European countries are gradually returning to a new “post-epidemic” reality, which gives all sailors and yachting enthusiasts the chance to spend their free time in their favourite way, which is on the water 🙂 Every day new information appears and more limitations are being removed. Everything seems to indicate that after the 1st of July some of Europe’s most popular yacht charter areas will be available for sailors. It is also noted that spending your holidays on a yacht is a great alternative to spending it in a crowded hotel or on the beach.

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More than a month has passed since the outbreak of the coronavirus. We’ve gathered answers to the most common questions asked by people who have planned or are planning to spend their free time on a yacht in the most popular sailing regions. Regardless of the fact that the epidemic has already become a part of our lives, the situation is changing very quickly and what is current today, may change tomorrow, which you should keep in mind when reading the following questions and answers. We also point out that each case is a little different and is treated individually, so not everything written below must apply in every situation. The information applies to reservations made till 15.03.2020.

[Update 19.05.2020 You can read about the current situation here: https://blog.yachtic.com/en/news/slowly-coming-back-to-normal/ ]

I have booked a yacht for June/July/August, will the charter take place?

As of today, I really don’t think anyone can answer this question. Hope is dying last, so we’re still living the hope that the situation will normalize or at least become more transparent, because actually, it’s hard to talk about returning to normal today. The authorities of countries such as Croatia, Greece and Italy are making the first adjustments to unlock their economies, including tourism. The Croatian people clearly declare that the sailing tourism will be unlocked first. However, the government still hasn’t made any specific declarations or informed when they will be made as everything depends on the development of the situation.

[Update 19.05.2020 You can read about the current situation here: https://blog.yachtic.com/en/news/slowly-coming-back-to-normal/ ]

I have a yacht booked for June/July/August or later. What should I do?

The most sensible solution seems to be waiting for the situation to develop. Currently, due to a quickly changing situation, operators do not see any reason to move charters that start later than 45 days from now.

[Update 19.05.2020 As the situation improves quickly, at present operators do not see grounds for transferring charters that start later than in a month (in Croatia and Italy) and until the end of June in other destinations]

What did the customers who had booked charters in March, April and May do?

All customers, whose charters definitely cannot take place, will move their reservations to autumn or occasionally to the next season. In cases, where the client is unable to provide an alternative date, most operators issue vouchers that allow the client to book a yacht at a later date while keeping the money, which was already paid for the charter. In fact, each case is considered individually depending on the expectations and possibilities of the client and the policy of the charter operator the client chose to book a yacht with.

Under what conditions are reservations transferred to other dates?

  • A charter can be transferred to the same yacht or, if not available, a similar one,
  • If you choose a more expensive date/yacht, the difference in price must be covered by client, in the case of a cheaper date/yacht, the difference is not refunded,
  • Payments must be made with the originally agreed payment dates.

These are generally accepted conditions, with different operators taking a more or less strict approach to them depending on the specific situation.

I’m moving my reservation to autumn or next season. Do I have to pay for it entirely right now? 

In most cases, the remaining payment for the charter is also postponed to a new date. Only occasionally operators request payment in full on the original date.

How can I change the booking date while keeping the original charter price?

In order to keep the charter price, the best solution is to move it to the autumn date with the same price level or to the same date in the next year.

What if the restrictions are lifted in the destination country but I can’t get there?

It will be up to the operator to decide. Until now, operators have accepted to postpone the charter period in such a situation, if only it was followed by some formal grounds. However, it is the goodwill of the operator.

My reservation has to be paid in a few days’ time. What should I do?

First of all, the question is whether, if the restrictions are lifted, you are ready to go. In this case you can wait for the situation to develop practically up to 7 days before the planned charter, it is worth asking the operator (through us) to extend the payment period until then. Most operators accept this solution.

If you know that regardless of the development of the situation you will definitely not go, then a few days before the end of the payment period, you should contact us with an alternative charter date. We will then discuss with the operator on what conditions you will be able to transfer the date.

In the current situation, I know for sure that I will not go on the cruise scheduled for July and beyond. What are my options?

As of today, operators don’t see any basis for postponing charters that are due to start later than in 45 days. The transfer of such a charter can only take place on a general basis.

[Update 19.05.2020 As the situation improves quickly, at present operators do not see grounds for transferring charters that start later than in a month (in Croatia and Italy) and until the end of June in other destinations]

What if I really want to go and decide to quarantine after I get back? Can I go on a scheduled charter?

Although generally the operators are ready to give a yacht to the client, in most countries the harbors, marinas, shops, restaurants and travel are not working or are very limited in their activity, so unfortunately this doesn’t make much sense.

[Update 19.05.2020 You can read about the current situation here: https://blog.yachtic.com/en/news/slowly-coming-back-to-normal/ ]

I have already paid for my reservation entirely and I was supposed to sail in one month/three weeks/two weeks, what should I do?

If you are still hoping to go, you can wait almost until the end, there is no limit to when the reservation should be moved. However, a week before a charter you should know if you can go. If you already know that you will not go, please contact us with an alternative charter date.

I have booked several yachts for one date for our annual company event, what now?

In such a situation the best and most popular solution is to move all reservations to the same date in the next season. It is worth taking care of it a little bit earlier than in case of single reservations.

I organized a boat trip for a group of friends and now the whole crew is worried about what will happen and I feel responsible for it. What should I tell them?

Talk calmly to the crew, tell them what the situation is. You can tell them to read our blog posts about it. Discuss the matter and decide which solution is best for all of you.

Is it possible to request a refund from the operator in case of a yacht charter as it is the case with a travel agency?

The yacht charter itself is not a tourist event, so it is not subject to regulations such as a trip purchased from a travel agency, therefore it is not possible to refund the amount paid. The rules in case of out-of-control-situations (which include epidemic) are regulated by the charter contract. In such a situation, the charter conditions provide for a new charter date to be agreed with the charter company.

What if it is not possible to set a new charter date for various reasons?

When it is not possible to set a new charter date, the operator will issue a voucher for the amount paid by the client to be used for future bookings.

How does vouchers work?

The amount of the voucher will be deducted from the payment of the new booking. Vouchers usually have to be executed in the seasons 2020-2021, this means that they can be used for charters until the end of next year, however, the condition is to make a reservation within one year from the day the voucher was issued. The voucher can be used to book the same yacht if it is not available for another yacht from the operator. The voucher cannot be used for bookings with other operators. The entire responsibility for the execution of the voucher is on the charter operator who issued it.

Should I contact the charter operator directly regarding the transfer of the charter?

We do not refer clients directly to the charter operator, but we carry out the whole procedure of booking transfer and the best solution for the client is to contact the operator through us. Of course, nothing stands in the way of contacting him directly, you just have to be aware that in such a situation you have to bring the situation to an end by yourself and no matter how the situation develops we will no longer be able to help you with it.

Will yacht charter be more expensive after the epidemic?

We don’t know that, but we don’t expect them to get lower. Charter prices in countries like Croatia have recently been on the verge of profitability for yacht owners and after this very difficult season it’s hard to predict that anyone will be willing to lower prices even more. Perhaps the companies in the worst financial situation will try to save themselves by lowering prices, but in the long run this will lead them nowhere. It is also very likely that the taxes on charter services will increase (almost certain is the increase of VAT on yacht tourism services, e.g. in Italy), which will certainly translate into higher prices.

Will the charter operators go bankrupt?

A lot depends on how the situation develops. If the restrictions imposed by the governments are minimized and the charter season starts before the holidays, you should probably not expect any dramatic situation. Most charter operators have enough reserves to survive this. However, the longer the current situation lasts, the more likely it is that weaker companies will become insolvent. Much also depends on the solutions proposed by the governments of the countries in which the charter companies operate. In the tourist countries of Italy and France, among others, regulations are already introduced to help companies, including charter companies

Over a week ago we briefly reported about the coronavirus epidemic in the context of yacht charter. You can find the whole article here. Today we will try to answer the question – what to do when we have booked a yacht and we are not sure what will happen next?

First of all, please read the information provided here

Do you have cancellation insurance?

  • If you have purchased cancellation insurance 100% MAX you will be able to take advantage of it if you are formally unable to get to the charter base on the day of the charter or there is another case mentioned in the terms and conditions of the insurance. Details
  • If you have the cancellation insurance 100% in the basic version, you will be able to use it if any of the circumstances listed in the insurance terms and conditions apply. Details

You’ve fully paid for your charter:

  • If you have already fully paid for your reservation, you will be able to transfer it to another date this season in case you are formally unable to arrive at the pick-up point.
  • If this will not be technically possible, you will receive a voucher from the operator for next season’s use.
  • In case of a transfer to a more expensive period, the price difference needs be covered. For a transfer to a cheaper date, the difference will not be refunded. Please note: operators have different policies in this field and they may differ depending on the case.

You have partially paid for the charter:

  • You can fully pay for your reservation on time and if the situation deteriorates, use the solution as above.
  • You can also cancel your trip on general terms and conditions, before making the final payment. However, this will result in the loss of the amount already paid.
  • Currently, most operators do not provide the possibility of deferring the final charter payment for existing bookings.

What does it mean to be formally unable to reach the place of the yacht pick-up?

  • illness as a result of epidemics,
  • quarantine,
  • closure of borders, airports or ports in the customer’s or destination country,
  • closure of the charter base or town, district, etc., in which it is located.
  • the above must pose a real threat within the charter period, i.e. the fact that today there are travel restrictions does not yet have a real impact on charters, which are to take place in a few months

Is it worth trying to change the reservation date already?

The situation is changing very rapidly and it is really difficult to predict how it is going to develop further and which solution will be optimal. However, the following factors should be taken into account:

  • For the moment it is not really clear which will be the most appropriate timing, and changing a charter date is often also new plane tickets, holiday request, etc, all of these elements should be taken into account.
  • Prices vary significantly among seasons, moving a charter from April to July or August may result in a high surcharge,
  • In case of a large-scale postponement of charter dates by clients to the end of the season, the number of available yachts in this period will be quickly run out.

Summarizing you should consider all options calmly and make a decision depending on the specific situation, charter date and destination.

In case of questions or doubts we remain at your disposal.

The coronavirus epidemic (COVID-19) raises many emotions and doubts. The truth is that, as of today, probably no one is able to predict how the situation will develop. YACHTIC.com has already started making settlements with charter operators about possible ways to proceed in case the situation starts to deteriorate rapidly.

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