In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, travel restrictions have temporarily put the brakes on vacations for many people. Experts predict that even after travel bans are lifted, we will have to adapt to a new way of life under Social Distancing for the forseeable future. As we consider travel, Social Distancing and superyacht vacations, we’re answering the question; what can you expect from your next yacht charter?
Travel bans and social distancing guidelines are now being enforced across the globe to slow the spread of COVID-19, confining most of us to our homes in an effort to "flatten the curve".
Mainstream media reports suggest that worldwide travel restrictions will be relaxed in the coming weeks and months, as long as these protective restrictions are adhered to in the meantime.
That’s good news for anyone using this time to plan their next superyacht vacation- as we all know planning can be half the fun.
Regardless of the travel restrictions lifting, experts suggest that all forms of travel will be different in the coming months as longer-term social distancing measures come into practice.
Here’s what that means for yacht charter in 2020.
If Social Distancing comes into practice across all types of travel, many people may be asking themselves; "Where better to practice social distancing than on a yacht?"
A crewed superyacht charter represents one of the safest and low-risk travel options when it comes to the Coronavirus. Out on a yacht, surrounded by the sea and your loved ones, your potential exposure to the virus is extremely limited.
Yacht crews typically have between 4 - 20 members of crew on board, which is a huge difference in the number of people when compared to hotels or cruises.
This means that many luxury travellers who are new to the world of private yacht charter may be considering chartering when the travel bans are lifted; so we’re predicting a huge rise in the demand for superyacht rentals when travel restrictions are relaxed.
Plus, since most people who would normally charter earlier in the summer won’t have been able to, there’ll be a huge upswing in the number of bookings once yacht charters become feasible again.
Most of the yachts in the charter fleet are currently ready to go as soon as they get booked, and most of the crew have been on board in quarantine since the travel bans were imposed- meaning that the crew have also had no exposure to COVID-19.
As we’ve said, it’s likely that social distancing practices will continue in the coming weeks and months; but what exactly does that mean for yacht charters?
Well, it means that instead of yacht charters that rely heavily on shore-based activities and on-land excursions, you can expect an increased focus on on-board entertainment and destinations away from the crowds- more on that below.
We can also expect to see more people flying privately to meet their yacht, and it’s possible that embarkation points may change as yachts move to smaller marinas closer to private airports or heliports.
It also means that we can expect to see new practices come into place that we haven’t seen before on yachts.
- Prior COVID-19 testing required for anyone coming on board
- Daily temperature checks for crew
- Sanitization of the yacht before and after new charters
- Sanitization of provisions and new methods put in place to limit contact between crew and workers providing provisions (eg. leaving and sanitizing provisions on the dock)
- Contact tracing to check guests and crew have not been in contact with an infected person or been to an affected area in a certain time period before commencement of the charter.
As people continue to practice social distancing, we’re expecting an increase in off-the-beaten track destinations. These include countries like Norway, the Galapagos, Tahiti, Antarctica and the Seychelles.
But if these destinations seem a world away, there are also plenty of destinations closer to home that aren’t as crowded.
We can expect a huge rise in the demand for yacht charters in the East Mediterranean.
Greece is made up of thousands of islands, which has slowed the spread of COVID-19 and made it one of the ‘safe zones’ of Europe. The number of islands also make it great for social distancing, as you can choose to avoid the buzzy islands and cruise around the more peaceful, remote destinations. Many islands are uninhabited, so there’s ample opportunities for discovery.
Croatia has a similar number of islands, and offers many sandy beaches and forested terrains that create scenic backdrops and interesting excursions.
Montenegro was the last country in Europe to report a case of Coronavirus, and it has maintained a relatively low case rate thanks to a swift containment response. Its shores are quiet, peaceful and peppered with islands. There are also countless little landmarks which you can view from your yacht.
The Bahamas is also expected to be popular later this summer. Its year-round tropical climate and myriad of islands and sandbanks are primed for social distancing, and a selection of dive sites are perfect for those looking to scuba dive.
In short, destinations that offer any of the following will be very popular;
- Lots of remote islands
- Peaceful bays where you can anchor or moor (see below)
- Tranquil spots for swimming
- Secret beaches and islets
- Secluded places to explore and discover
- Sightseeing opportunities from the comfort of a yacht
- Dive sites such as coral reefs, underwater caves or ship and plane wrecks
People may be looking to spend less time in marinas and docked in port to limit contact with other people. Therefore, destinations with lots of anchorages and places to moor overnight will be increasingly popular.
As we’ve already mentioned, countries in the East Mediterranean are ideal for mooring overnight- the shores of Turkey, Montenegro and Croatia are littered with coves, bays and sheltered spots to spend the night.
It’s possible that charterers may want to steer clear of the land-based activities for a while, in a bid to limit potential exposure to COVID-19.
Popular attractions and cultural sites may not be as in-demand. The same goes for beach clubs and restaurants.
Instead, we’ll probably see more people turn to itineraries that focus on rest and relaxation, nature and wildlife, and scenic beauty.
We'll also expect to see yachts with large toy lockers and a selection of amenities become more popular.
As we’ve mentioned, more and more charterers will now be looking to fly privately. To limit cost, many of these charterers may be looking to charter in destinations closer to their homes.
Even for those still flying commercially, vacationing closer to home will provide peace of mind and is likely to be a travel trend we’ll see reflected across the board.
For charterers based in the US, many will be looking to cruise in the Bahamas, New England or Alaska.
As more and more people seek out superyacht vacations away from the crowds, more people will be looking for yachts with more leisure and entertainment facilities.
- Gym facilities
- Spas and wellness suites
- Expansive toy lockers
- Home theaters
- Scuba equipment and on-board instructors
- Jacuzzis and pools
The Coronavirus outbreak has been a stressful and concerning time for everyone around the globe. Once travel restrictions are lifted, we can expect to see more people seeking rest, relaxation and a break from the everyday anxieties of life.
As a result, we can expect to see an increase in the popularity of wellness charters.
Yachts with on-board treatment rooms, saunas and steam rooms will be highly in-demand. Superyachts with crew members that act as yoga instructors, masseurs or wellness therapists will also be popular. The same applies for award-winning and esteemed superyacht chefs.
If you're looking to get back out on the water, please get in touch with your preferred yacht charter broker.
They will be able to provide more details about yacht charter bookings this summer, and will be able to recommend itineraries that focus on social distancing.
You can read our Coronavirus and Superyacht Charter Guide for more information.