When Is the Best Time to Charter a Yacht
by Florencia Falótico on Nov 28, 2022
Knowing when to charter a yacht in your destination of choice is one of the first steps in planning a yacht charter. There are a variety of factors that determine the optimum time to charter, ranging from climate and weather patterns to school vacation schedules creating periods of heavy demand.
For peak season travel, plan to book your charter well in advance since the longer you delay, the inventory of available yachts will decrease. For example, for a New Year’s charter, plan at least a year in advance. If you have flexibility with your schedule, we’d suggest choosing the shoulder season when demand is not as great, rates are not as high, anchorages are less crowded, and weather is still pleasant.
Continue reading to learn more about the best time to charter in each of the world’s most popular charter destinations.
The weather in the Caribbean is consistently warm all year, but be cautious of hurricane season, which impacts the northern latitudes including the Virgin Islands and St. Martin. The official hurricane season extends from June 1 to November 30 but historically most hurricanes occur during the months of August through October. During this time many yachts travel south to the Grenadines which are located below the hurricane belt. Others haul out of the water for annual maintenance and crews take their well-deserved annual vacation, so inventory is limited. By early November, activity picks up with the annual charter yacht broker shows in the USVI and BVI which are scheduled during the first part of November. By Thanksgiving the season is in full swing.
Although the Bahamas is also in the hurricane belt, there is more advanced knowledge of approaching storms since they take longer to arrive. There is more time to cancel if a hurricane is approaching at the same time as your charter dates.
In any case, trip cancellation insurance is a must for any charter taking place between August and October in the Caribbean.
Christmas and New Year's are the peak season for charters in the Caribbean. In the charter business, the holidays are considered two booking weeks:
Christmas charters: December 19-20 to December 26-27.
New Year's charters: December 27-28-29 to January 3-4-5.
Expect prices to be 10-20% higher than at any other time, and many yachts have a flat rate based on maximum capacity as well. There is typically a 7-night minimum, although large motor yachts often require 10 nights minimum. Availability for New Year’s is limited by summer and very limited by fall.
In conclusion, the best time to charter in the Caribbean is generally November through July but be prepared to pay a premium over the holidays. In addition to the holiday weeks, Spring Break in late March is also a busy time.
Grenadines. Photo by PublicDomainPictures on Pixabay.
The charter areas of the Mediterranean have a similar climate as the Midwest of the United States. Santorini, Greece is roughly the same latitude as Oklahoma City. Split, Croatia is similar to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The weather here is pleasant from spring to fall, but in July and August the number of visitors surges. These are the warmest months and most pleasant to be in the water. It is also the time when many Europeans are on holiday. Expect to pay the highest rates in July and August and plan to book a year in advance for the most popular yachts. Restaurants and ports are also exceptionally busy and require reservations in advance.
When planning a yacht charter in Greece in July or August, it is important to keep in mind that this is the time when the Meltemi wind is at its strongest in the Aegean, impacting charters in the Cyclades (Mykonos, Santorini, etc.) It is not uncommon for the wind to be so strong that the yacht cannot leave the port for safety reasons. It's best to choose one of the other wonderful Greek regions such as the Ionian or Saronic regions during this time.
The months of June and September are the shoulder season and a delightful time to charter since the air and temperature is warm (especially in September) and the ports are less crowded. In May and October, the weather is also pleasant, but there is a greater chance of rain.
Greece. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.
There are many great destinations to charter a yacht in addition to the Caribbean and Mediterranean. Here is a sampling of the best months for chartering in these far-flung destinations.
Although the weather is balmy year-round, the best time to visit Tahiti is between May and October, when it is less humid (winter). The wet summer season runs from November to April.
The best time to charter in Fiji is from July to September. The months of May, June, and October are considered shoulder seasons.
The Seychelles experience two trade winds that blow from November- March and May-September, respectively. The calmer periods between the trade winds are April-May and October-November.
Thailand has two distinct seasons: the Northeast Monsoon and the Southwest Monsoon. The first, from November to April, is the best time to visit since the winds are stable, the weather is dry, and there is plenty of sun. Avoid the Southwest Monsoon from May to October which are the windiest, wettest months.
The driest and warmest time of year to travel to Alaska is during the summer with the peak in July and August. The entire season extends from mid-May to mid-September.
The summer months of December to March are ideal for visiting New Zealand. Expect long, bright, sunny days with temperatures ranging from 61°F to 75°F.
Thailand. Photo by Jeppe Hove Jensen on Unsplash.
If you'd like to embark on your own yacht charter adventure, contact our brokers who will assist you in finding the best yacht in your desired destination.