The pandemic has been the ultimate disrupter making us all take a frank look at our lives with completely fresh eyes, where the simple things in life: loved ones, hugs, fresh air and space have suddenly become incredibly potent, placing much greater emphasis on family and friends. For the luxury yacht charter market this has translated into a massive uptick in bookings, where the focus has turned towards the exhilarating potential of the vessel itself.
For yacht charters at the start of the pandemic it was all about where to go to avoid infection, now, with the tentacular reach of the pandemic touching most shores across the globe, it has become a question of what. What features and amenities can a charter yacht deliver for the ultimate luxury vacation?
Forget expensive berths or crowded waterfront brasseries, think yacht amenities, highly-trained crew and an overflowing toy chest full of the latest water sports gear.
We think the time has come to consider yacht charter from a new angle...It’s yachting how we know it but rarely think of it: the yacht as the destination.
From Michelin-starred chefs, expansive beach clubs and wellness centres to infinity pools, state-of-the-art gadgets and underwater observatories, superyachts can deliver myriad phenomenal experiences without the need to ever leave the yacht. To top it off, charter guests can enjoy top-notch service 24/7 from the yacht's professional and highly-attentive crew.
We have hand-picked some of the best superyacht luxuries for the ultimate yacht charter vacation.
When it comes to chartering, one of the most essential ingredients is the food, often considered the most important part of a luxury yacht vacation; and for superyacht clientele only the best chef will do.
Most yacht chefs are highly qualified and generally come with bags of experience, with some even boasting a Michelin star or two!
Yachting makes every charter a new adventure. It is a challenge and presents new culinary opportunities with each new guest and their ever-changing carousel of preferences.
The best thing about yacht chefs is that all onboard meals are perfectly tailor-made around the specific preferences of the charter guests, as well as any dietary requirements, food intolerances or allergies, offering guests sublime dining experiences every night.
Charter guests can experience a wide variety of enticing dishes as yacht chefs are continually called upon to create a range of cuisines, although like any chef they will have specialist areas of expertise, such as classically-trained French chef Willy Pastel who has worked with some of the best chefs in the industry and is currently creating his heavenly dishes onboard the 85-meter luxury yacht AQUILA
For the ultimate yacht charter gourmet extravagance, look no further than the eminent 70m classic yacht SHERAKHAN where you will find Michelin-starred chef Toine Smulders creating his magical culinary masterpieces for up to 26 charter guests, and describes his signature style as: ‘La cuisine du soleil’.
Flavour is the most important part of the food I create
Whether you prefer high-octane adventures or something a little more sedate, the latest water sports equipment are an absolute must when it comes to chartering a yacht, and with such easy access to the water the sky’s the limit.
With social distancing remaining a feature for the foreseeable future, superyacht owners understand the bigger the toy chest, the bigger the draw card for yacht charters. These days, charterers expect more than just a couple of kayaks and a jetski, and owners are unquestionably rising to the challenge, offering guests the very latest trends in superyacht toys from SUPs to submarines.
These are basically surfboards on steroids; from a motorised SUP to a full foiling board that elevates you up out of the water making you feel as if you are flying over the waves at speeds of up to a whopping 25 knots, powered boards are fast becoming the toy of choice for yacht charters.
Still enjoying huge success on yacht charters are flyboards, allowing users to hover precariously high above sea level on jet thrusters and perform (well, attempt at least) somersaults before diving into the water below.
Inflatable toys offer a great family-friendly alternative to the high-powered vehicles favoured by older teens and adults, and are becoming increasingly innovative. Guests can enjoy a whole range of exhilarating inflatables, including the hugely popular waterslide, Zorbs, Yacht Blobs, trampolines, climbing walls, adventure playgrounds, sea pools and even inflatable swim platforms that also double up as a dock for powered watercraft, ideal for avoiding costly damage to the yacht.
Some of the best inflatables can be found on yachts such as Christensen's ZEAL as well as Lurssen's TITANIA, which includes a vast inflatable water park that can be conveniently deployed from her beach club, comprising a trampoline, climbing frame and a whopping 13-metre inflatable slide - 'one of the largest superyacht slides ever built.'
This area has seen the biggest demand, where guests can experience the thrill of the big blue with their very own submersible.
The simplest and most commonly encountered on charter yachts are sea scooters, with Seabobs as the most popular brand. These hand-held vehicles offer guests an adrenaline-packed ride beneath the waves, where the hydrodynamic shape allows users to zip along above the water or dive down to explore fascinating seascapes as they are propelled almost silently through the water.
Of course, to truly experience the treasures concealed beneath the ocean's surface à la Jules Verne is in a personal submarine, found on most large explorer yachts such as LA DATCHA, RAGNAR and GAME CHANGER. These can vary in terms of depth, time underwater and number of people they carry, but in general guests can enjoy exploring fascinating underwater worlds at depths anywhere from 50m to 1,000m for up to 2 to 3 hours.
It provides for guests who are not otherwise capable of diving to enjoy the magic and wonder of the subsea world.
For anyone looking for the ultimate subaquatic thrill-ride, look no further than motor yacht U-BOAT NAVIGATOR, which can be hired as a support diving vessel alongside your luxury charter yacht.
This extraordinary boat not only boasts two Triton 3300 submarines capable of traversing depths of up to 1,000 meters, but is also home to some of the highest trained professional wreck divers in the business, making a trip to the bottom of the ocean a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
When it comes to wellness amenities, superyachts are up there with the best. From massage rooms to Jacuzzis, beauty salons to cryo-saunas, there is sure to be something to please even the most discerning charter guest.
Wellness amenities are also steadily occupying greater space onboard, with some of the larger superyachts such as FLYING FOX boasting multi-level wellness centres. Many charter yachts also offer their own dedicated therapists, yoga instructors and personal trainers for the ultimate luxury charter experience.
Gyms are another popular wellness feature on a yacht charter, allowing guests to maintain their fitness regime whilst onboard, especially after indulging in the chef’s divine cuisine. These can range from a running machine and some weights to a full-blown dedicated gym with all the bells and whistles.
Award-winning Feadship JOY offers guests wide sweeping views of their surroundings as they work up a sweat in her glass-enclosed bridge deck gym, with a further gym located in her aft beach club, as well as myriad other wellness features, including a convertible basketball court!
Superyacht wellness amenities are becoming increasingly innovative too, where guests can indulge in anything from explorer yacht LA DATCHA’s LED-lit stalagmite ice fountain which produces a beneficial and invigorating blast of cold ice on hot skin, to the cryo-sauna found onboard the superyacht FLYING FOX, which evenly reduces body temperature in minutes, ideal for muscle recovery.
For the ultimate in luxurious wellness amenities, the spectacular hybrid Feadship SAVANNAH has it all, including a 30-foot swimming pool, basketball court, gym, sauna, Hammam spa and beauty salon, as well as a dedicated onboard beauty therapist and masseuse.
Beach clubs have ingeniously transformed the traditional aft deck into an additional selling point for the yacht, offering charter guests a range of excellent waterfront facilities, from lounge terraces, bars and dive centres to gyms, Hammam spas and swim platforms.
Beach clubs are also a great way of getting close to the action, even if guests aren’t going into the water themselves, making this area perfect for charter guests with children or those that simply prefer to hang out and stay dry whilst enjoying beautiful sea-level views.
One amenity that more and more clients are asking for is a beach club on board; this allows guests to be closer to the water level, allowing them to easily access or watch others playing with the water toys.
The most impressive superyacht beach club has to be the spectacular luxury yacht TATIANA, which was launched in 2021 and features two stunning multi-level swimming pools, Hammam spa, sunbeds, massage room and a bar.
Sometimes there's nothing better than curling up and watching a movie, especially on charter. There is always so much adventure to cram in, it can often feel like a blessed relief when someone suggests a movie night.
Onboard cinemas hold massive appeal when it comes to booking yacht charters, where the small plasma screen in the main salon has been usurped, in a big way. From dedicated luxurious cinema suites to vast projector screens on the sundeck, superyachts have got you covered.
Some of the most notable superyacht cinema set-ups include Perini Navi's MALTESE FALCON, whose impressive alfresco cinema is world-beating. Guests can watch from the yacht’s Jacuzzi as they take in a movie under the stars on the world’s largest superyacht cinema screen.
For an indoor cinema experience non pareil, celebrity favourite motor yacht AXIOMA boasts an elegant art deco cinema room on her lower deck with 8 sumptuous reclining seats, tiered to recreate the experience of a real cinema, complete with surround sound (and popcorn).
With Europe actively encouraging visitors from the US and other non-EU countries, the Mediterranean is a great place to charter this summer, with endless destinations at your fingertips.
Whilst it may not be prudent, or even possible, to meander bustling market stalls or dine in a busy French Riviera restaurant right now, this region offers endless idyllic destinations for guests to explore, such as the strikingly beautiful rugged islands of Corsica and Sardinia, the inimitable volcanic splendor of the Aeolian islands, some of the more tranquil regions of the Balearics or the verdurous islands and archaeological splendour of Greece, Croatia and Turkey, to name but a few.
With the open ocean beckoning, yacht charters are not limited or constrained by where they wish to travel, leaving yachts free to uncover a tantalising array of unique destinations across the globe both above the water and below, offering guests exclusive luxury yacht charter opportunities wherever they choose to cruise.
To find out more about yacht charters in the Mediterranean and beyond, please take a look at our comprehensive destination guides which offer a fantastic range of inspiration, top tips and sample itineraries.
If you are planning on visiting destinations in the Mediterranean and are unsure about the regulations, please read more on our guide to coronavirus and charters, or contact your preferred yacht charter broker for more advice