Although luxury charter yachts and cruise ships share the common experience of being on the water, the yachting experience is distinctly different than the cruise ship experience. Comparing one with the other is like comparing apples and oranges. Some of the differences are listed below:
|Feature||Yacht Charter Group||Cruise Ship Group|
|Minimum # of Guests||No minimum; exclusivity available for any size of group||Available on a full ship charter basis so exclusive use varies with ship size; very few ships carry less than 200 guests and to our knowledge, none carry less than 100.|
|Maximum # of Guests||300 on a single sailing; more if groups sail back to back||3000+|
|Minimum Program Length||3 nights||3 nights on some itineraries; most of the 100-200 passenger ships have 5-7 night minimums.|
|Scheduling||Flexible; we can begin and end on any day of the week||Fixed; typically have to fit the cruise ship's published schedule|
|Cancellation Terms and Attrition||25% deposit; 25% six months prior; 50% 60 days prior. You can cancel "by yacht", therefore giving you cost flexibility if your program size decreases. Plus, depending on when you cancel, you do not forfeit the entire amount.||Typically, ships require 100% payment by letter of credit upon booking; if you cancel or have fewer guests, you lose the full payment.|
|Cruising Area; Distances||
We sail among a cluster of neighboring islands, cays, and reefs- visiting out-of-the-way ports that can only be accessed by yachts.
We are underway 10-15% of the time and may only sail about 5 to 10 miles each day. 2-3 stops per day is typical.
We sail in calm, protected waters; always within sight of land. Yachts anchor in a quaint or secluded harbor each night.
Underway 50-60% of the time. One stop per day is typical.
Visit a variety of large well-traveled islands, usually during the day; rarely in port at night
|Itinerary; Types of Ports Visited||
Customized itineraries in off-the-beaten track anchorages including quaint villages, deserted islands and secluded coves. Stops are selected for their natural beauty, their access to the local island lifestyle, and their appeal for watersports and land activities within walking distance. We avoid the deep water "non-swimmable" ports.
When there are no group activities on the agenda, guests are free to have their yacht take them wherever they want to go.
|Full ship charters also provide customized itineraries. Ports of call, however, are dictated by the availability of cruise ship docking or anchoring facilities. Therefore, most ports of call are busy, deep water ports where guests have easy access to "downtown" shopping activities yet have to take taxis to beaches, watersports, and sightseeing . If ships are able to anchor in a "beach-type" setting, they are quite far from shore, and guests transfer ashore in tenders.|
Each 6 to 8 guests has its own gourmet chef that tailors the menu to their individual preferences. Guests get to know their chefs and can make spontaneous special requests as well as choose the meal times they prefer.
|Meal service more similar to a restaurant where guests order from a menu.|
|Watersports and Water Access||
Swim at your whim right off the yacht; the beaches are 25 breaststrokes away. Each guest has his/her own snorkel gear, and there's a watersports instructor for every 6-8 guests. Each yacht has waterskis, tubes, wakeboards, kayaks, and tubes. Private scuba diving is available for certified divers.
The larger capacity ships do not carry watersports gear, and all of this must be arranged ashore. A handful of the smaller cruise ships have a couple of watersports instructors and gear that is shared by the entire group.
Guests have to tender ashore to swim. A few of the smaller cruise ships have a swim platform.
|Land Activities and Access||
Each 6-8 guests has its own private zodiac (with captain) that is always on call to take the guests to exactly where they want to go whenever they want to go.
Each 6-8 guests has a crew member who is a "local knowledge" expert and can serve as their shoreside guide
Most land activities are accessed via zodiac and walking.. no need for taxis
Shore excursions are typically scheduled activities in each port of call and frequently involve taxi transfers. Often, guests are waiting in lines to get on and off the ship and checking through security.
Destination management companies are generally hired to serve as "guides"
|Service||The service is highly personalized. Every 6-8 guests have their own exclusive crew of 2-5 dedicated to serving their needs including a captain, gourmet chef, watersports instructor, and stewardess.||Crew to guest ratio may be similar to yachts yet many of these crew do not interact with the guests (i.e. engineers, kitchen help, deckhands, etc); guests also do not have the exclusive services of these crew members.|
|Onboard Entertainment||Live entertainment can be arranged for our group parties and is also available ashore||Most ships offer nightclubs and a casino as well as a wide variety of bands, shows, and entertainers.|
|Dress||Casual; guests can pack light||Varies from casual to formal|
|The "On the Water" Experience||You are literally 4-5 feet above the water, offering an intimate experience of nature happening right at your doorstep.||Most of the open deckspace is on the upper decks so you can be 5 or 6 stories above the water. You view the water rather than experience it.|
|Life Underway||Life unfolds at a leisurely pace. Yachts sail for 1-3 hours at a time, giving guests an upclose and personal experience of the sailing area. Guests can laze about, take the helm and learn to sail, fish, read a book, snooze, or watch the world go by. The "meditative magic" of sailing with little to do is what guests tell us they like the most||Ships sail from 10 to 48 hours at a time. Guests can be as active or passive as they choose; numerous scheduled activities aboard the ship|
|Function Space; Spa; Fitness Centers||Typically, we would access these at a shoreside resort.||Usually lots of lounges, decks, theaters, and meeting rooms onboard. Also state of the art spas and fitness centers.|
|Uniqueness||How many people do you know who have done this? How many of your potential winners would even know how to do this on their own?||Nearly 200 million people have gone on a cruise. It is common place for ordinary travelers.|