Remember, you are visiting in a different land, with its own culture. If you find the local islanders gruff, try saying ‘Good Morning’ ‘Good Afternoon’ and ‘Good Evening’. A smile and polite greeting may seem old-fashioned to you, but here, they are still very much a part of everyday life here in the islands. Try it, you will very likely get a broad smile in return, and may make a new friend. Who knows, you might even start a trend when you get home!
In towns, the local islanders generally prefer you to be covered up. T-shirt and shorts are fine, shoes are often optional, but bikini tops are not appropriate in their eyes for city wear. Now, on the beach, that’s another story!
Passports are necessary to travel between the US and British Virgin Islands – they are two separate countries. In absolute worst case situations, a photo ID and Birth Certificate might get you through immigration both in the BVI and US immigration, but a current passport will ensure smooth sailing.
The 3 most popular cruising areas in the Caribbean are:
The Virgin Islands: U.S. & BVI
Leeward Islands: St Martin & St Barts to Antigua
Windward Islands: St Lucia to Grenadines
Generally your cruising would be contained within one of the island groups mentioned above.
To cruise other areas in the Caribbean is possible, but it will require more planning and usually cost, due to airfare, provisioning, etc. Check with your sales agent for more information.
The extremely consistent weather conditions in the Virgin Islands are one of the reasons this area is considered to be one of the best cruising grounds in the world!
The trade winds are nearly constant ranging from 10-25 knots, allowing for wonderful sailing. It also keeps it nice and pleasant for sunbathers! The water temperature ranges from 76 to 85.
First, only bring soft sided luggage since space is limited and storage is easier. Also hard luggage can damage woodwork and paint.
For clothing bring casual wear, mostly shorts and t-shirts, and swimsuits. A few of the more formal restaurants require long pants and collared shirts and occasionally a jacket, but “smart casual” is the norm.
You can bring your own mask and snorkel if you’re inclined, but all yachts carry an assortment of sizes. If you are expecting to scuba dive, check with your broker to make sure of the available equipment on board the yacht.
Most yachts carry sunscreen of the type they prefer used, so generally it is on board. If you bring your own, please don’t use oily lotions as it stains the yachts’ upholstery.
The menus are designed around your food preferences. The chefs are excellent and can usually prepare any dish requested.
Drinks such as wine, beer and alcohol are included as part of the “ships bar”. The amount and variety will vary depending on the cost of the charter with larger, more expensive yachts providing finer wines and premium liquors.
All yachts have waters ports and will vary depending on equipment. These might include snorkeling, Scuba Diving, kneeboarding, water-skiing, windsurfing, kayaks, fishing and, of course, sailing.
Most water sports are included but some are extra, and can be arranged by your crew. These would be diving and parasailing.
On shore activities can be recommended by your crew and will vary depending on the island.
The itinerary is based on your preferences of activities. The crew know the territory very well and will tailor the cruise to fit your requests. The Virgin Islands and the Caribbean offer a tremendous variety of bays, anchorages and towns to visit.
It isn’t possible to see everything in one visit, however, and you may need to adjust your itinerary to accommodate your schedule and activities you have chosen or return again in the future for another charter
The cost of crewed charters vary depending on the size of vessel, power or sail, number of people on board, etc. The duration of the charter is usually a week, but can be any length. Generally, all food, beverages and water activities are included. Diving is usually extra.
The price per person starts around $200-225 per day, based on a minimum of 4 people for an 8 day 7 night charter (Approximately $1400 per person per week). Motor yachts cost more than sail. Groups on larger yachts can often be less expensive per person than a couple on a small yacht. Yachts are available for parties of 2 or more. Large groups may prefer to charter more than 1 yacht and travel as a flotilla. This is very common, especially for corporate groups.
The summer season may be less expensive than winter in the Caribbean. Summer season is May 1st to December 14th. Winter season is December 15th to April 30th.
Xmas and New Years usually have an additional fee.
Dockage and shore excursions are extra.
Gratuities are the norm when the service merits it.
Remember that your crew work hard to ensure your vacation is a great one. They are your chef, bartender, tour guide, waiter and more!