When it comes to where to charter, the creation of your perfect yacht charter itinerary can be a very exciting process. The yacht, the timing, the crew, the toys, the activities, the events, the anchorages, the shoreside visits – they all need careful consideration. But the fact that each charter yacht tends to operate from a specific base during a specific season means that, in order to move forward and start refining the details that will make your charter experience unique, your first task is to decide upon your favoured destination. Should you go for the rustic authenticity of the Eastern Mediterranean? For the cool cultural charisma of northern Europe? For the iconic VIP charter hubs of the Amalfi Coast and the French Riviera? Or for something further off the beaten track? We spoke to Rita Luskovic, Head of Charter at Princess Yacht Charter, to find out where you should be looking.
What makes yacht charter particularly special?
There are so many things – but at the heart of it all is exclusivity, your own unique itinerary and privacy. In the wake of the pandemic, charter is now more popular as a holiday choice than ever before and privacy is a really vital part of that.
What makes an effective charter destination?
The basic essentials are good weather, excellent restaurants and a great cruising area with a variety of destinations.
Do your clients tend to know where they want to go?
The destination is the first and most important consideration for a charter guest so, in 90% of cases, when they come to me with a yacht enquiry, they already know where they want to go. The other 10% want suggestions from us and we’re very happy to provide that but it always comes down to destination as the first step.
So where would you recommend people look for value for money?
You can find some really well priced charters in Greece because very few of the yachts are new. Most of them are older models that have been refitted so even the bigger yachts are great value. Of course, you don’t get quite the same kudos as you might on a newer vessel, but you can still go and do exactly the same as a newer yacht in terms of your itinerary and your charter experience – just for less money.
What’s the perfect family destination?
Yacht charter families tend to want clean, safe beaches and warm, shallow, waters for sheltered watersports. They want their kids to swim, to use the seabobs and paddleboards. They want their kids to be active. When you can see the bottom of the sea, it looks great and it gives people confidence, and Greece and the French Riviera are both ideal for that. Croatia, Corsica and Sardinia are all beautiful for the family and parts of the Balearics (Ibiza and Formentera) could also work. But to be honest, every destination can provide a special family charter, as long as you work according to people’s preferences in terms of what they want to do and where they want to go.
Is it the same for other kinds of charter too?
For sure. Whether you’re looking for serenity, glamour, parties or events, all of our destinations can do a wonderful job, as long as you get the right yacht, the right crew, the right itinerary and the right time of year. For instance, if you want to enjoy nights out, restaurants and shopping, the French Rivera will work. Italy will work. The Balearics will work. Greece will work. And the same goes for families. You just need to look into refining the itinerary in the right way and avoiding any particular spots that don’t collaborate with that.
So which destinations would you say are the most flexible?
If you want access to a bit of everything and you want the flexibility to adjust your charter experience in any way you choose, Greece and the French Riviera are very hard to beat.
Are there any new or emerging destinations people should consider?
We’ve done some charters in the Pacific – in the Fiji Islands and Tahiti. Some of our yachts have also been to the Maldives this summer and the Galapagos Islands are also now becoming more prominent because owners are choosing to relocate their yachts there. But the cost of moving large yachts is phenomenal, so the owners are very rarely driven by commercial motives. They relocate their yachts to these exclusive new locations because they want to experience these places for themselves.
Are these remote new locations set to become more popular now?
I have no doubt that these new destinations will add an extra option for people who have been chartering for a long time and are looking for new adventures. But being so remote, they will remain more about exclusivity than popularity.
What’s your own favourite destination?
Although there are very few beaches around, I love the Amalfi Coast. I love the restaurants on top of the hills, where it’s almost nerve-racking to sit and eat, overlooking the cliff edge. I love the fact that there are 13 different villages along the Amalfi Coast to choose from. And Capri Island is gorgeous. It has amazing restaurants and little pebble beaches with beautiful caves. Ischia Island is also a wonderful place and the shopping is fantastic. I love Italian food. I love Italian people. I love the culture, the views, the history, the islands. Even if you go to the Amalfi Coast every year for a decade or more, you will always find something new. I just can’t recommend it highly enough.
What’s been your most special moment on the Amalfi Coast?
I remember when we were coming back from Positano to Capri on a small boat. It was already 8:30pm and we saw the most amazing sunset. The houses on the Amalfi coast sit almost on top of each other and they climb high, from water level right up to the mountains. And when you’re in a little boat and looking up at this massive mountain with the lights of the little restaurants and towns and houses, all glowing on the hillside, it’s very powerful. You just feel so very small and so very lucky to be immersed in this huge and magnificent place.