Yacht Vs Cruise – What to Choose?

A vacation out on the water is a common desire for many people. The preparations usually begin with a choice between a cruise and a chartered vessel.

There are many reasons why someone would choose to board a cruise ship, and most consist of misinformation regarding either a paid cruise or a chartered boat or both.

This misinformation can be corrected with a bit of research into what a charter actually offers. A charter can make a boating experience more personal, relaxing, and enjoyable for all the guests aboard.



Chartering a yacht affords a family or group of friends privacy that is almost completely absent on a cruise ship.

On a yacht, the only guests are the people known to each other. The only other individuals on board are the professional, discreet crew.

A cruise ship can be bulging at the seams with strangers crowding common spaces, making a lot of noise, and invading your personal time alone with loved ones. A yacht ensures that the time spent with your family is yours and yours alone.


A chartered yacht means that the vessel is yours completely for the allotted amount of time you have booked the charter.

This means that the boat runs on your time. A cruise ship sticks to a rigid schedule. Meals are served at certain times, trips ashore are based on the yacht’s docking schedule, and activities are only available when staff can be assigned to lead the activity.

None of this is an issue on a charter. You dictate the when, if, and how. The vacation time is yours to do with what you will.

A simple conversation with the captain about the plans you wish to make is all that is needed to arrange anything you and your guests would like to see or do. The staff is there to handle arrangements smoothly and efficiently without disturbing your enjoyment.


The service crew on a yacht is highly trained and exhibits the utmost professionalism and friendliness. Generally, a crew will consist of one staff member for each guest aboard.

This equal ratio of staff to guest guarantees that the service provided is personalized, constant, and consistent. Unlike a cruise ship, guests will not vastly outnumber the staff.

This results in less confusion in communication, faster service, and no lag in the level of service provided. The crew’s only goal is to make your trip exceed all of your expectations.


Meals on a cruise may not meet everyone’s standards. Cruise ship fare is mass-produced and does not cater to individual tastes.

Special requests can be made, but with varying results, and not every request can be accommodated. The chefs on a cruise ship cook what is available, regardless of personal tastes of guests, allergies, or food restrictions.

A chartered yacht does not have these limitations. The personal chef on board will prepare foods that you have requested, at the times you have specified. Any considerations for allergies, food restrictions, dietary needs, and special occasions can be accommodated without question.

The menu is based on what the guests would like to eat, not what is most convenient to serve an army of cruise ship tourists.


Cruise ships offer a variety of activities, but they are based on availability, scheduled times are inflexible, time limits are in place for each activity, and you must wait for an activity until its allotted time rolls around.

On a yacht charter, you make the rules and the schedules for the activities for which you and your guests are interested in participating.

Water sports can be done whenever the mood strikes you, and without the extra fees that are commonplace on a cruise.

Trips ashore, spur of the moment activities, and any schedules drawn up are the responsibility of the guests, not the crew.

The crew will help with any arrangements or planning, and provide instruction for equipment use if necessary, but the fun you have is all your choice!

Advantages & Disadvantages of Cruises


  • Opportunities to socialize, meet new people, and join in group activities
  • Many considerations are centered on families, including activities and outings. Some cruises even offer childcare or babysitting services for parents to have a few hours to themselves
  • A wide variety of activities are offered for guests of all ages and interests
  • Cruise Ships house numerous amenities like sundries stores for forgotten necessities, Wi-Fi, cable access, and onboard doctors for emergencies. There are cruises with pools, dance clubs, gyms, movie theaters, and restaurants
  • Due to their size, a cruise ship can accommodate large groups of people in a single party. This makes a cruise ship an ideal vessel for weddings and reunions
  • Cruise ship options are almost endless. The size, duration of the voyage, the theme of the boat, and special cruise packages are just a few categories for cruises
  • Depending on location and other factors, a cruise ship made be a better deal


  • No freedom for guests. Schedules, time limits, and activities based on availability are the norm
  • Cruises are often crowded, with guests numbering in the thousands
  • Extra fees can be tacked onto activities and special requests
  • Crew is greatly outnumbered by guests creating a lack of consistent, quality service
  • Meals and snacks cater to common tastes, not personal preferences
  • Cruise ships are more likely to suffer from outbreaks of viruses due to the sheer volume of people on board
  • Personal safety and medical emergencies cannot be addressed as quickly due to the smaller crew to passenger ratios.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Chartering a Yacht


  • The only guests on board are known to one another, so there is no suffering strangers and uncomfortable social situations
  • No crowds
  • Your time is your own. You set the pace, course, schedule, and activities
  • Menus are based on your tastes. Food that is unpopular among the passengers won’t be on board
  • Crew to guest ratio is normally one on one, making the service more intimate and immediate


  • Price can be high depending on the luxuriousness of the yacht chartered. The fancier the charter, the steeper the price
  • Limited vessels for charter can mean that a specific boat from a specific company can be already chartered for the time you would like to have that particular vessel
  • Space for guests can be an issue for large parties. The more people on board, the less room there is.


The benefits of a charted yacht voyage far outweigh the cruise ship experience. Sailors seeking a personalized vacation away from noisy crowds and schedules should look into a charter.

Vacationing should be about getting away from stress, not trading one stressful situation for another. Relax and let a chartered yacht take you away from it all, at least for a while!



Have you been on a yacht charter or on a cruise ship? What are your preferences? Please share your experiences with us by leaving a comment just below.  

8 thoughts on “Yacht Vs Cruise – What to Choose?”

  1. Very informative. Yes, there are differences and people should know the pros and cons and evaluate based on their personal preferences. You have really dug into those differences and given people a lot to think about before they just jump on that next ship. I have been on both, and I did enjoy both, but I like the freedoms afforded by the private charter.

  2. Hi Daniella, you have convinced me, as I am not in favour of mass tourism. I saw you mentioned cons of cruises only not pros and pros of yachting and not cons. Would it not be clearer and fairer to your audience to include these? Cheers, Jerry

    • Hi Jerry,

      I went on a cruise once and enjoyed, not as much as I did with a yacht charter, but again this is my personal opinion!
      Thank you for passing by and wish you a great day!

  3. Hi Daniella,
    I really enjoyed reading your post. I have been on 2 Cruises and although they were both good, I can definitely see the advantages of chartering a yacht. Keep the information coming.

    • Hi Kerry,

      I am glad you had good experiences on cruise ships.
      Thank you for the compliment and wish you an awesome day!

  4. It’s good that you mentioned that with a yacht charter, we can enjoy privacy for our small group of people that we can’t find on a cruise ship since we will only have people we know on board with us along with the ship crew. My friends and I plan to go on a weekend getaway trip at the end of this month, and we were thinking of booking a yacht charter for it. I’ll take note of this while I look for a coastline yacht cruise in Newport beach that is available for us to book soon.

    • Hi Clare,
      Absolutely, a yacht charter is an excellent choice for an intimate and private weekend getaway with friends. You’ll relish the exclusive experience of having the yacht all to yourselves, surrounded by the stunning coastal beauty of Newport Beach. It’s the perfect way to create lasting memories while enjoying the company of your closest friends, and I’m sure you’ll find the tranquility and luxury of a private yacht charter to be the highlight of your trip. Happy sailing and enjoy your unforgettable adventure!


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