With flights cancelled and travel bans implemented across the world, the COVID-19 crisis has thrown the entire travel industry disarray – but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. As countries begin to open their doors to travellers, starting with a lifting of restrictions on airports and – more importantly – marinas and waterways. But what does this mean for your summer charter vacation? Find out when you can charter, where you can charter, and how charter yachts are managing the coronavirus crisis. You are on the move throughout your holiday. Your yacht is much like a floating haven away from crowds with different experiences onboard and offshore. Yacht charters are private, stress-free vacations, bringing small groups of family or friends together - without the need of coming into contact with strangers and using public facilities, as would occur in resorts.
When can I charter and where?
Western countries, Middle East, islands in the pacific, Australia, Maldives, Thailand, Sri Lanka have slowly lifted their travel restrictions, which is good news for charterers looking to get out on the water. However, it won't be as simple as hopping on a plane and meeting your yacht as planned. Being able to travel to your destination of choice will depend on the restrictions in place between your country of origin and your country of arrival. Sometimes a private jet charter helps overcome the lack of flights. In many cases, travel will be restricted for those arriving from countries deemed to be 'high risk' or where travel is permissible you probably still have to provide a negative COVID-19 test on arrival to avoid a mandatory quarantine period. If you're unsure, contact us or consult government websites for official advice.
Is it safe to charter a yacht?
Chartering a yacht is an “excellent alternative” to other luxury holiday options often considered to be one of the safest ways to enjoy a vacation. Private charter ensures guests can stay safeguarded in smaller, immaculately-clean environment, while minimising the need to frequent public areas where risks naturally increase.
By testing the captain the crew as well as guests , it's a no brainer - I would always go for a yacht charter versus a luxury villa this summer. A yacht offers an easily controlled environment in terms of the comings and goings of guests and other personnel. The passerelle is effectively a drawbridge and nobody need step on board the yacht as deliveries are left on the quay and loaded by the crew.
In light of the coronavirus pandemic charter companies are going further than ever before to ensure that yachts are entirely safe. Most yachts have enhanced their already strict cleaning and hygiene regimes and are putting extra protocols into place to ensure the health and safety of both charter guests and their crews. These protocols include extending turnaround times between charters to allow for extensive cleaning, regularly testing crew, and isolating rotating crew ashore before they re-join the boat. Sometimes onboard antibody tests, thermal imaging cameras, deeper sanitisation between charters, the entire charter industry is going to the extreme of what they can do to accommodate everyone on board as much as possible.
Of course, no matter where you are, travellers are advised to still be vigilant and adhere to the rules and restrictions of their destination. These might include two-metre distancing rules, curfews and mandatory face mask requirements when using public transport.
How will chartering a yacht be different after COVID-19?
Once you’re on board, the charter experience will remain largely unchanged. However, trips ashore will be much more limited depending on the restrictions of your destination. Some places have introduced a curfew as well as limited restaurant capacities which puts a limit to evening dining ashore. On the plus side, it will be much easier for captains to seek out peaceful and uncrowded anchorages.
Can I cancel a yacht charter?
Given the difficult circumstances, a number of charter yachts are offering addendums to charter contracts that allow travellers to re-book or cancel without a penalty.
Will I have to quarantine before I step on board?
This will be dependent on your nationality, where you’re travelling from and the restrictions in place in the country of your charter. These can vary from country to country, and in some cases from port to port. Port and travel restrictions are changing daily so it’s best to contact your charter broker with any questions.