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5 tips for organising your Christmas party on a boat!

You might be considering spending time on a boat this Christmas, with your team, but also possibly with your family and friends, and what wouldn’t you really. Nothing compares to a beautiful couple of hours on magnificent Sydney harbour, sharing a cold drinks and delicious food in the sun. There is something magical about being on the harbour around Christmas, something that a lot of our clients see as a true celebration and reward to finish a good year of hard work.

Now, with so many boats, it might be a little daunting to pick the right boat for you; now don’t worry, here are the 5 things you need to know to make the right decision and make sure your guests, and your boss is 100% thrilled with the experience.

1. Enquire Early – Book Early

I am writing this post on the 19th July – now I could be writing it at any given time, but it true that it’s hard to think about a fun day in the sun, when it’s cold and rainy in Sydney. Now, believe it or not, we have already booked over 50 Christmas parties for this year, and this is 90% of what we will be doing from now till early December. There are lots of boats for hire in Sydney (nearly 200 in fact), but if you fall under the following categories, you should really be thinking ahead:

  • You have over 100 guests: There aren’t that many good boats for large groups, and they usually get booked out in the first half of the year.
  • You want your cruise to be on a Friday in Nov/Dec: guess what, you are not alone, so again, if the date is important, book early!
  • Your budget is important: Booking early can not only be a good thing to get a better deal, but also, the best boats will go early, so if you leave it too late, you will end up with less choice, less attractive boats, and often more expensive.

2. Pick a “weather proof” boat

Of course boats are expensive and you need to be “excited” about the boat that you choose. There are a lot of really fancy, beautiful looking boats that will catch your eyes, but be careful and think about a bad weather scenario. It is often sunny and beautiful, but what if it’s not? People don’t trust me when I say that, but rainy charters can be absolutely amazing, simply because you go from low expectations to a fantastic experience, where it is obvious that the staff works so hard to make you happy and everyone ends up loving it!

A lot of boats are designed for “charters”, they are made for groups of people to come together and enjoy their time, regardless of what the weather is. Again, charters are expensive and there is nothing worse than having it ruined by picking the wrong boat. So have fun with your choices, get excited but remember to be safe when it comes to weather contingency.

3. Talk to an independent agency

Independent agencies are companies that specialise in matching their client’s needs to the right boat, based on their taste and budget. Their only goal is to make sure that you get exactly what you want + they will do all the work for you of suggesting boats, revising quotes and negociating best rates. It doesn’t matter if you go through an agency, or directly via the boat owner, you will be quoted the same price; the only difference is that the agency will tell you things as they are, instead of trying to convince you that their boat is the best for you. This is really important. Use agencies, that’s why they are here, they are free to use and will save you a lot of time. So check websites, look at proposal but by all mean, ask questions and you will save a lot of money + will be much more likely to make the right decision to guarantee a successful event.


4. Pick the right size boat

I know, this sounds really a bit stupid, but it’s not. When you look at boats from websites to websites, you look and pictures, rates and capacity; this is what most people do and their goal is to find the boat that can have the highest number of guests for the best price, within their own parameter of what looks good and what doesn’t. Now, there is nothing terribly wrong with that, if anything is makes sense and we all do it BUT boat capacities are a really bizarre metric. It’s not based on number of guests per square foot, it’s a tricky sort of algorithm and as a result, two boats with the same capacity (e.g. 50 guests), will have a total different amount of space available for your guests and therefore a different level of comfort. Now, this is really important, so please remember it and again ask questions. It is likely that a good boat operator will tell you the truth – most of them are very good and fair – and you can be sure that an agency will warn you.

5. Check the fine print

Most boats will have Christmas decorations at this time of year, and to some extent, you don’t really need much when on a boat, as the best decoration is our beautiful harbour, but check that the boat have a few things to create the atmosphere. Also, and things that are really important in the overall experience are:

  • How many staff are included in the price? This one is a must ask!!
  • What are the drinks served as part of your beverage package? You might not want cheap beers, or wines and sometimes the price difference between packages is not huge.
  • What is the menu and ask if it’s going to be enough food? Especially if you have more “big eaters” (usually men).
  • Ask about entertainment; you may find that the boats have a few things that you can use for free (e.g. Plasma sceen, own DJ, paddle boards…).

There is quite a lot to consider when booking the right venue, but with these few simple questions, we feel that you can avoid common mistakes. We hope you will find this helpful, don’t hesitate to contact us if you need some help.