Updated: Dec 16, 2020
To say we all miss traveling right now is a resounding understatement of longing by all family and friends of mine personally this year. So in my (insane) mind, why not go all out with travel in the coming year (safety pending of course)? Enter: The Yacht Week.
There is an array of knowledge to take away from this debaucherous week that I embarked on in the summer of 2018 and I do recommend reading my first post on the first timer's guide to yacht week to get up to speed when you finally do book your trip!
Today, I will be focusing on the booking process in my Yacht Week Series. I would love to tell you that this was an easy process, but but by no stretch is planning a trip for 7 people to Europe as easy as coordinating a few schedules. Let's get into it!
Step 1: Find your Crew (and some alternates!)
"This is the easy part" -said Kathryn in December of 2017. Turns out, getting a large group of people to commit to something, physically and financially is incredibly difficult. When thinking about the bigger picture of this event, you want to consider a few key elements:
Have you traveled with them in the past? If not, why not? And if so, was it a success in your eyes?
Consider the honoring of financial commitment(s). For example, have you been out to dinner with this person and venmoed or payed you on time?
How many individuals am I considering inviting? (this will ultimately determine your boat choice, which I discuss in Step 2 )
From an anecdotal perspective, my group had several people drop out months before the event. This can be a huge financial implication as the spend can be anywhere from $10,000+, or $2,000+ per person. I ended up texting multiple groups of friends searching for individuals to join us and take the empty spots as to not financially implicate the person whom needed to drop out.
Luckily, the people whom did drop out did honor their financial responsibilities. However, not every one is so lucky!
Another idea to finding a crew (if your friends do not realize how awesome Yacht Week will be) is through the Day 8 Facebook group, which is a hub for those individuals attending Yacht Week "in between" their scheduled trip. This group is an amazing way to find people who have booked individual cabins or smaller boats and are looking to either join someone else's trip or have you join theirs. Once you secure a crew, the fun part starts!
And speaking of individual cabins: if you and your bestie want to go, book a cabin! A cabin is an individual room for two people within a yacht. It automatically puts you in a yacht with other people doing the same thing as you or needing two more people to fill a yacht. Or, refer to Day 8 and see if anyone is interested in joining forces to book a full yacht!
Step 2: Booking a Yacht/Your Week
Once you have secured your crew, it is time to align schedules and decide which week would work best for your crew to sail. When booking the Croatia original route, there were several key factors to consider for the week:
When can everyone take off work and what do our jobs look like 9 months out? We ended up having a person in our group who could not attend because he started a new job and work would not let him have it off. Consider fluxes in jobs when looking at the following summer.
Weather - although it is summer, I extensively googled traditional weather patterns around specific times of year. Some boats do not have air conditioning. This is not a drill. If you do not love being covered in your own sweat, consider when you would like to attend. For me, the third week of June gave us the most mild, perfect weather for our group.
"Fun" - I would bust this as a Yacht Week myth, as to me it seems every week of Yacht Week is fun, but i remember combing over blogs or thinking the first or last week wouldn't be as 'fun' as the rest. This is totally false! Any week is a good week to sail and drink with your friends, fact.
Once you have selected the week, it's time to book the Yacht. To get the best available yachts, I would book as soon as cabins and yachts are available! I set my alarm for the date/time for summer 2018 bookings to get the best possible rates/boats as these can sell out and increase over time. This year, bookings are open October 8th.
Selecting a yacht can be daunting, but here are a few key things to look for when selecting the perfect vessel:
Air Con/Air conditioning. Enough said.
Sleeping Arrangements: keep in mind that even though these are yachts, they are not necessarily spacious. I would opt for a boat where nobody has to sleep in the main cabin, as that is going to be bustling with activity in the morning when getting ready for the day and trying to fall asleep at night. Also important to note: your skipper and hostess will need a bed in your sleeping arrangements! So, consider where they would be and how everyone can be the most comfortable.
Wifi: A personal preference, but it is nice to have the ability to contact one another, post on socials & you know...let your parents know that you are alive.
Stereo System: Most smaller accommodations do not have a large and in charge system to ultimately play music to, and booking a smaller boat.. we were a bit jealous! Something to consider when booking.
Bathroom: Definitely read my first post on this, but 2+ is definitely the ideal # of bathrooms you will want!
Host: As mentioned in first post also, DO NOT SKIMP ON HIRING A HOST!
Boat Size: Now, I'll preface this by saying that you do not need to go into debt to have the best time at Yacht Week. We booked the most fiscally responsible boat and had an unbelievable time. However, I did find that the catamaran boats were INCREDIBLY fun to be on and provided ample space//most of the accolades mentioned above. Plus, a large front netted area for relaxing. Most catamaran boats turn into the "party boat" for the duration of the week.
Yacht Week is now also offering easy package offering that make booking a lot easier, with easy to spot features as well as a la carte pricing for specific boat experiences.
Once your cabin is booked, you'll be ready to take on the payment process!
Step 3: Financial Planning
Overall, this was probably my last and least favorite step of the trip. To start - I am astronomically bad at any math/numbers. I honestly think there is an associative anxiety that comes along with it as it literally gives me the most uncomfortable feelings. However, I decided to (get the miles) volunteer my credit card for the three payments that are associated with booking Yacht Week. Those three payments are: a 10% deposit when first booking to secure yacht, then 30% due 30 days after booking, and finally 60% 60 days out from your trip.
If you opt to make payments through the Yacht Week portal:
I would probably say this is the most efficient way to book, although someone will more than likely take the lead to ensure that everyone makes a payment in the time periods. Ensure that everyone has created a profile. They cannot make payments if they do not create a profile people! This way, it can be easy to individually track payments as the portal is doing this for each person on their individual profile.
If you opt to make payments on one card:
To get organized, I would create an excel document like the one displayed above. The great thing about excel is they have pre-made templates you can edit to best ensure to keep track of everyone in your group's payment history. This is a great way to also keep track packing lists & more things that your group will ultimately be deciding on!
Although it can seem daunting, once you have these three items mapped out is when the fun can really begin. If you have questions or found this helpful, please feel free to leave a comment below!