Picture you and up to 8 of your closest friends sailing aboard a yacht in the Adriatic Sea. The sun soaking into your skin as you lounge on the deck sipping mimosas while your skipper steers your boat to various exotic marinas. Does this sound like your dream vacation? Would you be shocked to learn that this dream can become a reality for less than $3,000? Then The Yacht Week may be perfect for you.
The Yacht Week is a 7 day experience in 10 different cities around the world. Boats depart year round from marinas in Croatia, Greece, Italy, Montenegro, Spain, Thailand, the British Virgin Islands, and Brazil. If you’re unsure of which route best suits your needs visit the website for side-by-side comparisons.
*If you don’t feel like reading this entire article click here for FAQs and the TL;DR summary.
Selecting Boat Buddies
Prior to booking it is important to get your crew together. I suggest putting out feelers by reposting The Yacht Week videos and pics on your social media profiles. People that are interested will be sure to comment. Choose your boat mates wisely however, because spending a week on a 50 ft or less vessel can break up even the strongest of friendships. Although in a perfect world nobody would cancel, anticipate it happening and keep in mind some potential backups.
Once you’ve decided who you’ll be sailing with have them each create an account here and assign someone the role of Lead Booker. If you’re the one reading this article and doing most of the research you may be the best one for the position. This person is in charge of booking the yacht, reminding everyone to make payments, and essentially being the trip “Know it All”. As a self-proclaimed Type A person, this role was perfect for me.
I got to work creating a Google Sheet to keep track of total costs and scouring the website for details. Don’t worry if you have no interested friends or have some difficulty filling a yacht. You have the option of utilizing the Crew Finder feature to book a cabin on someone else’s boat or to fill the empty spaces on your boat. Now that you’ve chosen boat buddies one of the hardest parts of planning this trip is behind you.
How to Book
Step 1: Create an Account
The Yacht Week recently introduced a Trip Planner that makes the entire process painless. Upon creating an account you will be allowed to choose the week and destination you’re interested in and invite friends to join you via a link. This process also subscribes you to the official Yacht Week newsletter so you won’t miss any updates.
Major Key: Sign up for pre-booking by subscribing to The Yacht Week newsletter at least 1-2 months before booking. I follow The Yacht Week on Facebook and saw an ad that recommended signing up for pre-booking. This allows you to receive a special access code and book 1 week before general booking opens. Yachts go fast and if you are 100% sure that you’ll be attending Yacht Week then pre-booking is a no brainer.
Step 2: Select a Yacht
You’ll receive an email notifying you when you’re able to browse yachts. You will be able to do this prior to booking so you can figure out the cost of your boat and set aside the required 30% deposit (I’ll explain the payment schedule later on). Prior to viewing any of the yachts you will see the screen below.
The Yacht Week attempts to keep the ratio of men and women attending each week as close to equal as possible. They require certain ratios for boats in an attempt to control this. They also offer a skipper (sailor) and hostess (cook/housekeeper) at an additional cost. The skipper does not effect your ratio, however the hostess adds 1 to the total women on your boat.
Yachts are broken down into 4 categories: Economy, Standard, Premium, and Premium Plus. A couple factors set each category apart, but the biggest factor is price. One of the great things about The Yacht Week is that you and your friends can pick and choose components of your trip that allow it to fit within your budget.
After you select the category of yacht that best suits your budget you can view specific yachts available for the week and destination of your choice. The price shown is per person, so there’s no need to do any calculations on your own. I was able to speak with the skipper a friend had during her time in Croatia and he gave some great recommendations for picking a boat.
- Be aware of the length of the boat (a shorter boat will be less roomy inside)
- AC is nice, but not a necessity (especially if you’ll be travelling in cooler months)
- Take a look at the setup of the cabins (sofas that convert into beds are counted as regular beds)
- View pictures of the inside of the boat before selecting one (the decor differs drastically from boat to boat)
- Book a catamaran, if you have the funds (these are the most desirable boats to book because the layouts are roomier)
- Don’t pack your boat (just because you have space for 12 people doesn’t mean you should invite 12 people. You’ll need room for your skipper and hostess and water for the showers, sinks, and toilets is limited.)
Once you find a yacht you like you can add it to your Planner. This will allow the friends you’ve invited on your trip to view the total cost of the boat, per person, plus any additional cost for crew (skipper and/or hostess) on the Trip Planner page. At this point you can either collect the money for the deposit from everyone in advance and pay on their behalf or have everyone pay separately after booking directly through the site.
Step 3: Book that Boat!
The day of booking (pre-booking if you’re wise) has finally arrived. If you’ve followed steps 1 and 2 this will be the easiest part of the process. Sign into your account about 15 minutes before booking is available. There will be a lot of other people trying to access the site at the same time so be patient and refresh the page if it gets frozen. Scroll to the bottom of the Trip Planner page and click the Book Now button. You will be asked to confirm the selected yacht and crew along with the total cost.
Once the booking is complete you and your boat buddies have 24 hours to pay the 30% deposit. Payments can be made in EUR or GBP via credit card or debit card directly through the site. Keep in mind that the installment amount due is for the entire group. So you’ll need to divide the total by the number of people if you’ll be submitting amounts separately.
The payment for the yacht is due in 3 installments. Due dates differ depending on the week you’ll be sailing. I recommend setting payment reminders and sharing them with all of the members of your group. This ensures that everybody is aware of when money is due.
Congratulations on booking your boat! Now that booking is complete you have the next couple of months to look forward to your trip.
- Is AC necessary? Lookup the weather for the city you’re traveling to in advance. If you’re going later in the year you most likely can forego AC. If it gets too hot you also have the option of sleeping on the deck at night.
- My passport is expired/I don’t have a passport how do I finish creating my account?
- Enter the number of your expired passport or another 9 digit number to complete this field. Go back and update the field with your correct passport number upon renewal/receipt.
- Do I have to pay the total installment invoice amount?
- Unless your entire boat gave you the 30% deposit in advance, no. Everyone on the boat can pay a portion of the total amount due via credit or debit card. Divide the total installment invoice amount by the number of people on your boat (minus any crew) to figure out how much everyone should pay.
- Should I pay in GBP or EUR?
- If your bank account is denominated in USD pay in EUR. Currently 1USD=.92EUR while 1USD=.82GBP.
- Can I pay with a credit card? Yes, but there is a 2% fee for Visa/MasterCard and a 2.5% fee for AmEx.
*More FAQs are on The Yacht Week website here.
- Sign up for pre-booking. Follow The Yacht Week on Facebook to learn how to do this.
- Choose your crew wisely. You will be spending a week in tight quarters with the people on your boat. It’s okay to be selective.
- Utilize the Trip Planner feature. This will make booking a breeze.
- Add a yacht to your Planner in advance. Just one more step that will make booking quicker and easier.
- DO NOT FILL YOUR BOAT TO CAPACITY! I can not stress the importance of this. Dividing the available water on board among 12 people as opposed to 8 results in shorter showers for everyone. In the words of Drake, “Don’t do it. Please don’t do it.”
- Collect the initial installment from everyone BEFORE it’s due. You do not want the stress of constantly reminding everyone to make their payments before the deadline is up. The first 30% installment is due 24 hours after booking a yacht. That’s a quick turnaround.
- Create an account on The Yacht Week website in advance and have your friends do the same. This will be necessary at some point for anyone attending. It’s easier to do it in advance then rush to do it the day of booking.
If you have any questions on The Yacht Week be sure to check out their website here. Feel free to comment below with any questions or concerns and I’ll be happy to answer them.
*This is the 1st article of a 3 part series I’ll be doing on The Yacht Week. I’ll be covering booking the yacht, planning and preparation (flight, food, budget), and finally giving a recap of my experience once I return from the trip.