This specialist guide to luxury yacht charter will ensure you are fully prepared for your holiday aboard a yacht.
Meet Your Broker
West Nautical’s brokers are highly knowledgeable, approachable, and passionate about yacht charter. Their insight goes beyond the yacht’s specification and statistics. Brokers have an in-depth understanding of the subtleties of each individual vessel, often knowing the Captains and their crew; gaining the feel of each yacht by spending time on board themselves.
It is impossible to compare yachts like for like, but we will try! A GRP sports yacht will offer a different experience to a gentleman’s cruiser. Cabins will be a different size, the facilities on-board will be different and the crew will deliver a different style of service. A yacht cannot be viewed only by its length and number of crew, in the same way that a hotel cannot be rated only by its location and room numbers.
We know how important finding the right match is to the delivery of your perfect holiday experience. Whether you would like to enjoy a week of watersports activites, partying with friends, or anchored somewhere far from life shore, our brokers go the extra mile to make sure you are on the perfect yacht.
Why are the crew so important on a charter?
Great crew are fundamental to delivering a good charter experience. On a yacht you are not familiar with, the crew will make you feel immediately at ease, explain how everything works, and ensure your every wish is taken care of.
Whilst a yacht may be an unusual environment for you or some of your guests, a charter yacht crew will be well versed in explaining the unfamiliar. In particular, you will find the Captain to be a fount of knowledge- most have lead interesting and varied careers at sea.
Good yacht crew go beyond the ordinary. Arranging for your favourite food and drink to be on board in advance, arranging transfers ashore, or ensuring the restaurant you have always wanted to visit has its best table ready. In unfamiliar waters, they will act as a dependable guide.
Making the best of your time on board the yacht itself is another area where crew come into their own. On most yachts crew are qualified above and beyond their duties above or below deck. They will take you diving, teach you to ride a jet ski, go ashore for a hike or sightseeing exploration, or how to make their signature Bloody Mary or fruit carving in the galley. Crew love to share a job that’s their vocation.
A great deal of what crew do is behind the scenes and essential to your successful charter.
A good charter yacht is often described as a swan, effortlessly gliding above the water whilst paddling furiously below!
How do I know if the Captain, Chef and Crew will suit my tastes?
The Captain, Chef and crew are fundamental to your experience on board a yacht. West Nautical invests significant time in getting to know the yachts. their Captains and crew before we present them for charter, making sure they have the subtleties of character needed to deliver for any client they may encounter. All yacht crew are highly trained professionals in their own right and can be expected to be absolutely discreet, friendly or formal, depending on the occasion and your desired style of service.
Chefs working in the industry often have background in cooking in top restaurants on land, bringing their own influences and specialties to a yacht’s galley. However, above all, a yacht’s chef will have proven themselves highly adaptable and able to cook a broad variety of styles.
Yacht Captains have generally dedicated decades to get to the top of a highly competitive industry. You can expect a resolute professional who upholds their team to the highest of standards who is also personable and a point of contact throughout your time on board.
The interior crew on board a yacht will be trained in silver service as standard but many bring other specialist skills on board such as being a trained yoga instructor or masseuse. They often divide their time between service and housekeeping duties, where they ensure the interior of the yacht is immaculately maintained, all the guest laundry is washed, pressed and hung up before you have returned to your spotless cabin after a day of indulgence.
The yacht’s officers and deck crew will all be capable mariners, chosen carefully for their character as well as their qualifications. As with the interior crew, many will also be specially trained as dive instructors or watersports instructors, meaning your guests will be well entertained.
Highly Customised, inherently flexible
The endless possibilities available during your yacht charter are only limited by your imagination. We will ensure your preferred food and drink is on board. Whether it be your favourite champagne on ice, or milkshake for your children. The 5* chefs and interior teams will do the rest, learning how you like to be served, offering you delicious menus and breaking the mould of your expectation by surprising you with their hospitality at every opportunity. Nothing is too much to ask. Working with the Captain and their crew, we will ensure an itinerary that promises to impress and is inherently flexible, just in case spontaneity strikes!
Eating and Drinking
The yachting industry has a reputation for unparalleled private dining. The on board chef will be a highly accomplished culinary expert in their own right, usually well-travelled and bringing flavours from several parts of the world to what they do. In parallel, the rest of the team that serves you will be silver service trained and ensure eating on board is a visual feast.
Eating and drinking on a luxury charter yacht is taken care of by a highly capable chef that caters for your every need and personal taste. Wherever in the world, whatever you would like to have on board, we will make it happen. The chef will know your dietary requirements and any allergies prior to you embarking, and they will prepare fresh menus daily to exceed your culinary expectations.
Massage therapist, watersports instructor, nanny…
Every yacht’s crew is different; but you can be assured of a warm welcome, absolute discretion, and the very best service in every case. Many crew are qualified specialists. Massage therapists, watersport instructors, and fitness experts can be found on the yachts we charter. We can also arrange for your own private staff to be catered for aboard upon your request; simply, we try and accommodate your every desire.
Many private yachts have fully trained spa professionals as part of the regular crew, there to ensure you are totally relaxed. Some larger motor yachts have complete spa facilities including sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi. Swimming pools also feature on the largest of yachts.
Watersports and yachting go hand in hand. Many yachts have watersports facilities, ranging from wakeboarding to deep sea submarines similar to those found on research ships. The most common watersports equipment to find on board yachts includes diving equipment, jet skis, and inflatable slides.
Yacht etiquette and what to expect on board
First time yacht guests are often surprised how informal the experience on board is. There are very few rules, but there are a few things worth remembering when stepping aboard.
At the gangway of almost every yacht you will find a shoe basket. Leave your shoes here. Yacht’s decks are made of teak, a beautiful hard wood, but one that absorbs dirt easily and can be easily damaged by high heels. You will soon get used to the pleasure of walking barefoot on deck.
Soft sided luggage is appreciated by all on board as hard sided cases have a habit of damaging the furnishings.
The language used on a yacht can be baffling. ‘Head’ means bathroom, ‘galley’ means kitchen and ‘down below’ means inside. A wall is a ‘bulkhead’, a floor is a ‘deck’ and the ceiling is the ‘deck head’. The left had side of the yacht is the ‘port side’, the right side is ‘starboard’, the ‘bow’ is at the front and the ‘stern’ is at the rear.
There’s no need to learn these terms…….. just please forgive the crew if they use them and ask for a translation!
Meet the crew
You will usually be introduced to the entire crew by the yacht’s Captain when you first board the yacht. They are on board to serve you and make you feel completely at ease. Nothing will be too much trouble, just ask. Should you have a concern, you should go directly to the Captain or one of his senior crew members.
Crew areas and guest areas
Yachts have separated crew accommodation and crew eat separately from guests. Every member of the crew (including the ones you don’t see) will be working hard to ensure you have the best possible time on board, so it’s good manners to respect their accommodation.
It is customary to tip crew 10-15% of the charter cost in recognition of good service. The tip should be handed to the Captain at the end of the charter to be divided between the crew, it’s likely that you won’t see some crew that work behind the scenes, nevertheless they are instrumental to keeping the yacht running to a high standard, such as the engineers you can thank for your internet, electricity and lighting!
Some charter guests like to take their crew, sometimes just the Captain, ashore for dinner one evening. This is however not expected, so please don’t feel obliged to offer. Also, don’t be surprised if your offer is politely declined, it’s likely to be because the crew is busy behind the scenes.