Cost of Charters

Cost of Chartering?
It can be expensive, but it can also be very reasonable. It depends on many factors having to do with market conditions, the level of luxury you are looking for, the size of your group and other issues.
If you have some flexibility in sailing dates often we are able to obtain some very special rates.  Low season, slow periods or a cancelled charter will sometimes allow us to obtain some exciting pricing for whole ship charters.  Additionally, by buying the whole ship on a charter basis and taking the ship out of the companies inventory early on allows the cruise line to offer a per person per deim rate far below their brochure rate.  Sometime, if they already have a charter booked which is going to leave them with odd days left over or, the ship will be out of its usual area, an economical charter rate can be obtained to "fill-in" these periods. We are the specialist in this field and with our in-house connections frequently hear of opportunities which do not come onto the open market.  So as you can see a whole ship charter is not necessarily beyond your budget, call us, with our knowledge of the market we may find you what you want at a price that might surprise you.
As an example, the charter rate for Royal Caribbean ships will be based on full double occupancy regardless of how many people sail, pre-paid gratuities based on double occupancy and any applicable fuel surcharge based on full double occupancy.  The client will be responsible for taxes & fees based on the actual number of guests and will be required to pay for the actual gratuities should more than double occupancy sail.  Additional fees may apply for triple and quad berths above double occupancy. 
Pricing varies based on ship, sail date, itinerary and level of customization.  Actual pricing must be provided by the Manager of International Charters, but the following ranges may be used in the pre-qualification process to determine viability: 

  • 3-night  $900,000 - $1,100,000+
  • 4-night  $1,000,000 - $1,400,000+
  • 4-night  $1,400,000 - $1,700,000+                       Voyager Class
  • 5-night  $1,400,000 - $1,800,000+                       Vision/Radiance
  • 5-night  $1,800,000 - $2,200,000+                       Voyager Class
  • 7-night  $1,800,000 - $2,500,000+                       Vision Class
  • 7-night  $2,800,000 - $3,800,000+                       Voyager Classes
  • 7-Night $3,900,000 - $4,500,000+                       Freedom Class
  • 7-night  $7,500,000 - $11,000,000+                     Oasis Class
Charter pricing will generally be most attractive in non-peak season such as September, October, early December and/or January and will be most expensive from May through August.  Product in Alaska or Europe may exceed the ranges outlined above.

What does charter pricing include and/or not include?
Charter pricing includes:
  • ship accommodations
  • ocean transportation
  • most meals
  • most non-alcoholic beverages
  • most entertainment aboard the ship
Charter pricing does NOT include:
  • air transportation
  • transfers to and/or from the vessel
  • optional shore excursions and/or private arrangements requested for site inspection trips
  • meals and accommodations ashore
  • certain beverages
  • casino gaming
  • photographs
  • gratuities (shipboard or shoreside porterage)
  • telephone calls or internet services
  • specialty restaurant charges
  • purchases from ship stores
  • items of a personal nature (medical services, laundry, spa or salon treatments)
  • meeting break or special event set-up fees
  • technical and broadcast fees when applicable
  • expedited shipping fees for documents
  • customization of documents
Are there other charges to be considered?

To maximize value, the number of participants should be close to the double occupancy capacity of the ship under consideration.  Should the chartered sailing fall below full double occupancy level, the client may be responsible for per person Onboard Revenue fees.  Regardless of occupancy, the client may be responsible for meeting or exceeding a certain Onboard Revenue expectation.

What types of onboard customization affect the charter price and/or may result in incremental fees post contract?The charter rate provided to the client will be based on standard product.  Any requested change to standard operation may impact the charter rate or result in incremental fees.  Examples are:

  • Requests to close any revenue center or revenue generating activity (ex:  casino, bars, art auctions, bingo, etc.)
  • Requests to significantly change menu offerings
  • Requests to re-print menus
  • Custom itinerary requests that impact fuel, port fees, security, etc. and/or changes to contracted itinerary requested post-contract
  • “Floating Hotel” requests
  • Food and/or Beverage events not offered on a non-chartered sailing
  • Customized entertainment requests
  • Incremental power supply and/or connectors required for customized onboard performances
  • Tender services requested above Royal Caribbean International standard
  • Special Services such as:  Fireworks, Flyovers, Banners, Decorations, Pool Liners, etc.
Requests to provide special products onboard during the charter

What are the Standard Payment Terms of a Full Ship Charter?

Again, using Royal Caribbean as an example, two options are available. These are:

Option 1:  Staggered Payments with Letter of Credit


  • 10% of charter rate and pre-paid gratuities at contract signing
  • 30% of charter rate and pre-paid gratuities at 7 months prior to sailing
  • 30% of charter rate and pre-paid gratuities at 5 months prior to sailing
  • 30% of charter rate and pre-paid gratuities at 3 months prior to sailing
  • An Irrevocable Stand-By Letter of Credit in place at contract signing

Option 2:  Payment in Full at Contract Signing – No Letter of Credit

  • 100% of charter rate and pre-paid gratuities at contract signing
  • Interest credit earned to be provided as a shipboard credit on the chartered sailing.
  • Payment is non-refundable.

Payment for per person taxes & fees, expected OBR penalties (if applicable), requested amenities and other miscellaneous fees relating to customization will be required 30 days prior to sailing and/or prior to the release of documents.

Requests for alternate custom payment arrangements may be considered and must be discussed with the Director of International Trade Support & Services.  All payments to be made U.S. Dollars unless otherwise agreed.

What is an Irrevocable Stand-By Letter of Credit and why is it required?

An Irrevocable Stand-By Letter of Credit is issued by the client’s bank and confirmed by a bank designated by Royal Caribbean International to confirm the client’s ability to perform under the terms of the contract.  If the client’s bank is rated BBB or higher by both S&P and Moody’s, a confirmation is not required.
As the beneficiary, Royal Caribbean International is able to draw upon the LOC to collect payment should the client default on the Agreement.  The LOC is required from contract signing and is held for up to 60 days post-sailing to insure all balances are paid and that there have not been damages to the ship.  The LOC is reduced each time a payment is received but will be held at a pre-determined threshold until the agreed upon expiration date.

The Letter Of Credit is required with a Full Ship Charter program because Royal Caribbean International loses all ability to market and sell the chartered sailing once an Agreement is signed.  Should the client default on the Agreement, we would most likely not have the ability to fill the ship and would suffer significant financial loss.

Once an Agreement is signed by the client, can the program be cancelled or can the client relinquish stateroomsUnlike a large group contract, there is no provision in the Full Ship Charter Agreement that allows for cancellation of the program and/or for any number of staterooms.  A client cannot choose to change to a Half Ship Charter or a group once signed as a charter.

Can Royal Caribbean International handle the fulfillment of the program for the client?

No.  The client must have the ability to handle or work though a travel partner to market the program, answer questions, accept payment (if applicable), assign staterooms, etc.