Contributed by: Jo Morgan
If the thought of an afternoon strolling the exclusive boutiques of St Tropez or St Barts sends your heart all aflutter, a luxury yacht charter is a shopping dream come true.
A yacht charter is the most effortless, glamorous way to shop imaginable. Superyacht marinas are almost inevitably surrounded by high-end boutiques, which means all you have to do is step ashore in Capri or Porto Cervo to hit the shops, before stepping back on your yacht to float onto the next designer destination.
On a yacht charter vacation, you’ll always be able to pop ashore to buy the perfect outfit for the evening cocktail party on the sundeck, a new swimsuit for a day at Nikki Beach, or an extra pair of sunglasses for lazing about on deck. Jewellery is an extremely popular purchase on a yachting vacation- particularly when it’s local to the place you’re visiting, such as a Tahitian pearl necklace from the South Pacific, or the funky, chunky jewellery from iconic St Tropez boutique, Gas Bijoux.
You can even make your holiday memories last forever with the purchase of something to send home- perhaps a gorgeous glass blown vase from the hill village of Biot in France, stunning artwork from a Miami gallery, or the perfect white wicker armchair from East Hampton.
The Ultimate Shopping Experience
With a luxury yacht charter, you don’t need to contend with traffic or taxis to get from one fashion centre to another. Imagine the shopping experience to be had on a French Riviera yacht charter, as you float from Monaco’s Cercle d’Or down to Cannes’ glittering Croisette and on to St Tropez’ exclusive boutiques.
In the Caribbean, you’ll cruise leisurely from island to island- enjoying the refined shopping experience of St Barts, St Kitts, and St Lucia, while exploring the local boutiques and colourful markets of each little island along the way. St Maarten and the US Virgin Islands also offer exceptional shopping for visiting yachts, although they may not be ready for the 2017/18 winter season due to hurricane damage.
From haute couture to local gems
When shopping in superyacht destinations, you’ll be dazzled by the array of haute couture fashion houses and the luxury ready-to-wear brands, their famous shingles hung along the whitewashed alleys of Mykonos, and the breezy, palm-lined streets of the Caribbean.
A yacht shopping vacation is certainly a star-studded foray through the greatest names in fashion, with the stores of Yves St Laurent, Chanel, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, Dior, Bvulgari, and Cartier to be found in most sophisticated port towns.
But it’s not all about the global fashion names on a yacht charter. After all, you can find these luxury brands in affluent cities closer to home. The unique treasures of shopping on charter often come from the local fashion stores that have been ‘discovered’ by the jet-set on their yachting holidays and have since become synonymous with exotic, decadent travel.
This is why no yacht luggage is truly complete without a pair of Capri pants tailored at La Pari Sienne, hand-crafted Tropezienne sandals from Rondini, or Vilbrequin swim trunks from their original store in St Tropez. ‘Across the pond’ in St Barts, the local boutiques with an elite following include Calypso St Barth, Lolita Jaca, and Mandarin, while the famous Kiwi brand has stores in both St Tropez and St Barts.
Don’t forget about local markets, which are the best places to stock up on handcrafted souvenirs and gifts, as well as soak up the colour, smells and sounds of local life.
Some of the most famous markets for yacht guests are Place du Lices in St Tropez, the Provencal market in Antibes, the leather-goods markets in Florence, the Straw Market in Nassau, and the food markets of St Lucia, Trinidad, and Grenada in the Caribbean.
Take Home the Taste of Holidays
Food delicacies are some of the best gifts and mementos to return home with- whether that’s a fragrant olive oil from Tuscany, a jar of preserved lemons from Menton, local honey from the Greek islands, or a Caribbean hot sauce from Trinidad.
And wine of course, don’t forget the wine: perhaps a case of Provencal rose, a rich Bandol, or one of newly fashionable Passopisciaro wines grown on the slopes of Sicily’s Mt Etna volcano. If rum is more to your taste, then a Caribbean yacht charter may well deliver you nirvana, as you decide between taking home a bottle of Appleton’s Estate, Mount Gay, Don Zapaco, or El Dorado. Or in the interests of impartiality, all four.
Whenever you pour yourself a Caribbean rum after a hard week at the office, or drizzle Greek honey on your morning toast, the smell will instantly transport you back to those blissful, heavenly days on a yacht in a far-off land.
The logistics: Shopping, Shipping, and Tax
In yachting centres, shops and wine cellars are generally well-accustomed to shipping your larger purchases internationally, but it’s worth checking with the assistant before maxing out the credit card, particularly if you’re in a small local boutique or cruising in a remote area.
It’s also worth investigating the duty-free status of the places you’re visiting. Many yachting destinations are also tax-free shopping havens, such as Montenegro, Bahamas, Grand Cayman, Antigua, and Grenada, while many other countries will allow you to claim your VAT, GST or sales tax back when leaving the country if you live internationally.
The French Riviera is an excellent example of this kind of duty-free scheme, allowing residents from outside the EU to claim the VAT back on any purchases over €175 made in one store.
Top tip: If you’re planning to be doing a lot of shopping during your yacht charter, we advise applying for a Global Blue ‘Shop Tax-Free Card’, where many stores worldwide will be able to take off the tax at the cash register. Otherwise, ask the store for a ‘detaxe’ form to claim your VAT back at the airport.
Make the Dream a Reality
A luxury yacht charter may not be all about shopping, but it’s certainly one of the highlights of a yacht charter for the superyacht set. This vacation, why not spend your days swimming off a yacht, dining on deck…and shopping amongst celebrities in the world’s top yachting destinations.