The brokerage and charter markets are part of our industry that is naturally most reactive to world events. Those working in these sectors have to swiftly navigate through difficult times in order to survive. Therefore, it is important to hear from the leaders in the brokerage world not just to learn from their insights regarding the current global pandemic, but to gain some expert advice for charter clients and yachties alike.
Here, Imperial and its Senior Charter Broker, Ekaterina Pavlova, do just that. So, if you are thinking about or looking forward to a charter this year, the following tips should ensure that the process is as smooth sailing as possible.
Given the circumstances, expectations for what clients can find onboard are sky high. The main reason for this is that travel time is now precious, and guests want to make special memories and so, having an agent find a yacht with impressive spa facilities, fantastic gastronomy or can accommodate plenty of toys can make sure of this. Even medical services can be made available – for example, the 136-metre Lürssen yacht Flying Fox is a PYC compliant charter vessel that has medical staff as part of the crew, including two nurses. After such a frustrating year, clients want to reconnect with their family and friends and harness happiness in these troubled times. They are looking for a charter experience that will make them escape the craziness and re-discover the world.
To make the charter trip extra special, which it has every right to be, why not request an itinerary for daily menus and fine cuisine as a way to use the time on board to try new things. While having to stay on board much more due to procedures and quarantines, guests may even opt for the most refined culinary experience and can request great chefs to come aboard.
Karaoke has also been a popular addition! As while you can’t go ashore, these sorts of activities can be expected to come directly to the yacht. We encourage the crew to be creative and surprise the guests on board, whether it be with a special table decoration or treasure hunts for the children. Entertainment is the key to avoiding time ever feeling long on board and, at Imperial, we will certainly not run a yacht with low standards or services.
As mentioned before, toys and tenders are also a great way to explore around the yacht without going ashore. Our crews are always happy to empty the toy store, teach guests new tricks, take time to kitesurf, Jetski and make money-can’t-buy memories.
Many clients want to know that the superyacht has been well-maintained during the pandemic, with appropriate crew quarantine periods and hygiene levels. One of the reasons why some of the charter bookings have been cancelled is because guests are concerned that some of the crew may be rotated just before the charter starts and the new incoming crew will have to undertake quarantine measures. Being able to give reassurance to anyone that all quarantine procedures have been respected is essential. As operational managers, our duty is to think about the health and safety of our crew and clients which we do with appropriate safety procedures.
A negative PCR-test result is compulsory for guests prior to embarking, plus the regulations for commercial flights and border crossings between countries. We strongly suggest charter guests to take PCR tests in the airport upon arrival. As most places do require visitors to undertake a quarantine period, this can be done best on a superyacht with all the facilities and supplies you could possibly need onboard, with the option to disembark on secluded wild islands. Only a few places in the world are currently offering flexibility with travel requirements.
For the winter 2020/2021 season, the most attractive destinations remain the same as the previous years: the Seychelles, Maldives and the Caribbean islands. We have noticed a real interest for the Caribbean, Bahamas and Central America for Spring 2021 while the usual Indian Ocean destinations are, at the moment, requested less. For summer 2021, we are looking forward to a fantastic season in the Mediterranean.
Northern regions like Iceland, Spitsbergen and Norway are naturally remote and lend themselves well to social distancing. Because of this, they are of greater interest to charter guests and offer an exciting alternative for those who want to experience a real adventure. Places such as Costa Rica, Mexico are becoming more and more trendy and so Imperial has a fleet of ready-to-go superyachts with crews that have an excellent knowledge of the region to make the whole experience something special.
Source: Superyacht Times