AmericanYacht has a flat organization all four of us have equal rights although it would be fair to say that some of us are more equal than others. Founded in 1998, we have a combined experience of over 25 years in the charter industry. Gail is on the board of directors of the Charter Yacht Brokers Association (CYBA), where she chairs the Ethics committee. Tony is a member of both CYBA and also the Florida Yacht Brokers Association (FYBA). Our company is accredited by the Charter Yacht Society of the British Virgin Islands.
We provide our clients with vacations on charter yachts worldwide with an emphasis on the Caribbean, the Mediterranean and other regions of the world, including New England and the Pacific Northwest, Mexico, the South Pacific, the Indian Ocean, and Asian destinations.
American Yacht also specializes in Special Corporate events and Weddings on Yachts in the South Florida area.
Caribbean Yacht Charters
The Caribbean has long been the darling of the yachting crowd and for good reasons too: the proximity, the regular trade winds, warm water and good weather year-round (barring hurricanes..!!), nice little islands to visit, friendly natives, great beaches, great snorkeling and SCUBA diving, reefs that are actually alive and still with pretty little colored fishes, the Caribbean has it all.
The most popular Caribbean charter yacht destinations include the BVI, (British Virgin Islands), the USVI (US Virgin Islands), the Bahamas, St. Maarten and St. Barth, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Cuba and the French West Indies islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe.
There is a great selection of both sailing and motor yachts in the Caribbean, but not all are created equal. We represent and recommend only crewed yachts and bareboat companies that have developed a reputation for reliability and good service and, especially in the case of bareboats, that offer newer models and good support and that are reasonably priced.
Use our search engines to find the perfect crewed yacht or bareboat in the perfect location at the best price.
Mediterranean Yacht Charters
The Mediterranean has many cruising options. The most popular destinations include those with the following universal characteristics: protected waters, a number of interesting islands to visit, small villages on the water with ports with anchorages or docks large enough to accommodate a yacht, interesting things to see (and eat) while ashore and “visitor-friendly” locals.
Within these general principals, the following destinations meet the requirements from West to East:
a) Spain and the Balearics. pros are good food and friendly locals, cons are that yachts need a special Spanish cruising license to pick up and drop-off paying guests thus making it difficuly for non-Spanish yachts to do business there. Some of the commercially licensed vessels are exempt from this requirement but most part-time charter vessels do not have this certificate and this drives the price up. Also the distance between the Balearic Islands of Majorca, Menorca and Ibiza and the mainland is quite large and that takes time and fuel. This destination would normally be a “stand-alone” destination since it is pretty far away from the French Riviera, for example.
b) The French Riviera and Monaco are a favorite yachting retreat for the rich and famous. The yacht rates and the dockage in this area reflect this. Notwithstanding, if you have the wallet, I have the time and there are plenty of yachts available and it’s marvellous to plan an itinerary starting in Hyeres or St Tropez, for example and finishing up in Monaco. A larger motor yacht could also include some destinations on the Italian Riviera on the same trip so instead of finishing up in Monaco you could end your charter in San Remo or even Genoa, for example.
c) The Northern Italian Coast: charters generally start in Genoa or Portofino, Santa Margharita Ligure or La Spezia. This itinerary would include the Cinque-Terre region and all the little ports and villages on the coast. You can choose to disembark in Civittavecchia (Rome) or Naples (Napoli).
d) The Southern Italian (Amalfi) Coast is a favorite for charterers, yachts generally pick up in Napoli and cruise the Amalfi and the islands of Ischia and Capri all the way to Salerno. If it is a larger faster yacht you can include Sicily in this equation although this is usually a stand-alone charter destination.
e) Sicily and the Aeolian Islands are another favorite destination. Yacht will usually pick up in either Napoli, or Reggio di Calabria which has an airport close by and of course on Sicily proper in Palermo. Sicily is delightful with quaint little villages scattered all around the coast. Good food, nice people. The Aeolian Islands include Stromboli with its famous volcano, other than that the Aeolian is quite dry and uninteresting except for Lipari.
f) Croatia, a relatively new destination for charter yachts, has some beautiful islands and of course the historic city of Dubrovnik. Very popular with the “bareboat” crowd. You can board in Split and disembark in Dubrovnik, both of which have good airports.
g) The Greek Islands: This will take a little longer so bear with me here: Greece and Turkey are some of our favorite places and we offer the following tips for first time charterers. Most people relate Greek Islands cruising to the classic destinations of Mykonos and Santorini. The truth is that there are more than 700 islands in Greece and every one offers a fantastic and different cultural and gastronomical experience. The easiest way to think about the Greek islands is to classify them into groups:
1. The Cyclades (keek-lah-dess) that include Mykonos, Santorini, Syros and others. Not good in July/August due to possibility of Meltemi Wind.
2. The Saronic (Sah-ron-ik) Gulf and Peloponnese Islands that include Aegina, Poros, Spetses and Hydra.
3. The Ionian (Eye-ohn-yan) Group of Islands, on the West coast of the Greek mainland that include Corfu and Cephalonia (home of “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” fame).
4. The Dodecanese (Doh-dek-ahn-ease) Group, is in the far Eastern waters of the Greek Archipielago that border with Turkey. These include Samos, Kos, Kalimnos and Rhodes. Cruising these waters can give you a wonderful experience of both Greek and Turkish cultures and foods and include a visit to Ephesus, famous for its ancient Biblical history, architecture and monuments.
5. The Sporades (Spor-ah-des) Group, North of Athens are quite different and very green and agricultural. Generally calmer waters and less wind, a favorite for fair weather sailors.
6. You can also add the island of Crete to these Groups, Crete is a unique place and a bit off the beaten track and should be a “stand-alone” destination.
When you fly into Athens, you can start your yacht charter at the Port closest to Athens which is Piraeus or Alimos. From Piraeus you have three choices: East to the Cyclades, South to the Saronic and the islands of Aegina, Poros, Hydra and Spetses OR West, through the Corinth canal to the Gulf of Corinth and to the Ionian islands of Cephalonia and Corfu. This latter is a longer trip more suitable for 2 week charters.
If you choose the Dodecanese, you should fly on a local airline (Aegean Air is very good) to either Samos or to Rhodes and pick up your yacht in either location. In June July and August which are “Meltemi” wind months, the Meltemi blows from the NorthWest, It’s better to fly in to Samos, pick up the yacht there, and travel SouthEast with the wind behind you making for a smoother ride and a more pleasant trip.
Another thing to bear in mind is that you can use a Turkish yacht, maybe even a Turkish Gulet which are marvellous, comfortable and well-maintained boats, made entirely by hand out of wood grown in the Turkish highlands, that can be chartered from Samos, Rhodes or even better, from Bodrum or Marmaris on the Turkish side. The Turkish Lira has a much more favorable exchange rate with the US$ than the Euro so everything, including hotels and restaurants, is relatively less expensive.
Things To Do
First timers often ask me what do you actually do on a yacht charter – especially if you have kids. We’ve put together an easy list of different activities that are possible all the way from ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to INTENSE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY. This depends on what kind of person you are and what it is you prefer to do while on holiday or on vacation.
Go ashore and explore, swim in the wonderful clear turquoise waters, water-ski along deserted beaches, kayak or Paddleboard along the coast line, read a book, and best of all, enjoy being pampered by your professional charter captain and crew.
Whatever your hobbies or favorite interests however, you will doing them in the most unbelievably beautiful and relaxing places on earth. Most charter destinations have the most amazing backdrops on the planet. Sit back or lie back and enjoy the ride.
No we’re not kidding. Some of our clients just want to kick back and enjoy. Perhaps a little sunbathing, reading, snorkeling but otherwise, don’t bug me. The beauty of a yacht charter is precisely that: You don’t really need to do anything at all, your crew will look after you hand and foot – nice well served meals, a drink or two, great scenery, an afternoon nap, perhaps try your hand at taking the helm of your yacht – many captains will be happy to let you share the simple stuff.
A perfect way to relax is to spend time on the water and forget all about work although it does take a couple of days to really settle down and relax, trust me, been there, done that.
If you’re a little more adventurous, perhaps stop by a couple of the many local watering holes and meet fellow charterers and locals – never know who you’re going to run into..!! Enjoy.
Many charterer guests like to engage in a variety of water sports and most charter yachts have a nice selection of “toys” available for their guests, mostly at no extra cost. Exceptions to this might be fuel for motor driven “toys” and SCUBA diving that usually has an extra cost attached to it and charged on a per-dive basis. Here’s a list of typical water sports items and activities that are or sometimes can be made available.
Snorkeling equipment: dive masks, snorkel tubes and fins in varying sizes and shapes. Having said this, many serious snorkelers like to bring their own mask and breathing tube with them since the ones on the boat will not be new or particularly well fitting. Especially those from bareboat operating companies may be a little suspect.
Noodles, floating mats and other take it nice and easy type toys. Most yachts carry these as a matter of course.
Knee-boards, wake boards and other towable toys: great for kids, many charter yachts have these in inventory. They can be towed by the dinghy.
Kayaking: many yachts have one or more one person or two person kayaks on board, it’s great fun to take your kayak around the different anchorages and explore a bit of the coastline as well.
Stand-up Paddle-boarding, or SUP, which is the latest greatest way to go short distances from your yacht along the shore.
Water Skis: Many charter yachts offer water-skis, it’s important to look at the yacht’s dinghy outboard engine horsepower though. This information is available on the yacht specification sheet. Anything under 40hp is suspect.
SCUBA diving: many charter yachts offer SCUBA as an onboard activity. This is when the captain or mate has either an instructor’s license or a master diver’s license AND has the proper diving insurance. If there is a person on board with an instructor’s license, the yacht may offer what is called a “resort” diving course for people who are not certified or have not had prior training of any kind. Diving is usually charged on a per person/per dive basis. If the yacht does not offer onboard SCUBA diving there is always the possibility for your captain to contact one of the many reputable diving companies along your route that can come directly to your boat and pick you up, take you diving and bring you back. This is called “Rendezvous” diving.
Wind-surfing: wind surfing boards are harder to find as standard equipment on charter yachts but some do actually have them in inventory, you MAY need a few classes to become proficient in this. There is also that much more difficult variety of wind-surfing which is called Kite boarding; not many yachts carry these, but we know of a couple.
Personal Watercraft or PWC’s: these include wave-runners, Seadoos, and Jet-skis. Many charter destinations have restrictions on their use due to the many accidents and disturbance to the eco-systems that they cause. Some of the larger motor yachts have these on board but you need to check with us or the captain to determine if there are places along your itinerary where they are allowed.
The ubiquitous ship’s Dinghy or RIB: an absolute must for getting ashore when you’re at anchor or on a mooring. Also really neat for running errands and picking up supplies and just going ashore to explore. The bigger the yacht usually, the larger the dinghy and the more horsepower it has.
Underwater propulsion devices: that can tow you underwater while snorkeling; there is a wide variety of these available on the market but, since they are quite expensive, only the larger motor yachts tend to carry these in inventory.
Center Console Runabout or Fishing boat with 100 to 200hp outboard, generally in the 25′ to 30′ foot range. Not commonly in inventory on most yachts although some of the larger motor yachts carry or tow one of these around for guests’ use. Check with us or see the yachts specification sheet.
It’s important to understand that NOT ALL yachts will carry all these water toys. Some yachts have a limited inventory and others have invested heavily in this area. The toys that ARE available on each yacht are generally listed on each boat’s specification sheet in the boat’s brochure. If you have a “must-have” situation, or if you like a yacht but it doesn’t have the toys you really wanted, we’ll be glad to help out since there are many destinations that have water-toy rental businesses and we can help you to find that special item or activity for you or your kids.
Sightseeing and shore excursions are always more fun when you are doing it privately from your temporary home aboard a charter yacht. In the first place, a charter yacht can anchor, pick up a mooring, or dock in places that a commercial vessel cannot. More importantly, you are seeing new places and visiting little towns and villages that are not immediately or easily accessible to the general public. This makes your vacation on a chartered yacht a much more personal, interesting, and exclusive experience.
This is true of most charter destinations including the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. We’ve included a selection of some of our clients’ favorite sightseeing destinations word-wide.
THE CARIBBEAN: In the British Virgin Islands (BVI) for example, there are little islands, bays, and beaches that are only accessible to charter boats. Jost van Dyke, sandy Cay, Anegada, Peter, Cooper and Norman Islands to name only a few.
In the Leeward Islands, St. Bart, Saba, Anguilla and Antigua are favorites. In St. Bart you may trip over a celebrity or two trying to hide out from the crowds in this unique French inspired Caribbean island famous for its good food and exclusive lifestyle.
The Grenadines islands of Bequia, Mustique, Carriacou , Union Island and Grenada are the most unique and favorite watering-holes for Europe’s rich and famous.
Belize has some spectacular SCUBA diving and sailing locations.
The Bahamas with it’s 700 islands is the most amazing place for a yacht charter. From the Sea of Abaco down to the Berry’s the Exuma’s and the Out Islands, the Bahamas has to be one of the most interesting places on earth to explore the ocean and it’s eco-systems. Check out the places that Christopher Columbus visited on his first voyage to the Americas in 1492. Stay away from Nassau and Paradise Island with its big hotels and resorts.
THE MEDITERRANEAN: Corsica and Sardinia, the Italian Cinque Terre, the Island of Elba (of Napoleonic fame), the Amalfi coast, the Aeolian Islands and Sicily have an amazing array of little villages tucked away along the craggy coastlines.
Croatia has an amazing itinerary of small islands and friendly locals as you move down from Split to Dubrovnik. (Dubrovnik is definitely a MUST).
In the Greek islands, visit the lesser know islands. If you must see Mykonos and Santorini, it’s usually better to take a commercial flight or even the ferry service. But there ‘s a whole collection of literally hundreds of real Greek islands like Poros, Hydra, Spetses, The Ionian Islands, The Sporades group and the Greek Dodecanese islands alongside the Turkish coast like Symi, Kos and Lesbos.
The Turkish coast itself is a treat as you navigate down from Kusadasi (MUST check out Ephesus of Biblical fame), Bodrum,the Gulf of Gokova, Marmaris, Gocek and Antalya.
THE SOUTH PACIFIC: Tahiti, French Polynesia and Bora Bora have to be on your South Pacific bucket list. Travelling further afield into the Pacific, we have charter yachts in the Kingdom of Tonga as well. Not to mention New Zealand’s Bay of Islands and Australia’s Whitsundays islands that are close to the Great Barrier Reef.
ASIA: Phuket in Thailand and Langkawi in Malasyia are absolutely amazing and unique destinations with hundreds of lieel islands and friendly locals.
In the INDIAN OCEAN, the two main sailing destinations are the beautiful French-speaking Seychelles Islands and the low-lying, English-speaking Maldives.
If you prefer to stay closer to home in NORTH AMERICA, New England is a great charter destination in the summer, not to mention the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. (Got to be July and August though).
Also think Mexico’s Baja peninsula where we have an amazing array of both crewed and bareboat sailing yachts.
Sightseeing and shore excursions, however, are only a part of the joys of sailing on your own charter yacht. The sense of independence and the exquisite attention of your friendly and professional crew complete the package..!!