Choose Your Charter Company


Charter companies | Charter brokers

Our other articles in the section "First Time Charterers" have convinced you and you have decided to go on your first charter cruise. Now you are scanning all the offerings from all those charter companies and charter brokers in your favorite sailing magazine, and you are getting dizzy. There are so many of them, with so many different offers — how are you going to find out what is best suited for you? Well, let's try to sort out all this information.

The Charter Companies

There are 2 types of Charter Companies:

Among those 2 categories, as in any industry, you'll find small and large companies. One is no better than the other. A small operation does not mean poor service. In fact, some small companies want to remain small in order to focus on giving the best customer service. In the end, as in any other business, what really counts is management's and employees' dedication to customer's satisfaction. Use Internet forums newsgroups and boating magazines (Cruising World, or Sail for example) to find out charter companies score cards and charterers' impressions.

Make no mistake: there are some horror charter stories. Although rare, most bad charters are caused by things like non-working refrigeration, faulty windlass, bad smells in the boat, etc. Large companies have more standardized fleets and maintenance programs, and they can replace a malfunctioning boat very quickly. Moreover, in case you get stranded during your cruise, they will send you a chase/service boat to help you. Check if this a service offered by the company. Dream Yacht Charter and the Moorings Company have a "4-hour Service Guarantee", and if they can't fix the problem in 4 hours, they will give you an extra charter day.

Thus, because your choice for your first cruise is crucial, and until you get more experienced in chartering, we recommend you select a large fleet for your first experience. You are less likely to encounter bad surprises.

There are presently 3 large charter companies: Moorings (about 25 bases worldwide), Dream Yacht Charter (about 45 bases worldwide) and Sunsail (30 bases worldwide.)

TIP: Some astute and well-informed charterers know they can buy "Owner's time" at a significant discount, directly from boat owners whose boats are managed by some charter companies. Without getting into the details of the boats' Management Contract, just know that you can do this too. It is very simple to do and presents exactly the same guaranties as if you were booking a cruise directly with a charter company. 

Should you use the services of a Charter Broker?

The first thing to understand is that whether you use a broker or not, your cost will be the same: the Charter Company, not you, pays the broker's commission so it won't make any difference to you.