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Yacht Charter vs Cruise Ship

Nothing comes close to the freedom of a luxury yacht charter

Luxury destinations, unparalleled service, gourmet cuisine and an abundance of activities are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to comparing a crewed charter experience to a cruise ship vacation. As you read on you will discover how a yacht charter differs from a cruise ship vacation in more detail and how freedom, control and comfort combine to produce the epitome of a bespoke holiday.


One of the greatest advantages of a luxury yacht charter is the complete and utter privacy. The only people to join you on board will be personally selected by you. Whether you're looking for a dream family vacation or a getaway with friends you will only ever be accompanied by your invited guests and dedicated crew. A cruise ship can exceed a capacity of 3,000 passengers before crew have been accounted for meaning true privacy will be near impossible. Rather than experience the hustle and bustle of a large crowd why not build your memories in complete seclusion from the outside world.

Whether you're looking for a dream family vacation or a getaway with friends you will only ever be accompanied by your invited guests and dedicated crew

Freedom & Control

When chartering a luxury yacht, the yacht is yours for the entirety of the charter meaning you are not only a guest but you are also in control of the itinerary, shore excursions and daily schedule. On a yacht charter a knowledgeable Captain will be able to assist when it comes to exactly what you want and where you'd like to go. Whilst aboard a cruise ship, any outings are already pre-planned with readily prepared itineraries meaning you must abide by time constraints to avoid being left on shore. These readily prepared itineraries are rarely deviated from leaving you with no alternative but to comply with the rules. On board a yacht charter no itinerary is set in stone and should you wake up and long for a day soaking up the sun on a secluded beach then you can do just that. With a yacht charter, as long as you return the yacht by the agreed upon time and location, you are free to set your course as you please.

Chartering a private yacht lets you regain control of your itinerary, your food choices, your budget, your daily schedule and your ability to explore ashore in privacy

Kim Kavin, Editor Charterwave

Service & Crew

A crewed charter yacht can often exceed a crew to guest ratio of one-to-one, with skilled crew members on board trained to a professional level of 5-star service. Often it is the crew that makes the charter and with a dedicated Stewardess on hand to ensure your glasses are topped the service is incomparable to that of a cruise ship. A cruise ship often carries less than half the crew to passengers meaning a personalised service is far less likely as crew members will have far more guests to attend to.


In addition to a professional crew, a crewed yacht will also include an expert Chef. Before you board you will be asked what foods you like and dislike plus beverage preferences and dietary requirements to ensure you are never disappointed. Mouth-watering cuisine will then be tailor-made to meet your personal preferences throughout the charter and served at an hour that suits you. A cruise ship usually serves meals in a large dining hall at specific times, with a pre-determined menu to suit the masses. Although it may be possible to request a private table, this is subject to an additional fee. Aboard a yacht charter the control is in your hands and if you would like to eat in a restaurant ashore or alfresco on the aft deck, so be it.

Activities & Water Sports

Although water sports such as scuba diving and snorkeling are sometimes available on a cruise ship this is often at an additional expense, and can only be arranged in predetermined areas along the cruise, together with many other passengers taking part in the activity. Many charter yachts carry an array of water sports equipment, usually included in the base rate (except scuba diving) which can be taken to the water within minutes following a small request to the crew. On board a yacht charter you choose what activities you do and when and where you do them.


Although it is not unsafe to embark on a cruise ship holiday, there are a few reasons as to why a private yacht charter is the safer option of the two. With only close friends and family on board, you can be confident that you are not accompanied by anyone who may be harbouring ill intent, and you are much less likely to encounter any spread of disease whereas a cruise ship will be powerless to the spread of infection such as the flu. Finally, aboard a charter yacht, in the rare case of an emergency, a dedicated on board crew, trained to international standards will always be close by should a guest require fast treatment.

Ultimately a yacht charter offers the freedom, privacy and control to ensure your sea vacation is a dream come true.

Browse our extensive collection of yachts for charter, peruse our detailed destination guides and begin planning your holiday of a lifetime.

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