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2019 Review: An exceptional year for the luxury yacht charter market

By Katia Damborsky   31 December 2019

Another year is drawing to a close, and as we prepare to welcome in 2020,  YachtCharterFleet reflects on how the charter industry has fared in 2019 and what we can expect from the year ahead of us.

The charter market has enjoyed a remarkably healthy year in 2019. According to our intelligence data, over 100 luxury yachts joined the charter fleet and close to forty of them are brand new yachts delivered in 2019.

As the charter fleet grows, so does the global appeal of chartering a superyacht. From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, more prospective clients are discovering the joy of charter from mainstream press coverage, blockbuster films and reality TV. 

Our data shows that the majority of charter enquiries this year came from the USA, with more of the younger generations venturing into yacht charter for the first time. Potential clients are also enquiring in the UAE and the UK, in spite of the impending effects of Brexit. Conversely, the Russian market is softening and there has been no significant demand for yacht charters in China. 

In light of these figures, YachtCharterFleet takes a look behind the numbers to offer you some insight into the state of the charter fleet and what we can expect from yacht charter in 2020.

More charter yachts in the 90-100m+ category

superyacht flying fox the world's largest yacht for charter cruising the waters of the caribbean

2019 has seen an unprecedented number of brand new yachts measuring between 90 - 100m + enter the world of private charter.

Case in point, the two largest deliveries of 2019 joined the charter fleet this year. Both Lurssen builds, the 136m (446ft) motor yacht ‘Flying Fox’ and the 111.5m (365ft) motor yacht TIS are now the first and second largest charter yachts in the world respectively.

motor yacht Tis cruising the waters on her charter with her onboard tender cruising right beside her

Of the largest yachts in the charter fleet,  2019 deliveries now make up four out of the 10 top spots. This is a significant figure, considering we haven’t seen a brand new yacht enter the top 10 in the same year as its delivery since 101m (332ft) luxury yacht SYMPHONY in 2015.

The charter fleet’s increase in LOA reflects an overarching demand for larger yachts, but also highlights the growing popularity of yacht charter as a whole. It suggests that owners are increasingly seeing the value of chartering, and are choosing to put their yachts on the charter market soon after delivery.

Huge variety of yachts for charter clients to choose from

superyacht MADSUMMER by lurssen shipyard underway as she cruises deep waters on her charter through the Caribbean

As more and more new yachts enter the fleet, charter clients are now facing a world of choice.

This year alone, we saw Flying Fox, TIS and the 91.5m (300ft) superyacht TRANQUILITY join the charter market as PYC-compliant options, each providing a much-needed platform for charter parties made up of 12 or more guests.

SilverYachts' 2019 delivered superyacht BOLD bursting dramatically through the deep waters of the Caribbean
aerial shot of superyacht BOLD by silveryachts as she cruises the waters of the Bahamas

The expedition yacht charter fleet has also grown, with the addition of 77m (251ft) eco-friendly motor yacht YERSIN and the brand new 85m/278ft explorer yacht BOLD. Their charter status reflects a rise in the demand for off-the-beaten-track destinations and experience-driven yacht charters, something that we’ll no doubt start to see a lot more of in 2020.

Other new additions to the charter market this year include the 95m (312ft) megayacht MADSUMMER, another Lurssen build, Abeking & Rasmussen’s 80m (263ft) superyacht EXCELLENCE and Benetti’s yet-to-be delivered 107m (351ft) motor yacht LANA.

The 93m (305ft) superyacht ‘Lady S’ from Feadship was also delivered this year, and joined the charter fleet to much acclaim. 

aerial shot os Feadship's Lady S as she elegantly cruises on her charter and also showing off her spacious sun deck, aft swimming pool, and hellipad
the large 12 metre swimming pool with two luxurious loungers at either side on the aft deck of lurssen's superyacht MADSUMMER
the elegant and classically styled interior of Feadship's TIS presenting a rococo decor palette of creams and pastels in the form of centre tables and chaise lounges
the main aft deck and beach club of superyacht FLYING FOX by lurssen which features a large glass encased pool and boasts a retractable deck that opens yup to the jacuzzi in the beach club

These yachts represent the top tier of craftsmanship and build quality from some of the most prestigious shipyards in the world.

What’s more, with Flying Fox offering a two-storey spa and TIS boasting a dedicated Ladurée tea room, a high calibre of amenities is reflected across all the new additions to the fleet this year, promising new heights of luxury for prospective charter clients. Indeed, Lady S is billed as the best-equipped charter yacht in the world, with a basketball court and the first ever IMAX cinema on board a superyacht. 

What can we expect from charter in 2020?

aerial shot of golden yacht's O'pari and her spacious outer decks which feature swim platform alfresco dining area, outer lounging arrangement and helipad
Benetti's motor yacht LANA as she cruises the waters of the Caribbean at dusk with her guests celebrating on the beach cl;ub
aerial shot of Lady Lena by sanlorenzo providing a view of her main deck swimming pool, extendable side deck which open up to her beach club, upper alfresco dining area, capacious forward deck, nd spacious sun deck

Signalling a promising start to the new year, 2019 saw a large number of still in-construction yachts join the charter fleet in preparation for 2020. 

Among them, we saw 75m (246ft) Feadship superyacht ARROW enter the charter market, along with 52m (171ft) charter yacht 'Lady Lena', the sister ship to popular charter platform 'Seven Sins'. Also on schedule to be delivered soon are 68m (223ft) charter yacht SOARING from Abeking & Rasmussen and 55m (181ft) motor yacht GECO from Admiral Yachts.

Where will the yachts be chartering in 2020?

Ibezia glows in the background of Lurssen's motor yacht Phoenix 2 as she cruises the Mediterranean

While the 2020 charter fleet is already booming, the uncertainty of the new EU regulations on VAT are still posing a lot of questions. At the time of publishing, no clarification has been offered as to how the new regulations, which state that VAT reductions 'will no longer be applicable in 2020', will impact yacht charters in the Mediterranean.

However, as soon as clarification is offered, we will have a much clearer picture on the forthcoming Mediterranean season. 

A motor yacht berths at the charming simi harbour while on hert yacht charter surrounded by the picturesque beauty of the Mediterranean

Over the course of 2019, the most popular cruising grounds were Greece, Ibiza and the South of France. 

We can expect to see similar trends in 2020. Greece and Ibiza are invariably popular destinations during the summer months, with charter clients and brokers reporting that the selection and diversity of the islands make for varied and action-packed itineraries.

However, there is a limited fleet of yachts with a Greek yacht charter license. Those looking to book a yacht in  Greece for 2020 are advised to act now to secure their chosen yachts. 

In order to learn more about any of the yachts featured in this article, please reach out to your preferred yacht charter broker.

You can view and compare all luxury Mediterranean charter yachts.


Yachts in your shortlist