By Kim Kavin
The advertisements for week-long yacht charters are always the same, and “weekly base rate” is the key phrase. Just about every crewed charter yacht in the world is marketed for seven-day charters, with pricing listed accordingly. This creates the impression that crewed charter yachts can only be booked for seven-day itineraries. That used to be true in a lot of cases, back in the days before the global economic recession, when charter-yacht owners could turn down requests for three-day bookings while holding out for the week-long inquiries that inevitably would come. In fact, during holidays like Christmas and New Year’s, some charter-yacht owners would even turn down one-week inquiries and insist on two-week commitments from clients. And they’d get them, nearly every time.
Oh how the tide has turned. Nowadays, not only are those holiday minimums history, but the one-week pricing structure has become pliable, too. Quite a few charter yachts are now willing to accept long-weekend charters at a pro-rated discount. Most times, you divide the weekly base rate by seven days and set the overall price on a per-day rate.
Florida and the Bahamas have a big percentage of charter yachts that are doing this nowadays, in particular catering to clients who want to leave Fort Lauderdale or Miami on a Friday morning, spend the weekend in the Bahamian islands, and be back in South Florida by late Monday afternoon. The geography of the destination lends itself to these types of shorter charters, and in turn makes some of the larger yachts more affordable for clients who lack the means to book them for an entire week.
A good example of a yacht fitting this description is the 75-foot Hatteras Sheer Bliss, which is part of the charter fleet at Neptune Group Yachting. Sheer Bliss normally charters at a weekly base rate of $18,000 for six guests, or about $6,000 per couple before expenses like food and fuel. For a four-day charter, though, that weekly base rate drops to a little more than $10,000, or about $3,400 per couple—bringing a 75-foot motoryacht charter experience within the economic reach of a lot more people.
Another example is the 78-foot Horizon Bella Mare, which is marketed on the website of Ocean Independence. The regular weekly base rate for Bella Mare is $22,000 for six guests. Knock that down to a long weekend, and you’re talking about $4,200 per couple.
These four-day rates, of course, are not small potatoes in terms of vacation spending, but they do make it possible for people to charter megayachts that otherwise would be beyond their financial reach. And a four-day vacation aboard a crewed luxury yacht is still one heck of a vacation.