Dear Brenda and Derek,
Just a short note to share with you what an exceptional adventure we had on Bella Vita February 2-9!
It is difficult to realize that a full month has passed since we disembarked from Bella Vita for the last time…..
We were sad to hear about Jordan and Sarah Jane and pray that they are safely on the road to recovery, but Jacob and Christina were beyond excellent! We very quickly became fully comfortable with Jacob’s piloting skills and knowledge of the Islands and Christina’s culinary skills never ceased to amaze.
I would like to mention just a few things in the name of constructivecriticism that hopefully would make future charters even better.
As you may know our ride to Two Sandals By the Sea was a no show. After waiting 30-40 minutes we picked up a group taxi. The ride across the island and back across to Bella Vita cost $160 for the 4 of us. I think it would have been better to stay somewhere nearer Bella Vita—at least on the same side of the island. Also we were told that no taxis ran in the Red Hook area after 6 pm so we ended up with delivery pizza. (The beer was good though!)
On the boat, it would be nice if the ladder had wider rungs without exposed screwheads—it was literally painful getting out of the water for our “old men” feet. Also in the rear starboard quarters, some of the snaps need to be repaired so the window blind can be left open.
In perspective, none of the above detracted significantly from the overall wonderful experience we encountered aboard the Bella Vita!
Thank you so very much!
P.S. The first picture is from Marina Cay and the second on the dock at Christiansted, St Croix
Wow! It’s hard to put into words how amazing this trip was! The crew on the Bella Vita are the ones who made this trip over the top for us! From their hospitality to the chef’s amazing cooking to being sling shot through the air!
We will have a lifetime of memories from lying in the net star gazing, laughing until we are crying, riding scooters in Anegada, dancing at Coco Maya, exploring the BVI’s hidden treasures to gaining two new friends that we will always remember & cherish!
You guys are AMAZING! Keep doing what you’re doing in that #tinyfloatingkitchen! ~Christina S. and Friends
I think I can confidently speak for all of us when I say we had an absolute BLAST sailing on Bella Vita. The boat was the perfect size for us. Not too big, not too small.
But a huge part of the success of our trip goes to the crew. They are an AMAZING team and by the end of the trip, we felt like they were on vacation with us, like friends we had invited along!
The Captain was so chill and laid back, but knew when to get the job done, and he did many times!
Bringing us frozen drinks on the beach via paddle board with even fresh nutmeg was a great touch!
And the food that came out of that tiny floating kitchen was unbelievable! Her love for cooking was SO obvious and very much appreciated by us.
You have a great crew there for sure! Thanks again, we hope to make it back there again one day!~The Laffler Group
My husband and I have always dreamed of sailing a catamaran around the beautiful islands in the BVI, but we never dreamed it could have been as amazing as the trip we took with the Bella Vita.
The attention the crew took to understanding our desires for our trip was awesome. We love to snorkel and they made sure we went to outstanding snorkel spots. We prefer the more natural places away from the crowds and they delivered. They gave us great adventures like diving for lobster then preparing and cooking them on the grill. The expert chef talents made for perfect meals.
The crew were a great team, they made all of us feel so comfortable. I appreciated their positive relaxed take on everything. It made you stop and be ever so thankful for your surroundings and life. Never have we seen stars so bright and plentiful.
The Bella Vita was equipped with everything we needed. We look forward to taking another adventure sailing, as well as many of our other friends who are anxious to go too. It could not have been more perfect!
This was our third time taking a BVI crewed yacht charter – and this was by far the best. I did not think we could top our last two trips – but the exceptional crew took things to another level. They were both very professional but knew how to have a great time. The food was amazing – and the chef had to deal with a number of different food diets we had on board. We always look forward to eating at restaurants while we are down there but none of the restaurants lived up to what our chef made on the boat. There are many captains in the BVIs – but not many that know where to catch fresh lobster, conch and real in some fresh fish all in the same trip!
~The Hahn Family
Our crew were excellent hosts and truly made the entire experience wonderful. Our kids could not stop raving about how great it was, “best trip everrrrr!”
Relaxed and flexible sailing agenda
The Captain caught fresh lobster, conch and red snapper for dinner
The Chef cooked awesome meals and made incredible island drinks ….The Pain Killer!
White sand beaches, great snorkeling, hik, ng and cliff jumping
Willy T’s (my son jumped off naked-thinking it would get him a free drink!)
Unbelievable quality family time.
~The Hartman Family
Had a blast aboard the Bella Vita! The crew are fantastic! We coined the chef’s style as ‘fancy family’… very creative and delicious! The captain’s knowledge of the area and sailing is spectacular!! We’ve enjoyed their laid back and fun personalities. They were a perfect match for all of us and we love Bella Vita – Beautiful boat!
Just came back from a week down in St. John and the BVI, and it was among the nicest vacations of our lives.
Another couple joined my wife and me for a week on Bella Vita, a 46 foot catamaran. We could not have had a better time! We had chartered a cat in Greece last year and had a wonderful time, but I have to say that our experience on the boat this year was even better.
After our flight from the states, the Captain picked us up at Red Hook, where we hung out a little to watch Spain defeat Germany in the world cup. From the very beginning, he could not have done any more to make sure our time was relaxed, easy and fun. The boat itself is less than 2 years old and was perfect for us. We did a short sail to Mahoe Bay in St. John. Headed up the steps to watch the sunset at the restaurant serving the Mahoe Bay Campground. Lovely view, but make sure to bring bug spray. We ate the first of many great meals on the boat. This time steak with great sides.
On day 2 we kayaked and snorkeled and then headed out to Sopers Hole, finally stopping at Cane Garden Bay. We had the IPOD cranking an eclectic mix of tunes. We feasted on basil chicken and pineapple yams for dinner. Derek’s wife Brenda had to handle some things back in the states (they live in NC during the rainy season) so we were joined by his 23 year old daughter Lorrin on this trip. She also helps out sometimes when there are families with little children aboard. She’s a University of North Carolina graduate and an utterly delightful young woman.
We headed to White Bay on Jost for our third day, hitting the Soggy Dollar bar early.
What an awful place. Hammocks, chairs in the water for cooling down, mango painkillers….pretty much ruins you for life. When the line got too long at the bar, I headed next door to Gertrude’s and had a cool experience with her and some of the others hanging with her in the bar. I had asked for vodka with orange and cranberry juice, light on the latter. She responded by handing me the bottles and saying “help yourself- make it however you’d like.” Never happened before, and it was just perfect for the setting. We ate at Foxy’s which was ok but not nearly as good, frankly, as eating on the boat.
On day 3, we sailed to Monkey Point and had one of the best snorkeling experiences of our lives. The coral was unbelievable, and we swam with literally tens of thousands of small fish. We went over to the Bitter End Yacht club for drinks and sat on their beach chairs after the sun went down. On day 4, we had a real treat, heading to Anegada for the day. I know it’s off the beaten path just a bit, but that’s its charm. We hung out at the Cow Wreck bar with perhaps 7 or 8 other people, and a beach that felt like it was all ours. In fact, a 10 minute walk and it was all ours. We rented mopeds and tooled around the island, which was really fun. At night, we ate big lobsters at Potters by the Sea. Nice service, good food, best of the available restaurant options.
The captain would start each day laying out some options, but always with the refrain, “I’m here to help you create the experience you want. So it’s really about what you’d like to do.” And if what we wanted to do was not make any decisions, he handled that for us also. Everything was easy, and he and the chef couldn’t do enough for us. It was a very different feel from other times we’ve gone with a crewed yacht charter.
It really felt as if the captain was another friend who we happened to bring on the trip, but who also cleaned, sailed and took care of all the details. At night after dinner, we usually played cards or some dice games he taught us. One time we all danced on the cargo netting and used the spotlight to watch the nurse sharks chowing down on their dinner next to the boat.
On Day 5, we sailed to the Dogs, and snorkeled The Chimney. After lunch, we went to Spanish Town and stayed in the harbor because we thought we’d go to the piano bar there (sorry, forget the name.) But we were so bushed we never made it in. Others say it, and the restaurant, are good choices.
On Day 6, we went to The Baths on Virgin Gorda to climb around and go snorkeling. It was fun to tool around on the rocks, and the formations were really interesting, though it was the most crowded place we visited. Had some great fish tacos for lunch and headed to Norman and the Willy T. Unfortunately it was pretty quiet around 6 on a Monday night. We did shots of red headed sluts and then my friend and I did the birthday suit plunge from the mast (not bad for 50, but not so great for anyone to look at either.) My wife wanted to jump (with suit) and when her friend chickened out. Exhilarating moments for all. Had dinner at Pirates which was pretty good before heading back to the boat. There was a nice area for kids to play if you have any with you.
On Day 7 we stopped at the Indians for a snorkel. The water was pretty rough and the shallow rocks on one side got tricky, though it is certainly worth doing on calmer days. We had crab cakes on the boat for lunch, fired up the blender, and headed to St. John. We wanted to stay in an idyllic setting and the captain parked us in Watermelon Cay for the night. Absolutely lovely, with big Turtles, sting rays, thousands of fish in several schools- the works. There were only 4 boats that night in the bay. We had both the sunset and early morning beauty we had hoped for.
~Rich Goldberg, NY
Just wanted to let you know how much fun we all had on our recent trip. You were wonderful and really made every aspect of our vacation so enjoyable. We loved our meals aboard- nothing can top Bella Vita’s shrimp and grits and the lobster BBQ on Anegada. Hudson experienced a unique 30th birthday he will never forget and we all enjoyed our week aboard the Bella Vita.
Hope we can do it again in the future,
A huge thank you for the vacation of a lifetime. Everything was amazing. The only bad thing…returning home to cold weather! Thank you again and we look forward to sailing with you again soon.
Thanks for being a fabulous host this past week! We enjoyed every minute! Beautiful boat, great food, relaxing days mixed with awesome snorkeling……lots of good memories! We miss you already!
We are home safely and miss you guys already. Everything was fantastic. Thank you for an awesome vacation and I am definitely going to try my hand at shrimp and grits.
Words can not express the gratitude we are feeling after the most wonderful vacation in the world. Thank you for making our dream come true, you guys we wonderful. We really enjoyed your company. Can’t wait to do it again. Thank you again, miss you and hope to keep in touch.
Gwen Keffer Brooks
Thank you, for an UNFORGETTABLE vacation experience! It’s all we hoped it would be and MORE! We’ll be talking about it until we return! Happy Holidays to you and your family!
Thank you for helping to provide the trip of a lifetime – without exception, one of the best of our lives and an excellent way for us to celebrate our 25th! Excellent conditions for sailing allowed us to explore a great deal of the BVI in a relatively short space of time, although I know we have not scratched the surface – not that we needed an excuse to come back again very soon!”
~Simon and Sarah, London England