Coronavirus: Everything you Need to Know About Superyacht Charter
With the worldwide outbreak of coronavirus causing uncertainty across the travel market, the superyacht industry shares travel advice if you are planning a luxury superyacht charter amid COVID-19
Is a Superyacht Charter Safe?
Despite concerns about the quickly changing nature of the coronavirus outbreak, which has forced a number of yacht shows from Singapore to Dubai to be postponed, brokers are keen to reassure charterers that a yacht can provide the safest holiday option. “Private yacht charter is an excellent alternative to high-end hotels, cruises, resort and villa holidays,” Ocean Independence said in a statement. “Private charter ensures guests can stay safeguarded in smaller, immaculately-clean environments, while minimising the need to frequent public areas where risks naturally increase.”
The reassurance from charter brokers echoes optimistic comments from the Italian Marine Industry, which has criticised recent media coverage of the outbreak, as well as organisers of the Palm Beach International Boat Show, who have insisted that the show will go ahead.
Brokers have reassured clients that a yacht charter can actually be the safest holiday option.
Del Sol Luxury Charter also pointed out the advantage of a superyacht holiday. “In more ‘normal’ times 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 permanent crew,” the firm added.
Although a yacht can be carefully monitored some concerns have been raised about where crew members or the yacht might have previously visited. “To offer peace of mind to guests, prior to each charter, yacht crews are screened and extensive daily cleaning takes place on board,” Ocean Independence said.
Del Sol Luxury Charter highlighted that superyachts are used to handling challenging requests in order to ensure clients are comfortable. “It is not unknown for yachts to buy entire new sets of crockery to cater to specific religious groups, to implement temporary bans on alcohol on request, to adhere to strict diets and other very specific demands,” the brokerage explained. “So, putting measures in place to reduce risk of virus transmission to guests and crew is a relatively straightforward exercise.”
Charter crews are used to handling challenging requests from guests, so implementing procedures to reduce virus transmission should be relatively straightforward.
How is coronavirus impacting charter bookings?
In order to overcome uncertainty brokerage firms are updating their contracts to give charter clients greater confidence. “Northrop & Johnson is creating an Addendum to cover the [coronavirus] situation and can also offer good cancellation insurance to cover a range of scenarios, thus reassuring any clients who are hesitating to confirm their summer plans,” explained senior charter broker Fiona Maureso.
Del Sol Luxury Charter has also announced that it has a selection of yachts that will offer penalty free cancellation for a limited time period in order to further reassure customers,
Some brokers are even reporting an upturn in bookings as luxury travellers turn to superyachts. Ocean Independence recorded a large number of secured bookings last week, which matched an upturn in enquiries.
Imperial Yachts has also seen a healthy demand for charters. “The summer charter season already looks very busy,” says Imperial Yachts’ Ekaterina Pavlova. “We have observed a really high level of interest and have already signed an impressive amount of contracts. Despite the coronavirus, which we know might affect the charter industry, in the Mediterranean especially, most of our clients are ready to book and start planning despite the current worldwide atmosphere.”
The situation in Italy means that clients appear to be looking for alternative summer destinations. “We are seeing clients requesting charter itineraries that start in countries with only a low incidence of the coronavirus such as Spain, Croatia, Montenegro and Greece,” said Jim Evans of SuperYachtsMonaco.
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