Interested? From the best months to go to the top locations to visit, we've outlined everything you need to know about booking a yacht rental out of season.
Choosing to go for a yacht charter in the off-peak season has some serious advantages:
- Prime berths in the world's most coveted marinas: such as those located in the French Riviera, can be easier to access in quieter periods of the year. The only caveat if you are keen to soak up a buzzy ambiance: it is likely to be when there are fewer if any major events taking place. But, you'll be to benefit from reduced costs (berths are usually less expensive during off-season) and there will still be an abundance of things to see and do regardless.
- Secure a popular yacht: unless you book your yacht charter far in advance (and even then there is no guarantee, for example, a guest's booking may have a rolled onto the next year), it can be tricky to get the most popular charter vessels on the market for your chosen dates in peak cruising season. An off-season charter significantly increases your chance of obtaining your desired yacht.
- Reduced charter costs: the average yacht charterer can usually secure a lower rate (at least 15-20%, sometimes up to a staggering 60%) if they decide to go in an off-peak month. Generally speaking, the discount increases in proportion to how out of season the scheduled vacation is: many owners will offer bigger discounts the closer it gets to the vessel entering its yard period.
- Cheaper flights: not only will you likely pay less for the charter itself, but the cost of flights is typically cheaper outside of peak season, meaning more money to spend on experiences that truly matter during your yacht rental vacation.
- Blissful solitude: one of the biggest draws for chartering during the off-season is that it will be undoubtedly quieter, wherever you choose to cruise. Bring able to relish this tranquility, from walking barefoot along barely-frequented beaches, to meandering around popular attractions without the queues, to making last-minute reservations at Michelin-starred restaurants with ease, adds to its attractiveness.
- Milder climes: especially in the Mediterranean, which can be more pleasant and easier to deal with, as temperatures usually shoot up dramatically in the peak months of July and August.
Note: if you have your eyes set on a particular yacht, then do ask your broker for its annual charter itinerary, as not all charter vessels (especially larger ones) will stay in one place. Many move from one region's low season to another's high (for example, staying in the Mediterranean during the summer before moving to the Caribbean for winter). Some remain in one cruising destination all-year-round due to owner preferences, but do not take this as a given if you want to secure a specific yacht. It could be the case that the owner decides to limit the vessel's charter availability so that they can enjoy off-season cruising grounds themselves.
If you are a first-time charterer, then it is important to understand the different charter seasons prior to booking your vacation., as it is not as straightforward as you might think.
That's because a charter season can refer to both the weather and water patterns of a chosen destination (divided into summer and winter), as well as the months of the year when yacht charter demand is at its highest (divided into high and low seasons or peak/off-peak seasons).
A charter season can refer to both the weather and water patterns of a destination and the months of the year when yacht charter demand is at its peak
High and low periods can also fall within the summer and winter seasons, such as the case in the East and West Mediterranean and Northern Europe. Other popular cruising grounds like the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean, see their peak months in the wintertime, especially during Christmas and New Year, with their off-peak period being hurricane season.
It is also worth carefully considering the off-peak season month you decide to go, as some are better than others. For example, in a number of Mediterranean regions in late October through to April, temperatures will be much cooler and weather conditions less predictable, so if you are keen on water-toy related activities, it would be wise to avoid these months. Meanwhile during the Caribbean's hurricane season (rare, but officially starts in late July to early October) the region can experience high humidity.
Not all charter destinations lend themselves to off-peak charters (for example, the chiselled emerald fjords of Norway may be best marvelled at during the summer if you are looking for warmer climes and not an explorer yacht odyssey) but there are many standout locations that deserve your attention for a yacht charter in the off-peak season.
Many superyacht hotspots like the Amalfi Coast, Cyclades and Croatia are still ripe for exploration in September and October
Chartering outside of the main summer season of July and August is well-worth considering. Many Mediterranean hotspots are still ripe for exploration in September and October, where you'll be able to enjoy a gloriously slower pace in idyllic surrounds and without the stifling temperatures. As yacht charter connoisseurs, here are our top picks:
- Amalfi Coast: sip spumante from your sundeck and enjoy chocolate box-perfect views while enjoying deliciously mellow temperatures of around 25 degrees.
- Croatia: an Adriatic delight where temperatures range from 22-27 degrees in the shoulder seasons. It's an excellent time to discover its fairytale showcase of lush isles like Korčula and Mljet or the historic thrills of Dubrovnik.
- Corsica: boasting sea temperatures of around 23 degrees well into fall, Corsica is a wonderful choice for late summer water toy fun and offers secluded golden stretches of sand as well as gin-clear waters.
- French Riviera: the world is still your oyster in this iconic charter location during shoulder seasons, except in Cannes and Monaco when their respective yacht shows take place in September.
- Cyclades: Greece's majestic island cluster still beckons in September and October, with fabulous weather and fewer tourists. Explore the tumbling whitewashed hills of Santorini at its most sublime, the bonanza of hip beach clubs in Mykonos, or delve into the peacock blue waters of sun-drenched, tranquil islands of Paros, Milos or Naxos.
- The Balearics: discover the heavenly island gems of Mallorca, Menorca, Formentera and Ibiza well into October. Think gorgeous calas, bays and islets with fantastic swimming temperatures in these cruising playgrounds. Hedonists: you can still catch the last summer spectaculars on the White Isle.
- Turkey: admire soaring ancient ruins, barely-frequented coves, and a multitude of spellbinding coves with pleasant climates well into the end of October.
April to early July is still an excellent time to visit on a superyacht charter in the Caribbean
The Caribbean's shoulder season which runs from April to early July (before hurricane season) is still an excellent time to visit on a superyacht charter. In these months, guests can expect superb weather with a gentle breeze, but with the added bonus of considerably fewer visitors. Explore cultural delights on land without the hoards of people, or take great joy exploring popular scuba diving spots that become almost exclusively yours.
- St. Vincent and the Grenadines: ideal for island-hopping with more than 32 islands and cays to see, plus these islands are considered to be a very low risk during the hurricane seasons.
- Bahamas: crystalline waters, splendid weather, and spectacular marine life, which includes the swimming pigs in the Exumas
- Barbados: slightly hotter during the shoulder season, but expect pearl-white beaches where you can roam freely without a single soul to disturb you.
- British Virgin Islands: enjoy its tropical landscapes in utter bliss: there is a dramatic reduction in tourist numbers during these months. It truly is unbridled escapism at its finest.
Indian Ocean and South Pacific yacht rentals can provide awe-inspiring charter possibilities in off-peak seasons.
The Mediterranean and the Caribbean charter circuits typically get the most attention, but the Indian Ocean and South Pacific should definitely be pondered if you want to cruise in off-peak seasons. They provide awe-inspiring charter possibilities: from floating in stunning turquoise lagoons to reef diving that bursts into a kaleidoscope of color. A vacation here certainly leaves guests yearning for more. These are our favorite superyacht hotspots out of season:
- The Maldives: an excellent all-year-round option, as The Maldives lie outside the cyclone belt, plus temperatures here do not wildly vary thanks to the archipelago's position on the equator.
- Tahiti: a mesmerizing wonderland in the South Pacific ideal for island-hopping to your heart's content, as well as boasting incredible volcanic landscapes.
- Fiji: far removed from the tourist trail, where you can glimpse its magical flora and fauna, reefs, and rainforests in almost total seclusion.
Considering booking a charter yacht during the off-season? Enlist the services of your chosen yacht charter broker. Securing a yacht rental requires meticulous planning which your broker will gladly take care of for you. Creating a bespoke itinerary, fine-tuning important details, and arranging all paperwork on your behalf, they make the process as streamlined as it can possibly be.