Travel the world with the marine travel experts
Last updated: 18/10/2016
Arranging any sort of travel can often be a complicated and time-consuming process. Whether travelling for business or pleasure, searching for a flight that leaves the nearest airport at the best time for your needs, a means of travel to the airport, and the cheapest prices is no easy feat. Add to this the difficulty of being aboard a superyacht that’s travelling the world, plus a busy work schedule, and you will find this process all the more difficult.
Luckily, professional marine travel agents are on hand to help. Specialising in commercial ship, cruise ship and yacht crew logistics, these agents scour the schedules of countless travel providers around the world in order to provide reliable crew travel at negotiated fares. Often open 24/7, they are on hand to make arrangements for yacht owners, yacht crew and personnel that are meeting and leaving yachts in ports around the world, often at short notice.
Crew travel: Flexible marine travel for yacht crew
The route of a yacht charter doesn’t always run smoothly, therefore it is essential that any transport arranged to meet with the yacht is flexible in regards to both timing and location. A good marine travel agent should be able to fly yacht crew to remote locations with a choice of travel providers in order to satisfy all requirements, ensuring that the flights are exchangeable.
Crew visas and documentation
As your crew travel specialist, a marine agent will be able to sort out the visas and documentation required to complete your trip. This is particularly important with the multi-national nature of the yachting and cruise ship industries.
Tony Bishop from Viking Recruitment, a specialist marine travel agent said, “Through our secure systems we’re able to record and store airline loyalty numbers, passport details and previous bookings made for future use”. This allows for a seamless operation during even the busiest of times, and forges a close working relationship between crew and the agents that regularly assist them.
Helicopter and private jet rental
It is sometimes necessary to organise exclusive transport to meet with the yacht. Many marine travel agents have great links to local aviation service providers. airfields and helicopter pads, allowing them to charter an aircraft to suit your travel requirements, or to reserve a take off or landing spot nearby to the yacht to allow for travel aboard a private jet.
It’s hard to imagine that some guests get restless on board, however there is demand for travel agents to provide excursions for guests aboard. Sabine Gouhie from TerraNautika told Yachting Pages that they are often asked by crew to arrange activities, privatised sightseeing tours and luxury transfers for yacht guests all along the Adriatic coasts of Croatia and Montenegro, offering an a la carte service that fits in with the yacht's itinerary.
Where to get seaman's airfares and discounted marine travel tickets
A number of travel companies provide discounted marine fares for those working within the industry, allowing them to meet with the vessel and return home at a reasonable cost. Many marine crews are unaware that they’re entitled to these hugely reduced marine travel rates, which also allow for flexible and refundable tickets, no minimum or maximum stay, extra baggage allowance and 24/7 agent support. Just ask about seaman's airfares and marine tickets.
There are, of course, criteria that have to be met in order to take advantage of these marine fares, all of which are strictly controlled by the airlines. Christine Gower from The Marine Travel Company stated the criteria to be available for:
- Seamen travelling to or from duty on a vessel
- Surveyors, engineers and contractors travelling to and from the vessel for work purposes
- The husband or wife of a seaman who has been added to the vessel’s manifest
Brokers and management staff working with a private vessel and sometimes even guests can benefit from these specially negotiated fares also, which are usually available on all classes of airline travel (economy, business class and first class). You must ensure that you always travel with the correct identification, which is usually a seaman’s book and/or a letter from the yacht/yacht management company stating the vessel name, destination, purpose of travel, port of registry and dates of expected travel.
Tony Bishop from Viking Recruitment said, “Marine fares should be fully flexible for date and time changes, and refundable minus a small fee. Many marine fares also entitle the passenger to the much-needed higher baggage allowance compared with a regular far flight. The normal crew allowance on marine fares is 40kg, or two pieces of baggage at no more than 23kg per piece.”
There are often last minute changes in travel schedules of crew due to the yacht owner or charter guests deciding to change location, or due to maintenance problems and weather issues. Tony said, “Viking Recruitment do answer the phone in the middle of the night and we do work weekends. It’s what makes us stand out, and is the reason we are recommended.”
Your journey is literally in your travel agents’ hands, so choose wisely to ensure you not only get the most flexible and most reasonable fare, but that you also get outstanding customer service.