There’s a new luxury option taking the high seas — superyacht cruises. While normally a popular vacation option for Russian oligarchs, with the travel restrictions imposed by the ongoing conflict with Ukraine, many wealthy Americans are now getting on board.
A large portion are doing so for the first time, with clientele ranging from bankers to CEOs who’ve seen their wealth grow significantly in the past year. Citing data from research firm Spectrem Group, Bloomberg reported there are now 12 million households with a net worth of $1-5 million (up 8% over 2021), and those with a net worth of $25 million or more climbed by 18%.
The increase in wealth has spurred interest in more luxury opportunities like high-end autos, real estate and superyacht cruises. In particular, travel has become a big market now that restrictions from the pandemic are easing.
One of the premier booking companies for these vacation vessels is Fischer Travel Enterprises, which saw a 20% jump in reservations over 2021 alone, and already had a lot of interest, as rep Stacy Fischer-Rosenthal told Bloomberg. “Yacht charters are very popular because our clients want the privacy, security and flexibility that it gives them.”
Another luxury booking, Fraser Yachts, saw a 32% increase in bookings in 2022, setting up almost 500 trips in just the first half of the year alone. And a third, Camper & Nicholsons International (based in Monaco), reported a 30% rise in reservations in 2022.
The accommodations can cost millions of dollars per week and come with all the frills like onboard cinemas, gyms, nightclubs, submarine excursions and Michelin star-rated dining. One of Camper & Nicholsons International yachts (a vessel once owned by Microsoft exec Paul Allen) has helipads, a basketball court and an elevator. That particular ship costs $2.2 million a week to reserve, and there’s usually no negotiating on price, Bloomberg noted.
It costs $150,000 just to sign up for her Fischer Travel Enterprises’ membership service to be on a waiting list. There are about 3,100 vessels worldwide, a much lower number than in years past with many Russian-owned yachts not available any longer.
Charters can be booked to go anywhere around the world, with Fischer-Rosenthal mentioning Turkey and Greece as a recent example. Camper & Nicholsons International has one charter planned for Antarctica.
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Because yachts are so large, many clients are renting them for large family gatherings that have not been possible during the pandemic or for company outings, noted Bloomberg, with clientele now also skewing younger — bookers are seeing many clients in their 50s rather than the 60+ crowd.
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