Yacht Charter planning during the Coronavirus pandemic
Planning Your Next Yacht Charter As Yachting Reopens As The Coronavirus Pandemic Subsides
Countries are rapidly updating their plans to welcome travelers back after the Coronavirus pandemic. We update this page almost daily so that you have the most recent information on COVID-19 openings, restrictions, and regulations from literally dozens of charter destinations worldwide. We recommend you bookmark this page and come back to it frequently while you're planning your charter, or simply contact us so that our experts can talk through the options with you. You may also want to read our page about Social Distancing Yacht Charter to see why yacht charters are the perfect holiday vacation options during a pandemic.
Boatbookings is ready! | Recommendations for chartering now | Mediterranean Coronavirus Charter Status and Summer 2020 Openings | Caribbean, Florida and New England Coronavirus Status and Projected Reopenings | Asia/Pacific charter regions including Seychelles, Maldives, and Thailand| Event Charters 2021 | The Safety of Charter Yachts | Yachting Industry Status | Note from Boatbookings
Our fantastic Boatbookings Team is working from home and in constant contact with each other and our yacht owners. Because we plan charters worldwide, we are in a unique position to help you navigate to the best places to charter and organize the booking of your yacht for the remainder of 2020 and throughout 2021. We're 100% ready to help you plan your next charter! Contact us now on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The relative safety of Yacht Chartering during a Pandemic
Yachts are recognized as the most socially distanced holiday vacation options. Interactions with others are controlled in a way not possible in Resorts or Cruise Ships. Please see our Yacht Charter and Social Distancing page to learn more about the efforts yachts are taking to make chartering safe.
Charter the US Virgin Islands. The USVI has been fully open since June 1; we have our first charter clients enjoying the waters as we write! Major airlines are resuming flights and the Virgin Islands Professional Charter Association has adopted the CDC guidelines for yacht cleanliness and sanitation to ensure safety. We have plenty of great yachts that sail from St Thomas, and itineraries from St Thomas to St John and St Croix.
Plan long term. Most of the world's charter destinations are in the process of opening. We recommend planning your next charter now for Thanksgiving, Christmas 2020, Spring Break 2021, or Summer 2021. We are in contact with all of the yacht owners and they will be happy to help you plan your charters for all of these occasions.
Charter in December between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Most US colleges have announced that they will not call students back after Thanksgiving. If your family includes college students, this opens up and entirely new charter opportunity in December with almost no crowds! Why not reward your students (and your whole family) with a charter in December?
Consider some exotic destinations. How about Thanksgiving or Half Term snorkeling the amazing reefs of Belize? Belize has so many deserted islands and atolls that you can plan charter where you rarely run into anyone.
The Mediterranean is now open for Summer 2020! If you live in the EU, or countries deemed as safe, you can now travel to any EU Mediterranean port for your charter. Safe countries include China, Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uruguay. Also included are the European countries of Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
Charter closer to home this summer. If you live in North America and have scrapped the idea of heading to Europe this summer, why not a charter in Maine/New England or sailing the Chesapeake from Annapolis? America offers many extraordinary charter opportunities for the summer. We have enhanced our yacht selection and created extensive charter itineraries for Southern New England and the Chesapeake Bay that can help you decide where to plan.
Try something different. How about a regatta charter, where you can be involved in some of the most amazing classic yacht races (and pop a bottle or two of champagne at the end of the day).
Book in charter regions that are not epicenters. Places like the Virgin Islands, Grenadines, and the Bahamas have been relatively untouched by the Coronavirus and were quick to take action to prevent an outbreak. We recommend looking at charters in these areas and can organize the best yachts in these regions for you.
All of the key charter destinations in the Mediterranean are either open or in the process of reopening. We will update this space for country-specific news, as each country is slightly different.
Croatia. On May 15, 2020, Croatia reopened its borders for luxury yacht charters. Charterers do not need COVID 19-tests and 14-day quarantine is not required. Yachts can move freely between marinas, along the coast and islands of the Croatian Adriatic. Marinas, shops, restaurants, bars, and markets are open. Masks are mandatory on public transport, including ferries. You are requested to fill out this entry form.
Cyprus. On June 9, 2020, Cyprus reopened to international commercial flights.
France. The French Government announced on 3 May that it would not quarantine travelers arriving from the EU, the Schengen area, or Britain due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Given the perceived safety of yachts vs other forms of holidays, the best French Riviera yachts are now booking up very quickly for Summer 2020.
French Riviera beach restaurants and bars reopen!! Beach bars and restaurants in the Côte d'Azur were allowed to reopen June 2nd, with most either open or in the process! Seating must be outside and socially distanced.
Greece. Greece clamped down on the virus very quickly and effectively and has seen far fewer cases than many other European countries. Many businesses are reopening May 18. Greece has announced 21/05/20 that they will open for tourism 15 June. Upon arrival, visitors will not need to pass the COVID19 test and there is no 14-day quarantine. Yacht capacity is not affected. Key dates:
- Yachting restrictions were lifted on the 25th of May
- Athens restarted regular ferry services to its islands Monday 25 May
- International flights can land in Athens beginning 15th of June
- International flights can land at all Greek airports beginning the 1st of July for EU residents, July 15th for UK residents.
All arriving passengers will need to complete a "Passenger Locator Form" 48 hours prior to arrival and follow Greek government instructions.
Italy. Italy reopened to charters beginning 3 June. Travel to and from Italy and between the country's regions will be allowed from this date. Travelers from EU countries will be able to enter Italy without going into a two-week quarantine. Bars and restaurants reopened May 18 with social distancing restrictions.
Monaco. Monaco clamped down hard on Coronavirus very early and has had almost zero cases since April. The principality and its famous port Hercules are beginning to reopen, with strict social distancing regulations.
Monaco Restaurants and cafés are open and can seat 10 guests at the same table. People may now gather in public spaces in groups of 10.
Montenegro. Porto Montenegro has reopened and is servicing luxury yachts. 60 shops and boutiques are now open. All employees are conforming to strict government safety guidelines and practicing social distancing.
Spain. The Spanish Tourism Minister has announced that Spain will open its land borders with France and Portugal on June 22nd, therefore allowing travel between these countries. It is expected that the 14-day quarantine will be lifted for people coming in by land from France and Portugal. Palma, Mallorca authorities have announced that they will run a pilot project at the end of June to begin readmitting tourists. This will be the first act of a phased reopening in the Summer of 2020.
Yacht capacity limits have increased from 50% to 75%, but still with a maximum of 10 people per charter.
Florida, New England, The Bahamas, and Caribbean Coronavirus Yacht Charter Status and projected Openings
Many of the key charter destinations in Florida and the Caribbean are beginning to open up.
Antigua and Barbuda - International flights from the US to Antigua resumed June 4th. European flights are expected to resume in July, but no official dates are set. Under proposed but not finalized measures, visitors would have to undergo a COVID-19 test at least 48 hours before boarding a flight.
Belize - Belize is opening for International arrivals on August 15, 2020. They are expecting a great Winter 2020/21 charter season because they are so easy to get to from North America and they offer some of the most remote and socially distanced charters imaginable because of all the reefs and uninhabited islands. We have created the ultimate "socially distanced" Belize sailing itinerary where you can enjoy all that Belize has to offer - snorkeling, diving, deserted islands covered with palm trees and lined with white sandy beaches, manatees, rays and exceptional coral ecosystems and even a taste of the rainforest, without coming into contact with virtually anyone!
US Virgin Islands (USVI) - The US Virgin Islands are currently open with no restrictions. Please see our new USVI Luxury Itinerary to plan a route for your charter around the gorgeous islands of St Thomas and St John.
The Bahamas - The Bahamas are now open! The Bahamas Tourism Ministry has announced an official reopening for superyachts, private jets and chartered flights on June 15 and full reopening on July 1. The government has also announced a “Healthy Traveler” social distancing campaign; charterers must wear face masks when interacting with staff at seaports and airports and will most likely need to have their temperatures taken.
British Virgin Islands (BVI) - The British Virgin Islands are expected to reopen to charterers and foreign visitors on September 1. Guana Island will reopen on Oct 1.
The BVI should be fully operational for your Christmas holiday - we are seeing very high demand now for Christmas and New Year vacations. We highly recommend booking soon while the best boats are still available.
Dominican Republic - The Dominican Republic reopened to international travelers on July 1 and two US carriers have resumed flights. Significant social distancing regulations are in place.
Florida - The Florida Keys reopened June 1. Ft Lauderdale and Miami are under Phase I of reopening, where most services are open and available. Yacht charters are available and most restrictions that were in place in March have been dropped.
Jamaica - Reopened June 15th.
Mustique - Mustique has reopened effective July 1. Visitors will be required to show a negative test result taken 72 hours prior to departure and complete a questionnaire. If you arrive without the approved test, you may be subject to a rapid test on arrival and be quarantined until negative results are processed.
New England (Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut) - New England should be a great charter destination this summer! The beautiful and quaint islands of Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, and Block Island are all now open for charters. Newport is expecting a busy charter season and remaining yachts are filling up fast.
Newport, Rhode Island - Beginning July 1, face masks will still be required in public when around others. 6-foot social distancing is still necessary, frequent hand washing is recommended and anyone sick should stay at home. Nearly businesses have been reopened in some manner. Museums and cultural institutions are limited to 66% capacity or 100 square feet per person. Indoor social gatherings can increase from 50 to 75 people, and outdoor social gatherings can increase from 75 to 150 people.
There will be no private tours offered for the famous Newport Mansions this year. The Breakers and The Elms will be open for limited size groups to visit in 1⁄2 hour time slots, listening to an audiotape while walking. Basically, this is the normal manner for touring these mansions, just smaller group sizes are being allowed in at one time. Tickets must be reserved and paid for in advance on The Preservation Society website. There are no ticket sales at the properties.
Massachusetts - Charter yachts may operate limited to ten passengers, excluding captain and/or crew members.
Maine - Yacht owners must correspond with guests before their trip to provide guidance on best practices while traveling to the yacht and provide a screening questionnaire to assure there are no COVID symptoms or recent exposures in the party. No guest will participate in a charter if they have shown signs of illness or have been in contact with anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19. unless they can provide proof of a recent negative test. All charterers are required to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of traveling OR quarantine within Maine for 14 days prior to sailing. Crews will adhere to extensive State guidelines for sanitation and social distancing.
St Barts - St. Barthélemy began reopening on June 22nd.
St. Martin/Sint Maarten - St Martin began reopening July 1st.
St Vincent and the Grenadines - The Grenadines are open to yachts, but with 14-day quarantine restrictions. You will be required to take a COVID-19 test.
St Lucia - Reopening of St Lucia began June 4 with limited hotel capacity. General charter opening and availability will be August 1st.
- Dominican Republic – July 1st
- Mustique – July 1st
- Barbados – July 12th
- Sint Maarten & St. Martin – Mid-July
- Puerto Rico – July 15th
- Turks and Caicos – July 22nd
Seychelles - Seychelles began to relax travel restrictions on June 1, 2020. Only 11 total cases were reported in Seychelles, and all have recovered, leaving no active COVID-19 infections on the islands.
The Maldives - The Maldives are scheduled to reopen their borders in July. No specific date has been set. There will be no additional fees for entering the islands - reports of such fees are inaccurate as confirmed by one of our key charter partners on the islands.
Thailand - Key Charter areas of Thailand including Phuket are now open for sailing. The country is in a progressive opening process. Many operators will reopen October 1st in time for the Holiday season. Contact us for complete information if you plan to charter to Thailand so that we can arrange the best boat and itinerary for you!
French Polynesia/Tahiti - Tahiti will reopen its borders on July 15th to international travelers. Flights from at least 9 airlines, including Air France, Air Tahiti, and United will recommence. You will need a negative COVID-19 Test 72 hours prior to flying. You will also be required to have proof of international travel insurance, which you can often get for free by using premium credit cards.
Many important industry events, such as MIPIM and the Monaco Grand Prix, have been moved to 2021. We are already seeing an increase in demand and scramble for the prime yachts and marina berths for these events.
Do you have a major birthday, wedding, or other family event coming up? Think about making it a celebration to remember next time you get friends and family together with a fabulous event celebration charter. We have 15 years of experience planning them in all of the major charter destinations worldwide.
We recommend contacting us soon if you are interested in an amazing Event Charter for 2021.
Charter yachts are viewed as safe "social distancing" places during an epidemic due to their privacy
Unlike cruise ships, where people from disparate locations interact on a daily basis, charter yachts are excellent places to be during an epidemic. They are by nature essentially quarantined and socially distanced because you only come in contact with your own party and members of the crew if you are on a crewed yacht.
Charter yachts are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between charters. Virtually all yachts (bareboat and crewed) have adopted strict new protocols for cleanliness and many yachts even purify the cabin air with ozone that kills the COVID-19 virus. If you have any concerns or questions about the safety of a particular yacht or location, please contact us!
Chartering in 2020 requires local planning because of a patchwork of travel restrictions around the world. Here are suggestions for the best places to charter based on where you live.
UK Residents. Beginning July 15, you will have access to all of the key charter destinations in the Mediterranean. So we recommend planning a late summer holiday in France, Greece or Spain. The UK government now welcomes visitors from over 70 countries, and reciprocal agreements are expected.
US Residents. Citizens and residents of the US will have a hard time getting into Europe this summer. We recommend you stay in the US and explore the amazing destinations such as Southern New England and Annapolis/Chesapeake Bay while the weather is hot and the sailing is great. You will find fewer crowds this year, which will be a bonus. If you need palm trees (who doesn't right now?) try the Florida Keys or St Thomas/USVI. The US Virgin Islands are open!
EU Residents. If you live in the EU, including France, Germany, Holland, and Spain, you now can travel freely to anywhere else in the EU. The famed destinations of Greece, Spain, French Riviera, and Amalfi Coast are open, uncrowded, and waiting for you! You should have no problem traveling to the Caribbean (BVI, Grenadines, St Barts, etc.) this winter.
Canadian Residents. You are generally welcome in all key charter destinations.
The yachting industry is relatively stable during this time. The sale and purchase of yachts are on par with last year, and while many charters have moved to different dates, demand has been exploding recently as people realize how safe yachts are as opposed to other types of holiday vacations. We expect to see significant demand for all of the best yachts from late Summer 2020 and all through 2021. Many charters have been pushed into next year which is already filling up 2021 calendars. Booking early is our strong recommendation. That will also help you support regions and yachts that have been affected by the downturn.
Boatbookings and the yacht charter industry have weathered many disruptions to our amazing charter destinations in our 15-year history, and we know that the Coronavirus pandemic will mercifully end at some point. In times like these, we have learned that working closely with our valued clients helps find opportunities within the uncertainty, and pays great dividends when the situation improves.
Our entire team is fully committed to providing the best, most personal charter advice and implementation possible and want to help you re-connect with family and friends! We encourage you to dream ahead and do your planning now when you have time, airfares are low and there is still availability of the best yachts. So please take a break from binging on Netflix and get in touch so we can book an amazing post-coronavirus charter!