Trend of luxury superyacht cruises among the wealthy
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There’s a new luxury option on the high seas: superyacht cruises. Although normally a popular vacation option for Russian oligarchs, with travel restrictions imposed by the ongoing conflict with Ukraine, many wealthy Americans are now boarding.
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Many are doing so for the first time, with a clientele ranging from bankers to CEOs who have seen their wealth grow significantly over the past year. Citing data from research firm Spectrem Group, Bloomberg reported that there are now 12 million households with a net worth of $1-5 million (up 8% from 2021), and those with a net worth of $25 million or more increased by 18%.
Rising wealth has spurred interest in more luxury opportunities like high-end cars, real estate and superyacht cruises. In particular, travel has become a big market now that pandemic restrictions are easing.
One of the main booking companies for these holiday ships is Fischer Travel Enterprises, which has seen a 20% increase in bookings in 2021 alone, and has already generated a lot of interest, as stated Rep. Stacy Fischer-Rosenthal to Bloomberg. “Yacht charters are very popular because our clients want the privacy, security and flexibility it gives them.”
Another luxury booking company, Fraser Yachts, saw a 32% increase in bookings in 2022, setting up almost 500 trips in the first half of the year alone. And a third, Camper & Nicholsons International (based in Monaco), reports a 30% increase in bookings in 2022.
Accommodations can cost millions of dollars a week and come with all the frills like onboard cinemas, gyms, nightclubs, submarine excursions and Michelin star restaurants. One of Camper & Nicholsons International’s yachts (a ship once owned by Microsoft executive Paul Allen) has helipads, a basketball court and an elevator. This particular ship costs $2.2 million a week to book, and there’s usually no negotiation on price, Bloomberg noted.
It costs $150,000 just to sign up for the Fischer Travel Enterprises membership service to be on a waiting list. There are around 3,100 ships worldwide, a far lower number than in years past, with many Russian-owned yachts no longer available.
Charters can be booked to go anywhere in the world, with Fischer-Rosenthal citing Turkey and Greece as a recent example. Camper & Nicholsons International has a charter planned for Antarctica.
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Because the yachts are so large, many customers charter them for large family gatherings that have not been possible during the pandemic or for corporate outings, Bloomberg noted, with a clientele now also younger – the bookers see many customers in their 50s rather than the 60+ crowd.
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