How to choose the perfect boat for your holiday

How to choose the perfect boat for your holiday

From our series on skippered boats — Which boat will provide the best holiday experience for you and your crew? Let’s answer some key questions.

In another guide, we introduced you to the various types of charter boats, ranging from the most affordable single-hulled sailboats to spacious, two-hulled catamarans, available with sails or motors. We also offer traditional wooden gulets and speedy motorboats. With so many sailboats, catamarans, and motorboats to choose from, how do you select the right one in terms of size, price, and equipment?

What's your budget?

Let's be realistic and admit that price is often the primary concern. If you have a predetermined budget, it's a good idea to take that into account when choosing a boat. Generally, sailboats are more affordable than catamarans and renting a boat during the high season (June to September) costs more than in the low season (October to May). However, booking early or last minute can secure you significant discounts.

Find out more details on the total cost of a yachting holiday in our guide to how much a boat holiday costs.

How many of you are going?

A key factor to consider is the boat's capacity, which is typically proportional to its length. Most of our clients opt for sailboats accommodating 6 to 10 people or catamarans for 10 to 12 people. However, you can choose smaller boats for 2 to 4 people or larger vessels for 15 or more crew members, depending on whether your group consists of a couple, a single family, several families with children, or a group of friends.

Note, however, that even small children count as crew members. You cannot exceed the official capacity, even if it is a toddler. This is a safety rule of maritime law.

Don't be afraid to sail with small children. Our experience shows that children almost always enjoy a boating holiday to the max. Read our articles on sailing with little ones, including safety guidelines for sailing with kids, how to survive on a boat with kids, and how to get youngsters into sailing.

big family on a catamaran

A catamaran can accommodate whole families.

Where and when are you planning to go yachting?

Different seasons and destinations call for specific types of boats. For example, for spring or autumn cruises in Croatia, Greece or Italy, we recommend a sailing boat to take advantage of the seasonal winds. In exotic destinations, a catamaran is best suited due to its shallow draft, allowing you to anchor right at the white sandy beaches. Which destination would you prefer?

YACHTING.COM TIP: We have comprehensive guides for each destination, helping you get to know them better. You'll also find plenty of inspiration in our articles about yachting destinations.

Wind power or engine power?

This is a fundamental question! Are you tempted by the thrill of sailing or would you rather indulge in the horsepower of a boat motor? If you love the idea of harnessing the wind, we recommend a sailboat with an integrated motor — perfect for calm days or when you prefer to sail. If speed and power are more your style, a motorboat will take you swiftly across the sea, though you'll need to factor in higher fuel costs. If you can't decide, a catamaran offers the best of both worlds, with sails for windy days and powerful motors for when the wind is calm.

Level of comfort and equipment

When choosing a boat, consider the level of comfort and luxury you expect from your holiday. Here are some questions frequently asked by sailors:

  • Do you need each cabin to have its own bathroom, or is a shared bathroom sufficient? Consider the level of privacy and intimacy you want.
  • Do you plan to cook a lot? If so, you'll appreciate a larger galley.
  • Do you enjoy grilling fish and barbecuing? Let our dealer find a boat with an integrated aft grill to make your evenings on board even more enjoyable.
  • Do you find high temperatures difficult to tolerate? Choose a boat with air conditioning.
  • If you're planning to bring kids on the boat, they might be fine with bunk beds, but older parents might prefer more comfortable accommodations.
  • Do you consider yourself a water enthusiast? You'll appreciate a boat with a spacious swimming platform at the stern.
  • Don't want to deal with broken or worn-out equipment? Opt for a boat with the latest year of manufacture. Each year, many brand new, modern boats with technological innovations are introduced to the market.
  • Do you want to indulge in romance in deserted bays and avoid marinas? Choose a self-contained boat with a large water and fuel tank capacity, a freshwater generator, or solar panels.

If you don't have all the answers, that's okay. When you book your boat, you'll have the opportunity to discuss everything with our sales team, who will help you select the type of boat with the equipment that suits your needs.

Barbecue on the boat

Grilling on a boat is just great!

First time on a charter boat?

If this is your or your crew's first time on a boat, you'll appreciate the stability that certain boats offer. A catamaran or a larger sailboat from brands like Dufour, Hanse or Bavaria will provide the steadiness you need. For your initial sailing experience, we also recommend sailing during the peak summer season when the sea is calm.

YACHTING.COM TIP: If you're a newcomer, be sure to check out the 10 things you need to know before your first sail

Contact details

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Ready to set sail? Get in touch and we will choose the best boat for you.

Denisa Nguyenová

Denisa Nguyenová

Sales Consultant

+420 730 188 100denisa.nguyenova@yachting.com