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What are the different yacht types available?


So you know you want to go on a luxury yacht charter this year, but you’ve met your first roadblock to doing so. Sailboat? Luxury yacht? Motorboat? Catamaran? What the heck is the difference between all of these yachts and which one is right for you? Well, I’m so glad you asked because today, we are going to take a look at the main differences between those yacht options and hope it helps narrow down your search.


This is definitely one of the most popular luxury yachts available to charter and likely the one you’ve seen anchored out in the bay whilst returning to your overcrowded cruise or laying on the beach in the Caribbean. Motoryachts usually have quite a bit more space onboard, making great use of no masts on the main deck, multiple decks and ample space inside and out. Motoryachts often have quite a bit of toys to choose from thanks to plenty of storage space, and a vast array of staterooms available. Thanks to stabilizers, there is often reduced risk of seasickness compared to, say a sailing yacht. Due to maritime regulations, there is usually a cap at 12 guests for overnight charters (although this can vary between jurisdictions so be sure to double-check if you’re interested in having more).

bow of superyacht Masteka 2 with jacuzzi

Motoryacht Masteka 2 boasting a jacuzzi on the bow

Sailing Yachts

Yes, this is likely how many have entered into yachting during their lifetimes. You either grew up sailing or took a sunset cruise onboard a sailboat during your travels. A luxury sailing yacht is different, however, as you’ll have your full crew onboard (as in any luxury yacht charter), plenty of rooms for you and your guests and a much larger sailboat to play aboard. While you still may have the wind power of your sails (and motor of course), sailing yachts will feature all of the modern interior design and conveniences you would be accustomed to on any luxury holiday.


Yet another popular option for people who have perhaps spent time on the water in the past. Catamarans are unique in that they are the only yachts on our list that feature two hulls versus the standard one. This means you get quite a bit more space on board thanks to her width, however, seeing catamarans of a similar length as the others on our list are rare. Catamarans are often a great choice for those who like to be the Captain of their own excursion too. Very common in bareboat (no captain or crew) charters, however, you can still charter these with a full crew on board. Thanks to their multi-hull, they also benefit from being able to get into very shallow waters without a long draft to worry about running aground. While they do have sails, they are often supplemented with motor power as well.

Expedition Yachts

These have certainly grown in popularity in the last couple of decades thanks to clientele wanting to venture further afield and the yacht build and design community working hard to make this possible. If you’re looking to venture into unchartered waters (think far into the South Pacific or heading up to the Northwest Passage) then this is the yacht for you. Built to withstand longer terms at sea, they feature excellent power, efficiency and a deep displacement to accommodate potential harsher seas or conditions.

expedition yacht Relentless in the South Pacific with paddle boarder in background

Expedition yacht Relentless in the South Pacific


Originally hailing from Turkey, the gulet is a large wooden sailing yacht with two masts and an abundance of deck space. Once used for transporting goods along the long Turkish coastline, you can now find gulet charters popping up around the eastern Mediterranean for those looking to make the most of this region.


The phinisi is similar to a gulet in that it utilizes traditional build practices, only these hail from Indonesia. Large wooden yachts are usually built with traditional and local resources, utilizing local Indonesian workers to create masterpieces for those looking to step back in time, but maintain the luxury and conveniences they are used to. If you’re looking for adventure and far-flung lands, the phinisi is for you.

side view of phinisi yacht Silolona between two rocks in Indonesia

Stunning phinisi Silolona in Indonesia

We hope you have found this list handy! Should you still have any questions on the various yacht options available, or are looking for advice and guidance on your next yacht vacation, please don’t hesitate to get in touch today!

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