In this article:
- Home away from home
- Listen to the safety briefing
- Check the rules for pets onboard
- Opt for soft luggage
- Respect the crew
- Keep to guest areas
- Advance notice for celebrations and events
- Communication is key
- Check the smoking policy
- Ask about hiring a nanny
- Give crew time to deliver the best service
- Respect the barefoot rule
- Zero tolerance for illegal activities
- Consider crew gratuities
From following the barefoot policy to keeping out of the galley, follow these simple tips for a seamlessly sublime experience onboard.
Owners offer their luxury yachts for charter for guests' enjoyment, but also under the circumstances that their vessels will be used in a respectful manner.
So while you should absolutely relax and enjoy your time on board, it would be wise to think of the superyacht as a home away from home and treat it accordingly.
Sit back and relax onboard, but think of your superyacht as a home away from home
Your captain and crew want to make sure you have an unforgettable experience during your charter — of the good kind, of course — which is why it is of paramount importance to listen to the initial safety briefing.
Your safety is the top priority, with the crew knowing best as to the yacht's limits and the regulations concerned. It's also a legal maritime and insurance obligation, therefore it is always in your interest to listen.
When booking, do tell your broker you want to bring your dog onboard: they can search for pet-friendly charters.
If you are keen to bring your four-legged friend onto your yacht charter, do inform your broker when making a booking. There are a number of pet-friendly vessels that do allow you to bring your dogs on deck, but it is never a good idea to just simply bring on your pet no questions asked, as many superyacht charters do not allow animals onboard.
The main reasons include the potential risk of the yacht's decor being ruined, as well as the issue of pet permits. For example, to enter the majority of Caribbean islands, dog owners need to request a permit in advance, subject to meeting certain tests and medication certificates.
If possible, choose a soft bag to take onto your charter as it will be easier to stow and avoids cabinetry being damaged. You are still allowed to bring hard suitcases, but if you are considering taking a large number of them, it's worth verifying with your broker the size of storage space on board the charter yacht beforehand.
The crew leaves no stone unturned when it comes to crafting an incredible superyacht experience just for you, so do treat them with respect for all the amazing work they do. Remember that your yacht charter crew are the ones who make your dreams on the open waters a reality, taking care of all your needs with the utmost enthusiasm. They ensure everything runs smoothly onboard, all the while taking care of a variety of tasks at once.
Be considerate and avoid going into the crew's private areas during your charter. Leaving their cabins and quarters undisturbed ensures crew can get the downtime needed to keep performing at their very best, resulting in an outstanding vacation for you.
It is equally worth avoiding the galley (where the culinary magic happens!) unless specifically invited — it's seen as a sacred space onboard. If you need food and drink top-ups at any time, it's always best to inform one of the stews first rather than going to the kitchen directly.
Being able to entertain guests onboard your floating palace is a source of great delight, but do inform the charter crew of your plans in advance.
Ensure you can dazzle extra guests in style and tell your captain first before inviting them onboard
Simply returning to your yacht impromptu with dozens of guests and expecting your chef to suddenly whip up a late-night three-course meal puts staff in a difficult situation, and they may not be able to fulfill your demands on such short notice. Dazzle extra guests in style and tell your captain first so that additional food or drink can be purchased and prepared ahead of time.
Indicate your charter wishes (toy use, themed nights, excursions, BBQs and events) preferably on your preference sheet (or as far in advance while on your charter) what you would like to do onboard. The crew can then plan ahead and ensure a seamless experience between activities during your yacht charter. For example:
- Toys: let the crew know if you want to spend the day on the water so that toys can be set up promptly. Things like slides and waterparks can take up to an hour to inflate and put away, while jet-skis may need to be refueled or lithium boards recharged, both of which can take hours to sort out. Equally, it's useful to let staff know if you plan to go ashore, so that staff efforts getting toys ready can instead be focused elsewhere.
- Excursions: require advanced planning for launching and driving tenders (as well as for staff potentially coming ashore with you). Staff may also need to bring additional toys like segways and e-bikes. Knowing in advance also allows for better organization onboard, as stews can use this time to get cabins turned over, ready for your later arrival.
- BBQs and picnics ashore: knowing in advance means the chef can prep accordingly, and the stews know to work their breaks around all going ashore to help set up with the deck crew, serving drinks and meals, and clearing.
- Themed nights: similarly, the crew need to order provisions in advance to ensure that any special requirements can be easily met.
Smoking is usually prohibited inside on most superyachts, but, there may be some deck spaces where smokers are permitted on certain vessels for rental. If you or any of your guests are smokers, be sure to verify with your broker beforehand if you are allowed to smoke on board, as this is something that is entirely at the discretion of the yacht owner.
Children are certainly welcome onboard most charter yachts, with many stocking an abundance of videos, games and water toys specifically for kids. Most crew also adore playing with the little ones on deck or in the water. But do not make the error of mistaking crew members for babysitters — they aren't.
Don't make the error of mistaking the crew members for babysitters — they aren't
If you do plan on bringing young children on your superyacht charter and are seeking assistance, then talk to your yacht charter broker when booking. They can organize for a nanny to come onboard so that you can unwind while knowing your children are being cared for.
Alternatively, if you would like a nanny you already work with to join you on the yacht charter, they can usually be accommodated in a spare cabin — just be sure to tell your broker first.
Giving the crew some space to keep on top of vessel maintenance, such as serving essential systems or housekeeping tasks, ensures a smoother yacht charter experience for all. Remember that the team will be taking care of a number of tasks at once to ensure you have an exceptional vacation, and this requires focus.
Do not take it personally if the crew aren't always able to join you for dinner or sightseeing when invited during your charter — it's highly likely it's because they are trying to pull out all the stops for you!
Embrace relaxed luxury onboard and remove your shoes (or wear appropriate deck shoes). Most charter yachts adopt a barefoot policy as high heels and black soles can cause scuffs and dents on the teak decking.
Be respectful and adhere to this policy, remembering to take off your shoes and place them in the shoe baskets whenever you return to the vessel after a day's exploration or evening ashore.
Most charter yachts adopt a barefoot policy as high heels and black soles can damage teak decking
There is a zero-tolerance policy for any illegal or illicit activities onboard a superyacht charter, with serious consequences for both you and the crew. The yacht can be seized and lose its license, the captain can also lose theirs, and you will be removed from the yacht immediately, regardless of how much remaining time you have left on your vacation.
It is customary to tip between 5-15 percent of the charter's value – although this can be more for American crew – which is usually paid to the captain and subsequently distributed amongst crew members.
If you have been absolutely delighted with your yacht charter experience and would like to show your appreciation for the captain and crew's hard work, then this is the way to do it!
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