Caribbean Yacht Charters FAQ's
If you are like most of our yacht guests, the experience of being aboard a yacht charter is new, and you have TONS of questions about what to expect. We have tried to consolidate all that information about our Caribbean charters into the section below. See what people say about our yacht charters to get a sense of the trip. There are a lot of pages on this site that offer various information about the many aspects of yacht charters in the Caribbean,
Please click on a question to see the answer!
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Where Do We Fly into for a BVI Crewed Yacht Charter?
Most of our yacht charters that plan a BVI itinerary begin and end on the East End of St. Thomas at Compass Pt Marina. The boat will be at a dock so that you can easily step aboard with your luggage. The airport code for St. Thomas is STT and there are direct flights from Boston, Newark, JFK, Charlotte, Atlanta and Miami to name a few.
Will We Be Sailing Out Into the Ocean Away from Land?
Not really. The US Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands are all very close together with the maximum sail time between islands about 2 hours. You will always be surround by and looking at other islands and cays while sailing. That’s really what makes the sailing here so beautiful and interesting – the emerald green hills and the ultra blue water are breathtaking to behold.
Do We Need to Know How to Sail?
Not at all! The captain and crew are there to sail the boat for you. If you are interested in learning about sailing and want to participate, the crew will be more than happy to share their knowledge with you. But if you are looking for a completely relaxed time during your yacht charter, you can kick back with a drink in your hand and let the crew do all the work.
Is There an Age Limit for Children?
Most of the boats ask that children be “water safe” meaning that they have a child life preserver or swim floatation aids. To be on a boat for a week, children should be comfortable around water.
Do the Locals Speak English?
Yes. It may be a little difficult to understand because they accent their words differently, and they have developed their own patois over the years. For instance, “dem” is used to make a word plural: “Look at deh dolphin dem play in den watah!” A common greeting is “Wha whan?” short for “What’s going on?” West Indians always begin conversations with “Good Morning,” “Good Afternoon” or “Good Night,” and they consider it rude to just say, “Hello” or begin speaking without this formal greeting.
Will the Crew Be Able to Handle Special Diets?
Yes. All of our chefs pride themselves on being able to cook for any pallet and can prepare meals that are gluten free, vegetarian, paleo, etc. You will be given the opportunity to express your dietary preferences, food allergies, etc on the Charterer’s Information Form, a- 3 page document that you fill out before the charter.
Can You Swim Underneath the Islands? (Yes, an Actual Question!)
They go all the way down! But some of the smaller cays have wonderful caves and grottos and swim-throughs that seem as if you could swim all the way underneath them!
How Much Is Normal to Tip the Crew?
The standard for the industry is 15 to 20% -(of the total charter fee) similar to the hospitality industry at large. The crew really do judge their performance on the tip that they receive. When you see how hard the crew works for you around the clock…you will want to reward their service. Cash is preferred as most crews do not have local bank accounts here to deposit checks
Is There a Safe on Board?
None of our yachts have safes on board. However, theft onboard is very uncommon. The boats are at anchor or on a mooring at each destination, and it would be quite difficult for someone to come aboard and steal anything.
What Time Do We Board the Boat and Disembark?
The charter contracts all state Noon to Noon as the start and end times of the charter. Similar to the check-in and check-out times at a hotel: you can arrive later than the check-in time, but you can’t arrive earlier. And you can disembark earlier than Noon, but not after.
Many times the yacht crew will have dropped off charter guests the day before, and need every minute of the turn around time to get the boat cleaned and prepared for the next guests. The same goes for dropping off guests…the crew need the next 24 hours to get the boat ready again for the next charter.
What Will the Itinerary Be? Can We Discuss This with the Captain?
Caribbean yacht charters really are all about the guest experience, and they are tailored specifically to maximize everyone’s pleasure during their time on board. With great food and drinks, beautiful sailing and wonderful itinerary stops, a BVI crewed yacht charter is one of the best vacations for families and friends to spend uninterrupted time together in the most relaxing and fun way possible.
What’s the Difference in Trip Type?
A full-board charter is the perfect vacation for those who like to kick back and have all of the logistics taken care of for them. The menu for the week is crafted around your likes and dislikes based on a group preference sheet, and all food and beverages consumed on board are included in this vacation. Provisioning is done ahead of time by the yacht crew, so from the moment you step on board your only concern should be locating the beer cooler.
A half-board charter is ideal for those who would like to have some meals provided for on-board, but would also like to eat on-shore at local restaurants or maybe do some of their own cooking. On a typical half-board the crew prepares on board all breakfasts, three lunches, and three dinners. All on-board drinks and incidental costs are included in the cost of a half-board charter.
A captain only charter is exactly what it sounds like- a fully licensed and experienced captain is on board to take you safely to the destinations of your choice, and you get full use of all of the toys and amenities on board the yacht.
Why Choose a Featured Yacht?
Our Featured Yachts have been iYachtClub approved and vetted. Tested time after time, earning 5 star ratings from previous guests, these yachts were chosen because of the high quality of the vessels, the experience and hospitality of the crews, as well as the local itinerary knowledge of the captains. These friendly, discreet and courteous crews are dedicated to the needs and enjoyment of their guests. They deliver unparalleled Caribbean charter yacht vacations and create memories to last a lifetime.
Can We Choose Where We Want to Go and What We Want to Do?
Of course! Each vacation is catered to the group’s interests and preferences. Whether your group is more interested in barhopping, laying out on beaches, or finding secluded coves and never seeing another boat, the crew on board can work with you to make sure your every expectation is met and surpassed.
When and Where Do We Board the Boat and Disembark?
For the majority of charters you will board the boat at noon on the first day, and disembark at noon on the last day. The location of your pick-up and drop-off is typically coordinated with the crew of your yacht and can vary depending upon your point of arrival or ultimate destination.
What Are Gratuities and How Do We Pay the Gratuity?
A gratuity is essentially a tip or bonus given to the captain and crew based on your level of satisfaction with the service provided. A typical gratuity is 15-20% of the charter rate and is usually given to the captain at the end of the vacation.
What If Someone In Our Group Wants to Fish?
Depending on your destination there may be some requirements or restrictions on fishing. Please contact us prior to your charter so that we can ensure all proper licensing has been obtained.
What Happens If A Hurricane Comes Through?
Hurricane season runs from the start of June through November. In the event of a hurricane, the captain on-board will be taking the safety of the passengers very seriously. Most likely you will be put ashore because it will not be possible to stay aboard the yacht as the captain and crew will need to prepare the boat for the storm. If you need any assistance with hotel reservations or departing flights, you can always contact us at that time.
What About Trip Insurance?
Trip insurance is an elective additional cost to protect against trip interruption or cancellation. Please contact us for further details.
What Is All Inclusive Charters
With an all-inclusive charter, all of your meals, beverages, beer, wine and standard ship’s bar are included as well as all of the customs and mooring fees. There are no hidden fees – your charter rate pays for it all. Except for a crew gratuity at the end of your trip (typically 15 to 20% of the charter fee)
What Are Half-Board Charters
A great way to mix an all-inclusive crewed yacht charter with a chance to experience local culture and sample local cuisine is to do a Half Board Charter. Half-Board charters are so named because only half of your meals are provided on board with the rest to be obtained ashore. Typically boats give a discount of between $125 and $150 per person for a half board and provide all breakfasts, 4 lunches and 3 dinners. Half-Board discounts are usually only applicable for 7 night charters – but exceptions are sometimes made.
What Is Captain-Only Charters Mean?
For guests looking for a more hands-on approach to the charter experience the Captain Only charter is the way to go. This is a similar option to bareboating except the Captain (and often the mate, too) stay on board to sail the boat and act as guides. Nothing is included beyond the rate for the boat – guests are expected to provision themselves (or hire a provisioner) and pay for all of the running expenses of the boat: fuel, water, customs fees, etc.
How To Do Sport Fishing In The Caribbean?
When you think of fishing in the Caribbean what comes to mind? A sport fishing boat with a tuna tower, two fighting chairs and a giant billfish leaping into the air? A MahiMahi flashing its rainbow colors as it is reeled out of the water? Game fishing in the Caribbean is exciting and fun, but there is a big difference in the kind of fishing one can do from a sport-fishing boat, and the kind of fishing that can be enjoyed aboard a sailing yacht charter.
Crewed yacht charters offer a wide range of amenities and water sports for their guests to enjoy during a week-long all-inclusive Caribbean sailing vacation. But, unless you are chartering a large motor yacht that uses a 25 foot power boat as a water sports tender, the sort of game fishing you are envisioning will not be available on board.
What Is Rendezvous Fishing?
Fishing can be pre-arranged with a sport fishing boat. This is a convenient option because the guests who want to fish will be picked up from the charter yacht and boats come out to the charter yacht to pick up the guests for a day of fishing at the famed North Drop – an area about a mile off the Eastern end of St. Thomas where the deepest portion of the Puerto Rican Trench runs. Migrating schools of small fish gather in this area, and this attracts larger species such as Billfish, Tuna, Wahoo and Dolphin fish (Mahi-Mahi).
The weeks right before or after the full moon are considered to be the best time to catch fish here, but many local sport fisherman will agree that anytime you can fish the summer months from June to September you are likely to catch fish,. Marlin here average in the 300 pound range, although 500-pounders are not uncommon. St. Thomas even held the all-tackle world record for many years with a 1,282 lb Marlin caught in 1977 by Larry Martin.
What Does Inshore Fishing Involve?
The sort of fishing offered aboard a crewed yacht charter on a catamaran or sailboat is primarily light tackle trolling where a baited line is dropped off the back of the boat and trailed along while the boat is underway. Inshore game fish include Barracuda, Bonefish, Kingfish, Mackerel, Snook and Tarpon. Fly-fishing for Bonefish can be arranged with a guide in Leincester Bay, St. John and in the shallows around Anegada. But these fish are a bit trickier to catch as they hide around corals making for an easy snag of the hook and line.
Is Fishing Licenses Required To Fish In Caribbean
To fish in the BVI – where the majority of a Caribbean yacht charter’s itinerary takes place – a BVI fishing license is required. The BVI Fishing License Application can be filled out online and, with a color passport scan and $45, the license is easily obtained. Children (under 12 years old) do not need a fishing license.
Is Spearfishing Legal In BVI
Spearfishing is illegal in the BVI as well as the taking of any lobster or conch. In the USVI, as long as the boat is not in a National Park (St. John), then spearfishing is legal and lobster and conch can be taken in season.
Lionfish In Caribbean
An exception to the spearfishing ban in the BVI is made for Lionfish in an effort to combat this invasive predator that is threatening the local species. While these fish are very beautiful, they contain dangerous, venom in their spines and should not be handled. So, let your charter captain know if you see one. The meat of the Lionfish is considered to be excellent eating, so you could end up protecting the marine environment and enjoying a tasty dinner at the same time!
What All To Pack For A Caribbean Sailing Vacation
- Bathing Suits
- Light jacket or
- Sandals, flip flops,
- Ziplock bag of any medications and your preferred toiletries
- Camera – bring a GoPro if you have one for great underwater snorkel video. You will need a red filter to film underwater.
- Chargers for all of your electronics
- Seasickness medication (if you are prone)
- A great book or magazine
- Party pants (just checking if you are reading)
- If you plan to go ashore one night for some fine dining “island elegant” attire may be required. For Men: that is khaki shorts or pants and a button down shirt with loafers or boat shoes. For women it is a sundress, skirt or slacks and sandals. No high heels can be worn on board.
- Credit cards and ATM cards: there are many banks and ATM machines throughout your itinerary stops. You will need cash for taxi fares, and to pay the crew’s gratuity at the end of your charter.
What is Not Included in the Charter Rate?
What is included or not included can vary a little from yacht to yacht, but in general any food or beverages consumed off of the yacht are not included in the charter rate. Also not included are any fishing licenses, premium beverages, dockage fees should you elect to stay in a marina, rental equipment, and any souvenirs or on-shore excursions you elect to partake in.