American Tourists are Turning to Private Yacht Charters in the Battle Between Land vs Sea

Jul. 24—According to travel insurance provider Allianz Partners, the number of Americans traveling to Europe is increasing dramatically again this year, rising by 55% over last year's summer season. American tourists are vying for space in the Mediterranean, with France and Italy remaining hotspots again this summer. One booming travel industry is reveling in the ability to take its guests to a private paradise where they may be the only travelers around. The new statistics follow last year's 600% increase in American travel to Europe from 2021 to 2022, making it clear that revisiting European favorites and new bucket list destinations will remain a priority when mapping out memorable summer travel plans. Travelers are increasingly choosing private yacht charters over hotels for their summer vacations to enjoy a combination of luxury, privacy, and flexibility. Google searches for "private yacht charter" continue to surge, most recently by 669%, as Americans continue to show interest in the luxurious getaway. 2022 saw an exponential rise in interest in sailing vacations, particularly skippered/crewed charters. Since 2018, the number of catamaran charters rented with skippers to assist with sailing has more than doubled (+133 percent) in select destinations like the Mediterranean, according to Dream Yacht Worldwide, one of the world's leading ocean tourism companies. Yacht charters provide an unparalleled level of exclusivity and intimacy, allowing guests to enjoy their vacation in a secluded setting away from crowded tourist areas. They also provide easy access to popular destinations like Cannes, Corsica, and Sicily. "Traveling on a private yacht allows you to enjoy a destination in a way few people ever will. You can experience total freedom and discover beaches, caves, and coves only accessible by boat. Your skipper takes you to the most scenic spots and shares his local knowledge along the way," shares Dan Lockyer, Chief Commercial Officer, Dream Yacht Worldwide There is no need to spend your vacation vying for a parking spot or sitting in traffic with all the other tourists. Simply pull into port, hop off, and away you go. Yacht Charter vs. Hotel Yacht charters can be a financially viable option comparable to and, in some cases, more economical than high-end vacation properties. They offer several added benefits that you may not have considered. No longer will you have to wake up early and scramble to save loungers for a spot near the swimming pool or beach anymore. With a chartered yacht vacation, the captain and crew can transport you to a secluded paradise where you may be the only group present. No reservations required. Travelers can bask in breathtaking coastal views, anchor in secluded bays, and engage in a variety of water activities. The flexibility allows guests to customize their itineraries, choose their preferred destinations, and engage in a wide range of experiences, creating a truly unique and tailored vacation. The cost for a one-week fully crewed charter varies greatly depending on the season, size of the boat, and destination. In Corsica, one week for 12 people on a Skippered charter on a 45ft catamaran with four cabins is $8,750, while a Fully Crewed charter is around $23,500 for a 54ft catamaran with six cabins. Mid-October in St. Martin for a Skippered charter is approximately $7,870 for a 45 ft catamaran with four cabins accommodating up to 8 people. Fully crewed is roughly $13,205 for a 58 ft catamaran with six cabins, accommodating up to 12 people. Tahiti in early December for a Skippered charter is approximately $12,345 for a 50 ft catamaran with four cabins, and Fully Crewed is roughly $18,130 for a 62 ft catamaran with six cabins, accommodates up to 12. Once you add up hotels, meals, rental cars, parking, gas, and other typical hotel-based expenses, you'll be pleasantly surprised by how much you can save on this particular vacation option. A yacht charter includes various package options that cover meals, recreational activities, and much more. You can say goodbye to long check-in lines and moving luggage from destination to destination, navigating taxis or Uber, or lying by the pool next to strangers. Instead of traffic jams, start your mornings with serene breakfasts on the sea while your captain whisks you away to exclusive locations every day. Selecting the Right Type of Boat According to Sarah Borg Barthet from luxury lifestyle brand Dukes Avenue, chartering a yacht for a trip at sea was common when living in Malta, a tiny island in the middle of the Mediterranean. "Catamarans were the go-to choice for large groups of friends and typically had the lowest cost to charter. Sailing boats are also popular for group events, especially for families who love sailing. "Cabin cruisers are best for fancier occasions or more upmarket family gatherings, but the cost is typically much higher. On such charters, food and beverages are typically catered to, and some also include serving staff. "Of course, these are all general guidelines, and it all depends on the group's budget and the type of experience they are after. Larger boats are also more costly than smaller boats, and naturally, the larger the group of attendees, the less it will cost per person." Chartering a private yacht gives you exclusive use of the entire vessel. You and your family can enjoy ample space without sharing it with hordes of tourists. The privacy factor is one of the greatest benefits of this type of experience. The most popular boat type for Dream Yacht Worldwide is sailing catamarans. The majority of people look for 3 or 4 cabins depending on their group size. The largest yacht in its fleet is The Lagoon 620, which is 62 feet long, and has six cabins. It is available for Fully Crewed charters in Tahiti, Nassau, and the British Virgin Islands. The most popular ports for US customers are the British Virgin Islands and St. Martin. Flexible Itinerary The number of miles you can travel in one day is entirely the guest's decision. Most people prefer sailing distances around 10-15 nautical miles per day, translating into 2-3 hours of sailing. But it's up to each guest how much time they'd like to spend sailing vs. exploring on land. The itinerary on private Skippered and Fully Crewed charters is flexible and sometimes needs to be due to weather conditions. During the busy season, you may need to make reservations for certain marinas, but it really depends on the destination and season. Most of the time, you just moor or anchor somewhere. The Skippered and Fully Crewed charters are private, meaning you can create your own itinerary with your captain. You can spend as many days as you like in one spot. How many hours you have to explore depends on whether you are still planning to sail to your next destination that day and how long it will take to get there. In most destinations, it is not allowed to sail at night for safety reasons. "Being on a yacht gives you the opportunity to be close to nature, view beautiful sunsets, and often have amazing marine life encounters. Plus, sailing is one of the most sustainable means of transportation available to enjoy all these wonders. "With 50 charter destinations around the world, Dream Yacht can cater to everyone's taste. Whether you prefer remote lagoons, lively beach bars, high-end shopping and restaurants, or quaint fishing villages, we'll have the right boat in the right waters for you," offers Lockyer. Foodie Heaven One of the best parts about a private yacht charter is the food. You can choose to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner on board every single day, and if you are doing a fully crewed charter, those meals will be prepared by your own personal chef. The meals will be tailored to your preferences and dietary needs: vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or whatever you'd like. For yachts that are Skippered only, guests have the option to bring provisions for themselves and also provide food for the skipper or a stipend of $50/day. You can buy food locally in nearby supermarkets and local produce in markets. There is often a supermarket in the marina, or a short walk or taxi ride away. Many local supermarkets offer a delivery service if you want to arrive and get straight into your vacation without a supermarket shop. Some bases can also organize the provisioning for you in advance. For my private Skippered charter departing from Marseille last month, the base supplied mouth-watering food for us in advance. We arrived to a fully stocked kitchen and enjoyed wonderful meals with our captain as he shared stories of the area and some of his experiences at sea. As an additional service option, it is possible to add a hostess to your Skippered-only charter. The hostess would shop and prepare the food for you in that case. Fully Crewed charters are by far the most luxurious way to travel. British Virgin Islands, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Martin, US Virgin Islands, Italy, Bahamas, Thailand, Maldives, Seychelles, and Tahiti are all ports where Dream Yacht Worldwide offers Fully Crewed charters. Little Sailors Adults aren't the only ones who fall in love with a private yacht charter vacation. Kids of all ages will be squealing with joy at the freedom of having the boat all to themselves. My kids spent the majority of the time sitting with the captain steering the boat while he taught them some of the basics of sailing on our Bali 4.3 sailing catamaran. We experienced quality family time together without the pressures of adhering to a schedule, and the ability to explore multiple ports in one vacation is also a huge plus for kids. Staying on board your own private yacht means you can go ashore and explore different cultures, beaches, historical sites, and unique wildlife each day with only the gear and supplies you need. Barthet praises the exclusivity and flexibility of vacationing by boat. "Chartering a private yacht for a vacation is truly a privilege. Still, rather than calling it a more luxurious experience than staying at a luxury hotel, it might be more appropriate to call it a more exclusive experience. "The yacht's captain will be knowledgeable about how to make the chartered experience as pleasant as possible based on several factors, including the weather, season, and vessel, to name a few. They will know about the more private locations to anchor to avoid unwanted attention from others at sea, where the waters are clearest, and the best sites to admire the scenery."