When you’re planning a trip out to sea (whether it be on a luxury cruise or with a luxury yacht charter) you have certain expectations regarding the experience. Perhaps you imagine relaxing on the water while you’re being carried from place to place. Maybe you see yourself visiting new and exotic destinations, while still receiving the best services and luxuries that the world can offer. Or perhaps you just want to let go of stress and allow yourself to be completely pampered.

These experiences are not fantasies for those who have deep enough pockets. But will you see your dreams come true more fully on a luxury cruise or a luxury yacht charter? We’re going to take an in-depth look at both options, checking the good against the bad to see which will work best for your next luxury vacation.

What Is a Luxury Cruise?

The term ‘luxury’ is loosely applied to many different types of cruises. However, in real terms, a luxury cruise is an experience that makes you feel truly welcome, a place where you are personally pampered by the crew.

While the production-line cruises tend to build bigger ships that accommodate more people, true luxury cruises tend to be a bit smaller, and more intimate. The crew will usually call you by name, and offer personalized and unexpected perks.

What Is a Luxury Yacht Charter?

A luxury yacht is a private boat that can be chartered for your personal use. You choose the guest list, the destinations, and the time that you’ll spend on the boat. Normally, you can charter a luxury yacht either with or without a crew. Luxury yacht charters serve as a way to get away from the stress of life and relax on the water with your chosen guests.

Feature Comparison

Now that we know the basics of each option, let’s compare them each in their innate features.


The price of both luxury cruises and luxury yacht charters will depend on the time of year that you are planning your trip. As may be expected, the low season will be cheaper for both options.

On a luxury cruise, you can expect to dish out between $4,000 to $10,000 per person for a week. This price will usually include your airfare to the embarkation port, any onboarding dining, alcoholic drinks, and activities on the ship. However, beware of extra costs such as spas or port excursions, which could easily total upwards of $1,000.

On a luxury yacht charter, there are a lot more variables to deal with. As each yacht is owned privately, prices will vary greatly. Also, the size of the boat and the number of passengers that are accommodated will change the price. You could be spending between $12,000 and $60,000 to charter a yacht, besides other costs such as catering, drinks and fuel.


Luxury cruise goers have a limited amount of freedom. The cruise will go where it is set to and you can’t change that. Although you will have the freedom to choose what you will do on the ship, it is already decided when and where you will come into port and how long you will stay there. You’ll have to follow the ship’s schedule for activities onboard and in the port.

A luxury yacht charter, on the other hand, gives you almost complete freedom. Since you’ve rented the entire boat, you can pretty much decide where you want to go and when. Your captain and crew can be an excellent help in exploring your options but the final decision of what to do is yours.


The amount of activities available on a cruise ship is unbelievable. There is something new to do at every hour, whether it’s a yoga class, a spa treatment, a run to the gym, basking by the pool, computer classes, or pretty much anything you can imagine. As mentioned above, however, these are all set at particular times and you must comply with the ship’s schedule.

Luxury yacht charters are not able to offer you the same range of activities. However, you’ll likely be able to enjoy some great scuba diving or snorkeling excursions, or other water sports. Your crew will get you set up at a moment’s notice, meaning you need not follow any set schedule.


We’ve all heard the horror stories of disease or infection spreading on cruise ships. Although luxury cruises are often much more careful in this regard than your average cruise, you as the vacationer still have no control over who you’re sharing the ship with.

With a private yacht charter, you pick and choose your travel companions. Also, if there is any emergency, you will still have a well-trained crew to help you.


The only privacy that you can really have on a cruise ship is in your cabin. Many luxury cruises will provide a small balcony off your cabin so that you can see the outside world (although this will probably come at an extra cost).

With a luxury yacht charter, the amount of privacy you have is up to you. If you’re looking for a romantic getaway with your spouse, quality time with your family, or a reunion of good friends, a luxury yacht charter is an excellent choice.

Pros and Cons

Now that we’ve compared their features, let’s see the basic lists of pros and cons for each experience.

Luxury Cruise Ship


  • All-inclusive means no decision making: your vacation is planned and ready
  • A great variety of activities to choose from for each day
  • Luxurious dining included in price


  • No freedom to make your own plans
  • Very limited privacy
  • Limited time for port activities

Luxury Yacht Charter


  • The decisions are yours: where you go, when you stop, and how long you stay
  • Activities available at a moment’s notice
  • Privacy a top priority
  • Very attentive crew


  • A bit pricier than a cruise (depending on the options you choose)
  • Limited curated activities to choose from


Ultimately, the decision of a luxury cruise vs a luxury yacht charter is up to your own personal tastes and desires. However, if you’re looking for a private adventure with a select group, like to plan your own activities, and enjoy a truly personalized experience, we highly recommend a luxury yacht charter.

Our luxury Catamaran, the Adventuress, provides a great opportunity to enjoy the best experience on the sea. See more about the ship itself and the services that we provide to personalize your San Diego catamaran sailing adventure.