Advance bookings are back. As we publish this, the calendar reads September 2015, and we are hearing not only that most of the top yachts are already booked for Christmas and New Year’s in the Caribbean, but also that some of them are already securing bookings into July and August 2016 for the Mediterranean.
Think exotic. More and more options continue to become available for yacht charter in out-of-the-way locales. From the newly refurbished expedition yacht Legend heading to Antarctica later this year to the 138-foot Alumarine sailing catamaran Douce France bound for Vietnam and Micronesia in July 2016, the possibilities are virtually endless.
Beach clubs are in. More and more of the motoryachts 150 feet and larger that are coming into charter now have water-level beach clubs, where you can step from the swim platform directly into a lounge or a sauna or a massage room. Charter guests will soon expect this amenity aboard all bigger builds.
Foldout balconies are trendy. We’re also seeing more and more large motoryachts entering the charter marketplace with balconies that fold out from their hull sides, turning the main salon and interior dining areas into true indoor-outdoor spaces.
Toys are evolving. Most charter yachts still carry the longtime favorites like snorkeling gear and standup paddle boards, but we’re starting to see more and more Seabobs, JetSurfs and other motorized toys to zip charter guests through the water in exhilarating style.
Norway is calling. A charter captain who spent this past summer season in the Baltic region told us that charter inquiries for the Norwegian fjords were quadruple what he saw for the Swedish archipelago.
Short-term charters are more popular. We’ve heard this in a few places recently, including from several managers of yachts 120 feet and larger. They tells us demand is up from U.S. clients for two- and three-day bookings in the Bahamas and Caribbean–and that more and more yachts are willing to take the short-week deals.
On-demand charter is coming. Camper and Nicholsons International, which controls one of the most successful charter yacht fleets in the world, just acquired Yachtster, a company that offers on-demand bookings (from your cellphone!) of short-term charters aboard smaller yachts with one day’s notice or less.
Asia may blossom this winter. With new legal frameworks that allow foreign-flagged yachts to charter legally throughout Thailand for extended periods, we’re expecting an influx of yachts to start in Southeast Asia this winter, and to build during the next few years as demand rises along with availability.
Think St. Kitts for winter 2017-18. We’re keeping an eye on construction at Christophe Harbour, a luxury marina being built on St. Kitts by the owner of the 154-foot Perini Navi sailing yacht Andromeda la Dea. It’s open now with a bar, and it looks like shops and restaurants will be fully online for the winter 2017-18 charter season, giving clients a destination to add to their existing itineraries of St. Barts and St. Martin.