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Yacht Charter Vacations

By Yacht Charters Guru

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Everything You'll Ask, But Haven't Thought Of!

Over the course of chartering the islands as Captain & Chef for nearly two decades, we've been asked every question imaginable! Below is some helpful advice. If you haven’t been on a sailing trip in the past, please repeat after me: "I WILL Pack Light, I WILL Pack Light, I PROMISE!" We can’t stress this enough. 

Consider the idea of not checking any luggage. Please use soft-sided, collapsible luggage such as a duffle bag or a small rolling bag that will fit in the overhead compartment on the plane. Remember, you can take 2 personal items on the plane. A backpack & small carry-on will take care of everything you need to pack. On board, you'll be in bathing suits & cover-ups by day, shorts & t-shirts at night.  You might want a lightweight, long-sleeved shirt or windbreaker for cooler evenings. Most yachts require you to be barefoot while onboard.  Bring a comfortable pair of sandals or walking shoes for excursions ashore, something that’s easy to slip on and off. 

Now! Whatever you have packed, halve it. Then halve it again!  2-3 swim suits are great to have (so you always have a dry one to change into), a beach cover up or sun dress, 3 pairs of shorts (or capris), a few tees or lightweight shirts, sandals, and you’re good to go.  We wear one pair of sandals on the plane and take another easy-on, easy-off pair of flip-flops for going ashore. You might want to consider bringing a UV swim shirt to protect against the tropical sun while swimming and snorkeling. We like to use them so that we don’t always have to be covered with sticky sunscreen! 

Your Packing List:
5 Pairs of Shorts
5 T-shirts
2-3 Swimsuits
1-2 Pair of Sandals that you don't mind getting wet
Ladies: 1 casual sundress/ Men: 1 button down shirt and dress shorts
Small amounts of toiletry items, medications, spare sunglasses and passport

Other Typical Questions: 

Should We Dine Out?

Yes! Now don't worry. The cuisine on board the yacht is excellent and included. The Chef has planned for your every need, your every snack, your every beverage and certainly, your every meal. The reason to dine out or visit the beach bars is to explore and enjoy the unique ambiance of the islands. A relaxed lunch at the new, luxurious Scrub Island Resort, a pina colada lunch with a view at the Baths, or a barefoot-on-the beach dinner at Foxy's famous buffet & dancing on Friday & Saturday nights hold the promise of fun Caribbean memories that you will cherish. If you choose to dine out, yes-you pay the bill; but it will be worth it. Most guests find that one lunch and one dinner ashore provide variation to the week that's very enjoyable. You might invite the crew, it would be a special treat; but it is not expected. The point is that you enjoy and experience the flavors of the islands.

Does the British Virgin Islands Accept U.S. Currency?

Yes, the BVIs accept U.S. dollars, traveler's checks and credit cards in most places. BUT! ATM machines and banks are not located on every island. Please bring a sufficient amount of cash for the week. Banking conveniences in the islands are not as easily available as they are stateside. Visa is the preferred credit card at bars and restaurants. American Express is accepted at a few places. 

What Other Expenses Should We Expect?

It's always hard to guess how much cash to bring. You will need cash for transfers to and from the airport or ferry. Cabs in the islands are not always a bargain. You may be grouped with other riders and take a circuitous route. Even so, $8-$10 or more per person for each cab ride can put a dent in your cash quickly. Other adventures ashore are at your discretion. Some places may accept credit cards, some not. There are a few ways to incur extra charges on your yacht. They include special requests for food or beverages, spa services, requests for overnight dockage in marinas, and additional costs for rendezvous scuba diving. 

Gratuity

It is customary to tip your crew at the end of your charter. The amount is totally at your discretion. The suggested industry standard rate is 15-20% of the total charter cost. We would like to note that the majority of our charters in the past tipped 18%-20%. Tips were our main salary and we worked hard to earn them. The amount you leave should be based on the level of service you receive, much like a restaurant.  If your charter did not meet expectations, you would leave less. If it far exceeds your expectations, your crew won’t say no to more.  And while it is a lovely gesture, taking the Crew out to eat or buying them drinks should not be considered part of the gratuity.  (Giving your Chef a night off and/ or having lunch ashore is always appreciated.  Your Crew knows all the best places to dine on shore and will make recommendations to meet any budget).

Can I make a phone call or access the internet from the yacht?

Bring your cell phone. With new digital roaming services offered by AT&T, Sprint & Verizon, all stateside cellular phones will receive & make phone calls in the British Virgin Islands. Note~AT&T works best in the USVI & BVI for receiving 4G & LTE non-roaming signals almost all the way up the channel in the BVI because of stray signals from the towers in St. John. Check with your carrier for roaming rates. If you have an smartphone, you'll be able to check your email for FREE at the hot spots ashore. Do try to unplug yourself from your life and enjoy a bit of peace of mind. You'll want to bring your iPads or Kindles for reading as well as internet. Skip bringing the laptop unless you just have to have it with you. 

Is the water safe to drink?

Yes, your yacht will provide plenty of safe-to-drink water from the yacht as well as bottled water. Most yachts have reverse osmosis filtration system that will supply water during your vacation. Our islands are truly struggling with the lack of local recycling facilities for plastic bottles. Yachts in both the U.S. Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands are now asking their guests to bring along a personal water bottle if they choose.  The decision is yours; but we would appreciate your help in making our islands future greener! 

Do I need to bring sunscreen, beach towels, shampoo or hairdryers? 

The yachts typically provide all of the above. If you want to bring a travel-sized version of your own, please do so. We highly recommend Coppertone Sport Ultra Sweatproof SPF 30 or Neutrogena sunscreen. They are some of the very best.   No spray-on sunscreens please. The wind causes overspray that will damage the glossy varnish on teak and will melt the clear vinyl glass on the bimini. We have plenty of beach towels, floats, quality snorkeling equipment, etc. A hair dryer along will plenty of shampoo & conditioner is available.

Can I bring my iPod, CD's and videos?

Yes! Feel free to bring any of your favorite tunes or movies! Most yachts have an extensive iPod music library with lots of songs; but it is always fun to listen to something new. They usually can play music on their stereo systems from your iPhone, iPad and iPod. Also, you will probably find many of today's most popular books on board to read while relaxing on the deck.  Don’t pack a  lot of heavy books because everyone has plenty to read and share! You'll typically find regular 110V outlets for recharging all your devices.

Will There be Games On Board the Yacht?

Most likely! We always had Cranium, Yahtzee, Mancala, Apples to Apples, Dominos, Bingo, Checkers, Backgammon, Left, Right, Center, Rook and lots of decks of cards onboard. *Note: Watch out! Many a crewed yacht Captain is just like Capt. Randy... a “card shark”!

Can We Go Fishing?

For every person 18 and older who wishes to fish from the yacht, you will need a BVI Fishing License. These need to be purchased in advance. Check before you apply as many yachts do have a yearly license. The cost to register is $60 per person for Last Stop Sports to do the legwork and have them ready for your arrival. Kindly let us or your Captain know if you purchase fishing licenses online & will be bringing gear. 

Island Etiquette: 

Want to make friends quickly with the locals and be immediately respected? A very important rule is to remember to greet the islanders with a "Good Morning", "Good Afternoon" or "Good Evening." A smile and a polite greeting is very much a part of everyday island life. Try it! The shop owners will bend over backwards to assist you! In town, the West Indians generally prefer that you wear a cover-up over your bathing suit. Casual T-shirts and shorts are fine, shoes are optional. 

Do I Need Travel Insurance? 

A standard trip-cancellation or interruption insurance policy covers the nonrefundable financial penalties or losses you incur when you cancel a prepaid tour or flight for an acceptable reason, such as:

  • You, your travel partner, or a family member cannot travel because of sickness, death, layoff, or a list of other acceptable reasons;
  • A family member at home gets sick (check the fine print to see how a family member’s pre-existing condition might affect coverage).
  • You miss a flight or need an emergency flight for a reason outside your control (such as a car accident, inclement weather, or a strike).

So, if you or your travel partner accidentally ends up in the hospital a few days before your trip, you can both bail out (if you both have this insurance) without losing all the money you paid for the trip. Or, if you’re on a tour and have an accident on your first day, you’ll be reimbursed for the portion of the tour you weren’t able to use. Click on the Travel Guard Banner below for a free quote. 

Contact Us!

1-800-859-0042

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What Type of Yacht Do You Want to Charter?
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