Last minutes &
Budget yacht charters

Last minute yacht charters

Although there is usually a small percentage of last-minutes yachts in the main yacht charter season due to cancellations, these are often (far) more expensive.

So, if looking for a reasonable price or even a bargain it is widely recommended to book a yacht 7 – 12 months in advance. Note that you can typically book (or at least plan) flights 11 months in advance.

Book early

Booking a charter yacht more than half a year in advance gives you more specific options like the possibility to charter:

Cyclades sailing guide (pix)

  • an owner version yacht with fewer, hence more spacious, cabins: ideal for one couple or small family
  • one of the few smaller catamarans, since multihulls with a length of 36 and 38 feet are quite rare
  • 10 days or any number of days that isn't based on weeks.
  • a oneway cruise, for instance from Corfu to Lefkas or from Athens to Paros.
Sailing holidays and yacht charters Ionian, Greece.
Sailing yachts (private yacht charters) at anchor in Paxos island in the Ionian Sea. Hi-res image

In both Greece and Turkey, last-minute yacht charters are usually more expensive sailing holidays than timely booked yacht charter vacations especially for sailing in June, July, August and first half of September.

Only sign a contract with the fleet owner, not with an agent or middleman. The yacht's name and the yacht's owner should be indicated on the contract.

To cope with a small budget

  • Charter a yacht outside the main charter season, i.e. later than approximately the second week of September or earlier than mid June.
  • You could opt for a slightly older sailing yacht (older than 5 yrs), yet – – only rent older yachts from reliable yacht charter companies.
  • Size down: a 33 feet yacht in the Ionian or a 37 feet yacht in the Aegean – although seemingly small – is entirely safe. Moreover, most of the time is spent on deck or exploring the islands.
  • Spend only a day in the vicinity of Athens and dive into the Hydra Gulf and Argolic gulf as soon as possible. The further away from the touristy areas the more economical the yacht charter provisioning.
  • Bavaria yachts are usually more affordable than for instance Jeanneau or Beneteau sailing yachts.
    Monohulls are more affordable than catamarans.
  • You can save easily €50 per flight ticket if you find a cheap flight. This is often a greater difference than you will find between the yachts offered.
  • Leave out the middleman! That charter agent (certainly if outside Greece, Croatia or Turkey) will collect 20 – 35% of your money, which means either the yacht will be more expensive, or the yacht is of less quality. A second common issue is that in case of a problem like engine-failure they will point towards the owner, and the owner will point towards the agent. Hence, always rent directly with the fleet owner.  
    They know the yacht and are specialized in the sailing area.


  • Also typically avoid “database” agents – spanning the whole of Greece, or even multiple countries – which are merely enormous collections of charter yachts. The yachts are never inspected by them, there is no service and perhaps they have never been in Greece, so difficult to ensure any quality…
    The reliable yacht charter fleets rarely list their top yachts in such databases.

What you shouldn't do is rent the cheapest yacht offered by any (that is unreliable) company / agent – you will lose sailing days and money, e.g. on repairs.  

In case of a problem, also without an agent involved, immediately notify the company in writing via SMS / TEXTING or via e-mail; this to avoid “misunderstandings” later on about what has been said.


If with just two persons, you have three main options for a yacht charter holiday:

Ionian sailing guide (pix)

  1. Rent a small (33 – 37 ft) sailing yacht for just the two of you (private charter): total freedom.
  2. Rent a cabin on a larger sailing yacht: 3 – 5 other couples or a group, fixed itinerary etc, cheaper.
  3. Rent a cabin on a gulet motorsailer: more luxurious, more expensive, still fixed itinerary.

Option 1, is generally by far the best solution: you can sail to beaches and temples when you like and go to places that you are interested in…

Island hopping

The best way to explore Greece is by sailing yacht and we found ourselves regularly anchored off in a secluded turquoise bay overlooked by an imposing temple or Venetian castle.

Of course you can sometimes reach these places by ferry  +  bus  +  tripper boat, but this way you can spend the night there, explore the archaeological sites as well as the picturesque fishing ports without all those fellow ferry tourists. These will have to leave in the afternoon.

The ferries only visit the larger islands and will only dock at the main (industrial) port. Yet the interesting places such as beaches, the colourful harbours, temples and other archaeological sites are elsewhere on the islands. Finding transport via bus or taxi plus subsequent lodgings is cumbersome and expensive.

Since you will reside in your own comfortable ensuite cabin on a catamaran or sailing yacht – which is also equipped with a galley (kitchen) – it is more affordable to go island-hopping on a yacht / catamaran than backpacker's style on expensive ferries.  

Coupe de grâce: you don't have to drag all your luggage around.

Skipper and crew

Things to consider about a hired skipper, cook or hostess:

  • Make sure that the skipper – and preferably the whole crew – is really fluent in English (or French, etc.). Quite a few local skippers erroneously think of themselves as articulate polyglottous orators.
  • The east Mediterranean is one of the last strongholds in Europe where smoking is still common practice. Request a genuinely non-smoking skipper (keeping in mind that a Greek non-smoker often still smokes too much) and agree on absolutely no smoking on deck as well as below decks.
  • Tipping: it is customary for the skipper to receive a tip (a gratuity) at the end of the yacht charter. Depending on the received services a tip can amount to €200 or €300 per week. Usually a certified instructor can expect €50 more per week, while a hostess and deckhand should be tipped around €150. Please note that these figures are indicative at most and it is wise to ask a reliable charter company beforehand what their skippers might expect.