Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Cruise Ship Vs. Private Yacht Charter

For first-timers and seasoned pros alike, most people assume that in order to sail the world's oceans and rivers you have to sign up with one of the major cruise lines. While cruising with one of the majors is the most common way to sail, there are other options available, such as chartering a private yacht.

Before the money alarm bells start going off in your head, it might help to know that in some cases a privately-chartered yacht might make financial sense, particularly if you have a larger group of people who will split the cost of the charter. And, charters vary widely in price. For example, you can charter a yacht cruising Florida and the Bahamas in the winter and New England in the summer from $15,500 per week for 6 people. That comes out to just over $2,500 per person. Of course, there are pricier yachts you can charter for $385,000 per week for 12 guests and a crew of 13. A yacht like that comes equipped with fishing equipment, snorkeling equipment, water skis, 3 waverunners, kneeboards, 2 kayaks, gym and a Jacuzzi. Again, prices vary widely. You may be amazed at what you'd find in your price range. Some private yacht charters also offer cheaper deals if you agree to cook your own food rather than have a chef onboard.

Benefits of Private Yacht Charter over Major Cruise Line

Privacy:

On a major cruise you have lots of company. Over 2,000 passengers on many cruises. With a private yacht charter it can be just you and under a dozen other people, often times just your friends and family. Besides you and the other passengers, the only other individuals onboard would be the yacht crew or staff. This might not only include a captain and other onboard hands, but it may also include a maid or a private chef.

Perfect for Small Gatherings:

Private yachts are ideal for small business parties, casual business meetings, romantic getaways, honeymoons, weddings, and even family vacations. It's hard to hold a business meeting on a large cruise ship with all the noise and activity going on around you. And, a private yacht charter allows you the opportunity to get closer to your loved ones without other people getting in the way.

Activities:

You may be able to go swimming, scuba diving or snorkeling right off the yacht. Jumping off the ship and into the ocean is not something that's encouraged on a major cruise ship. Neither is fishing. But, on your own private chartered yacht, that is also an activity you, your family and friends can enjoy.

Health Considerations:

Every year it seems there's news of some outbreak of something on a major cruise ship. With all the people aboard, it's much easier for infections to be spread around, no matter how hard the crew tries to keep everything clean and disinfected. With the small number of people on a private chartered yacht, you have less chance of coming in contact with pathogens.

Benefits of a Major Cruise Line over a Private Chartered Yacht

Cost:

While you can find a private yacht charter that won't break the bank, a vacation with a major cruise line is still probably cheaper, even for an ocean-view balcony room. And, if you book early enough, you're often offered an upgrade when your cruise date nears.

Activities:

A major cruise ship offers an incredible amount of activities, such as movies, dancing, yoga, exercise classes. Many have onboard casinos and numerous swimming pools. If you're bored reading or watching the scenery, there's always an activity scheduled.

Escape:

While taking a vacation on a yacht with 8 other people sounds nice, you may not be able to escape these same people during the day on a private yacht. On a major cruise there are so many activities that people can go off and do their own thing without always bumping into each other.

When deciding between a major cruise ship and private chartered yacht it helps to sort out what you really want on your vacation. Do you want the opportunity to see beautiful scenery at a minimal cost, or are privacy and being catered to an important consideration for you?

Should you decide to look into chartering a private yacht, you might wish to go through a yacht charter agent who has knowledge of the different companies offering chartered yachts. Choose an agent who is a member of one of the yacht broker's associations, such as the AYCA, the American Yacht Charter Association, or CYBA, the Charter Yacht Brokers Association.

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