one month prior to the start of your yacht charter.

You should also factor in that yacht charter prices can vary depending on size, onboard amenities, charter destination, season (high or low), as well as for popular events such as the Monaco Grand Prix or Cannes Film Festival.


Whom you are travelling with will largely shape the needs and expectations of your yacht charter; such as the destination, time of year, cabin arrangements and onboard facilities so it is important to consider your guests when choosing the type of yacht and whereabouts in the world you wish to travel.

A young group clinking wine glasses on the bow of a yacht

Cabins & layout

Yachts come in all shapes and sizes and each one will have a different configuration for cabins. If you are travelling with couples, you might want to consider yachts with double cabins, preferably some distance apart.

For charters with small children, twin cabins, or cabins with pullman bunks are the perfect choice. Some yachts have cabins adjacent to the Master cabin with adjoining doors, perfect for principle charterers who wish to have their children close at hand. 

Additional needs

There are plenty of superyachts that cater for guests with additional needs. Be sure to let your charter broker know if your or your guests have any special requirements, such as disabled access onboard the yacht, wider gangways, specially configured guest cabins and elevators.

Maximum number of guests

You should note that for the majority of yachts the maximum number of guests allowed is 12, as maritime regulations stipulate that anything over this number falls under the Safety of Life At Sea (SOLAS) regulations used for cruise ships.

A tandem charter is a popular option for those keen to have more than 12 guests, which can offer a greater variety of charter options, not just in terms of the yachts but also for convenience, such as yacht charters with older teens who might enjoy hanging out on their own yacht before joining the other guests for the evening meal.

Guide to Cabin Options
Guide to Cabin Options
Understanding the 12-Guest Rule for Yacht Charters
Understanding the 12-Guest Rule for Yacht Charters


From grand, opulent and sumptuous, to modern, minimalist and cutting edge, yacht interior designs can vary widely and it is important to decide what style you are most comfortable with for spending the duration of your vacation.

Type of yacht - motor or sail?

Yachts come in all shapes and sizes; whether you are looking for a luxury motor yacht that comes equipped with a helipad, infinity pool and top of the range facilities, or prefer to harness the power of nature on a traditional wooden sailing yacht, whatever you want, there is sure to be the perfect yacht for your needs.

A motor yacht with a blue hull sits at anchor
Classic wooden sail yacht racing in Les Voiles
Expedition Yacht La Datcha

From grand, opulent and sumptuous, to modern, minimalist and cutting edge, yacht interior designs can vary widely

Motor yachts are the perfect choice for those who enjoy faster cruising speeds, generous accommodation and plenty of onboard amenities, such as a gym, beach club and vast array of toys, whilst sailing yachts are great for anyone who prefers the liberating thrill of adventure without compromising on luxury.

Catamarans are another good option as they combine both the flexibility and space, coupled with a smaller draft perfect for accessing shallow reefs and lagoons.Browse our extensive fleet of charter yachts available, complete with reviews, specifications and stunning photographs for inspiration. Alternatively, if you have something in mind you can search by yacht name or builder.

Expedition yachts are another popular option as they offer plenty of storage and space, as well as the capability of covering vast distances, perfect for a unique charter experience off the beaten track; from the majestic glacial serenity of Alaska to the exquisite turquoise reefs of the Indian Ocean, the possibilities for unparalleled cruising are endless.


Every yacht has various amenities onboard, and it is up to you to decide which are the most important for you and your guests. Whether that is having a world-class chef preparing gourmet meals every night, or making sure there is a gym on board for keeping fit during your charter.

Onboard entertainment

These days, all yachts come equipped with the latest technology and IT systems, enabling guests to remain in communication with the outside world, even in the remotest of locations. In addition, most yachts will provide widescreen TVs in each cabin, as well as the main guest areas. 

Some yachts also offer a dedicated cinema equipped with a wide screen and state-of-the-art sound system, perfect for a relaxing movie night after a long day's excursion ashore.

Cinema on board charter yacht Magna Grecia
DJ & Lights aboard St DavidA woman selecting a movie from a portable touch screen tablet on board a yacht


Many yachts come furnished with some form of gym equipment – whether that's a dedicated room filled with the latest exercise machines, or a simple arrangement on deck. This can offer guests the perfect opportunity for keeping fit whilst on charter, especially after all that fine dining and wine! 

Spas with saunas and dedicated massage areas are always a popular feature on yachts, ideal for relaxing and unwinding whilst on charter. There is also often a dedicated member of crew specially trained to offer guests massages and treatments whilst onboard.

Onboard SaunaOnboard Gym
Onboard Massage

Food & drink

For some guests this is the most important aspect of their charter, especially for remote destinations with minimal dining options ashore. The chef onboard will invariably be highly qualified and passionate about food, and capable of delivering exceptional quality cuisine throughout your charter.

You will be asked to complete a preference sheet beforehand detailing all food preferences and any specific requirements for you and your guests. This will enable the chef to provision according to your needs and deliver highly tailored fine dining throughout your yacht charter.

Formal Dining MY Savannah
Fine dining appetisers with caviar

Water sports & diving

The majority of superyachts boast a wide selection of watersports toys that prove an integral part of a yacht charter experience, especially for charters with children.

The types of watersports amenities onboard can cover a vast range; from inflatable toys, water slides, zorbs, jet skis, electric hydrofoil boards and Seabobs to full-blown personal submarines.

Inflatable toys onboard charter yacht TITANIA
A diver uses the international "okay" sign
Jet skis on board charter yacht TITANIA

If scuba diving is an essential element of your charter vacation, it is good to know that many yachts have dedicated scuba equipment for guests to use on charter. You should note that for insurance purposes you may need a certified diving instructor or dive master onboard.

Happily, many crew hold their PADI Master Scuba Diver certificate and can therefore accompany you on dives. You should speak with your yacht broker who can determine what dive qualifications the crew hold before you commence your charter.

Onshore excursions

All yachts will have at least one guest tender onboard which can come in varying shapes and sizes; ranging from a simple inflatable RIB to a fully custom-made tender with all the bells and whistles. Most yachts have more than one tender used for different purposes, such as for guest trips ashore or watersports. 

A deck crew member drives a tender from the yacht

Larger superyachts can also come equipped with their own helicopter, or certified helipad for those wishing to arrive by helicopter.

It is important that you liaise with your yacht charter broker about the amenities that are most important for you and your guests so you can get the most out of your yacht charter experience.

Superyacht Activities Available Onboard
Superyacht Activities Available Onboard
Guide to Yacht Charter Diving
Guide to Yacht Charter Diving

Booking your yacht

Looking for a luxury charter yacht? Find your perfect yacht for a charter vacation by browsing our fleet of over 3,000 yachts.

Alternatively, please speak with your yacht charter broker who will be able to help you find the ideal yacht for your needs.

Related advice articles

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Yacht Charter Contracts
Finding a Yacht Charter Broker
Finding a Yacht Charter Broker
Yacht Charter Preferences
Yacht Charter Preferences

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