Chartering a catamaran opens up a world of possibilities for an unforgettable, unique and exciting experience on the open water blending spacious al fresco decks, light and airy living spaces and highly versatile layouts.
Catamarans feature twin-hull designs which benefit from lightweight construction, extremely stable cruising and the ability to access the shallowest anchorages. Moreover, they frequently offer a more cost-effective option for charter, compared to other sailing or motor yachts, with equivalent levels of service from the crew and a similar choice of amenities and water toys.
Sailing efficiency and motor-driven speed
Catamarans are known for their impressive speed and efficiency with sailing catamarans having less friction, which in turn harnesses the wind extremely effectively. Equally exhilarating for both novice and experienced sailors, a sailing catamaran is incredibly manoeuvrable and easy to handle ensuring guests feel comfortable and confident on board. They also offer near-silent cruising giving a level of peace and tranquillity so you can appreciate both the sights and sounds of your chosen destination.
Meanwhile, a powered catamaran is perfect if you love speed and is well-suited for those looking to cover more ground on their charter. Without the complication of wind conditions and with fewer ropes and equipment on deck, they make ideal family vessels. Plus, newer models can be equipped with eco-friendly electric engines for vibration, fume and noise-free propulsion.
Stability, space and comfort
Catamarans are renowned for their stability, thanks to their twin-hull design and unlike traditional monohull boats provide a smoother and more stable ride – perfect for minimising the effects of seasickness. This stability makes catamarans an excellent choice for those new to yachting or anyone looking for guaranteed relaxation and an enjoyable time on the water.
Catamarans will impress anyone with their ample deck space and roomy interiors perfect for families, groups of friends or couples seeking a romantic getaway. Thanks to the wide beam there is plenty of al fresco entertainment space across the aft cockpit often including impressive steps down to a hydraulic swim platform. Generous side decks and dual access into the salon from both the aft and foredecks allow freedom of movement around the boat, added safety and enhanced privacy.
The main cockpit is excellent for socialising and will likely include a dining set, sun pads and the option to open the doors to the salon and create one huge open-plan entertainment space. Choosing a flybridge catamaran will offer yet another deck space, this time with elevated views across the water and the option of a retractable shelter. Unlike single-hull vessels a catamaran’s bow does not taper, so the beam remains wide throughout giving additional space for a cosy lounge, jacuzzi or sun pads on the foredeck. And then there are the trampolines – a suspended, extremely strong and safe net – giving guests the best spot to lie back and sunbathe, chat or even bounce while being cooled by the spray from the sea just a metre or so below.
The main salon on board modern catamarans is always a light and welcoming space with magnificent 360-degree views from the surrounding windows. Many are set out with an open plan layout including an integrated galley, but if you prefer more privacy away from the crew there are also models with a lower deck galley. We highly recommend the open plan layout which creates a sociable atmosphere, with most crews loving being around the guests so they can offer the best tailored service.
The dual hulls also create two distinct accommodation areas, so two couples or families can each have a separate private space while friends can appoint ‘quiet’ or ‘noisy’ zones so everyone can get the rest they need or play music and watch TV without disturbing each other. Cabins often have private access from one of the decks giving even more flexibility and choice.
Versatile destinations and shallow waters
Having shallower drafts (the depth below the water line) than monohull yachts enables catamarans to access more secluded and shallow anchorages. This unlocks opportunities for exploring hidden coves, pristine beaches, and tranquil lagoons that might be inaccessible to larger vessels. Chartering a catamaran means you can venture off the beaten path and discover more remote and untouched locations.
Catamarans are popular in the Caribbean, where shallow coves and a consistent year-round climate create an ideal setting for a charter vacation. The allure of thousands of islands to explore, coupled with the comfort on board, makes a catamaran a popular choice for those seeking a leisurely charter experience. Navigating the turquoise waters reveals a treasure trove, ranging from miniature coral isles nestled along pristine beaches to expansive, mountainous landscapes. Snorkelers and divers are treated to a crystal-clear view of the ocean floor, where marine life thrives.
On the other side of the Atlantic, Greece and predominantly the Greek Islands also offer easy sailing and cruising on board a catamaran. Archipelagos like the Cyclades and Ionians have relatively short distances between islands allowing visitors to experience more during a charter, particularly on-board a catamaran which, thanks to their speed and manoeuvrability, has little to limit the options for anchorages.
Fully crewed, full-service charter
There is nothing to match a fully crewed, full-service charter for sheer luxury and catamarans can often manage with fewer crew than larger vessels. This helps to keep costs down but also can create a lovely intimate atmosphere between guests and crew. An open-plan galley can make for wonderful ‘chef’s kitchen’ style on-board dining where guests are at the heart of the culinary experience.
The captain will likely be local and have loads of ideas about where to go depending on your preferences and the crew always know how to have a good time, can keep the kids entertained and excel at service – setting up a beautiful picnic and games on a quiet beach is all in a day’s work and they make it look effortless.
For those new to chartering, it is a good idea to enlist the help of a recommended charter broker who can guide you through the initial booking process, discuss charter APA and tipping etiquette and be on hand if there are any problems during the charter that can’t be solved on board. The APA is an advanced payment to cover the cost of provisions including food, drink and other local fees. Most reputable charter yachts support yacht association guidelines on tipping the crew which, as a general rule, recommend a gratuity of between 10 and 15% of the weekly charter fee.
Whether you dream of sailing in the turquoise waters of the Caribbean or exploring the Greek Isles and the wider Mediterranean, catamarans are versatile vessels that can adapt to various cruising conditions. Many charter companies offer a wide range of yachts and destinations, allowing you to tailor your dream catamaran charter experience.
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