What to Expect on a Crewed Yacht Charter Vacation
The Ultimate Guide for New Charterers!
You've been exploring the idea of chartering a catamaran, monohull, or motor yacht for a sailing vacation, but how in the world do you choose the right private crewed charter yacht for your trip? What should you expect? Here are a few thoughts:
For 18 years, we owned/operated & lived aboard a 72' charter monohull based in the U.S. Virgin Islands. This type of charter yacht is excellent if you want the real thrill of traditional sailing & the feel of the yacht heeling in the wind. Since we became CYBA yacht charter brokers 5 years ago, we have had the opportunity to spend more time on different types of yachts. We've discovered that we really love catamarans too! Whether it's a sailing catamaran or power catamaran, we enjoy the abundance of living "space" available on this style of yacht. From luxurious to budget, all prices & sizes of crewed yachts are available!
See the layout below of this new 80' catamaran with 5 cabins. Zoom in and notice that each cabin has its own private ensuite bathroom with personal amenities, as well as closets for storing your soft-sided luggage, air-conditioning with your own controls, and all the linens, towels & blankets you'll need.
This yacht has the space to host up to 10 guests onboard. Guests can choose from the two VIP Queen cabins amidships, two double Queen cabins forward, and one Twin (convertible to a Queen) cabin starboard to the aft. The spaciousness of the cabins and ensuites allows more comfort for longer stays - hence further enjoyment!
2 x VIP mid-ships double cabins with ensuite and enclosed showers
2 x Forward double cabins with ensuite and enclosed showers
1 x Twin bed cabin (convertible) Starboard aft with ensuite and enclosed shower
Features: All luxury cabins include leather top bedside tables, 120V international & 110V power sockets, USB charging sockets, plush carpets, retractable blinds for hull windows. The decor of the ensuite cabins is all-white throughout and features pearl white mosaic tiles and large Hamptons mirrors. The yacht also offers a Williams 505 diesel jet tender for up to 10 guests.
Water Toys: 2x solid SUP boards / 2x Seabobs / 1x efoil Lyft board
Selections of fishing gear
Selection of snorkel gear
Fishing Gear: basic light tackle, big rig fishing trolling gear, offshore trolling gear
Your Chef aboard the yacht will take care of all your food/beverage requests with a preference sheet that you submit before your charter begins. You'll be delighted to discover how many incredibly beautiful meals and menus will be created to your specific desires via a well-stocked and professionally equipped galley.
Catamarans have been wildly popular because they offer the advantage of a stable platform where you can sail and not have to worry about heeling over too far or being seasick. We absolutely love having the flybridge, which adds a 3rd level of living space and 360-degree views. It's our favorite spot aboard the yacht! We feel catamarans offer the best living spaces overall for the price of a charter vs a monohull or motor yacht.
What if I am on a Budget?
No problem! We're happy to work within any type of budget. Watch this video tour of 50' 2020 Leopard Catamaran Southern Charm with its owner & operator Crew. It accommodates up to 6 guests in 3 cabins & is reasonably priced with all the water toys!
Is there Affordable Motor Yacht for Charter in the Virgin Islands? Yes! Check out our personal video tour of owner/operator Motor Yacht McGregor III. Scuba Diving available!
What Should You Expect from a Crewed Yacht Charter? As one longtime crew member said, "It's all about you, ALL the time" onboard a privately crewed charter boat! It's surprisingly affordable too! Far away from overcrowded cruise ships, all-inclusive charter yachts allow you to explore some of the Caribbean’s most exclusive areas and delight in the natural, unspoiled beauty of secluded islands, hidden coves, and secret dive sites. Sail to a nearby island every day & snorkel around your own private beaches; enjoy your favorite cocktail while watching the sunset on your own private yacht; indulge yourself with 5-star gourmet cuisine that is prepared with Caribbean flair and served in the most beautiful surroundings you could ever imagine.
QUESTIONS & FAQs:
What is Being on a Charter Yacht Like?
In planning for your first private yacht charter trip, you realize that you don’t know what to expect. As it turns out, nothing can really prepare you for it a trip like this, not even the sailing song by Christopher Cross; because it is almost too good to be true. Every morning you wake up feeling better rested than you have in forever, smelling the aroma of a delicious breakfast prepared by an accomplished Chef, anchored in waters that seem too beautiful for mere mortals. After that, guess what happens? Someone else cleans up! You eat and drink as much as you want, stand up, go down to your cabin, change into your swimsuit (unless you were already wearing it as most do), apply sunscreen, and spend the rest of your morning doing whatever your heart pleases. Maybe it’s sitting on the deck enjoying the breeze and the second cup of coffee or a mimosa. Maybe it’s helping the crew prepare the boat for sailing. Or maybe you'll enjoy a quick snorkel or swim in the ocean, checking in with the friendly turtle you met yesterday, seeing what he’s up to this fine morning.
Embarking on a weeklong privately crewed yacht charter cruise that will take you to places you could not visit on a land-based vacation. Each day you’ll sail for an hour or two after breakfast and again after lunch. You will visit different islands every day ending with cocktails and dinner in quiet bays where the yacht will moor overnight.
Whatever it is, it isn’t dealing with the hassles of a bareboat, where you’re responsible for everything, from sailing to provisioning to clearing customs to repair and maintenance. On a crewed charter, you simply show up with your soft duffel full of swimsuits and shorts, your passport, your camera, and a mindset of leisure & fun. Everything is taken care of. If you want to participate in the sailing itself, your Captain is happy to let you hoist the sails, take the helm, set the anchor, gybe, you name it. Or you might prefer to watch the action from the front of the yacht with a drink in your hand, silently critiquing, soaking it all in.
If you enjoy snorkeling, I can guarantee that you’ll find yourself chasing after a sea turtle, grinning like a maniac behind your snorkel and thinking “That turtle is my best friend!”
This is the kind of slap-happy thinking that occurs when you’re hundreds of miles from home, sailing on a luxury catamaran in the so-blue-it-can’t-possibly-be-real waters of the Caribbean. As your charter vacation progresses, you’ll realize that this kind of experience is unlike the many other vacations of the past…and oh so much better!
Are Privately Crewed Yachts Safe?
If you are worried about pirates, remove that worry from your mind. If you are worried about traveling during these times of covid, the yachts we represent have enhanced their current sanitation and hygiene regimes and have set new protocols into place to ensure health and safety, both for charter guests and for their crews. Charter yachts are a portal to meaningful adventures for you and those you love. This private adventure protects you in a contained bubble of fun and resulting in beautiful memories that will last a lifetime.
How Do I Pack?
Your plans for packing should be kept very simple. You certainly can include anything you desire for your enjoyment of your charter. Through experience, we can offer many tips that will help you have fun without having to tote several tons of extra stuff. If possible, consider the idea of not checking any luggage. Limit your luggage to carry-on capacity. (The bonus is you won’t have to worry about lost luggage!) Please use 2 soft-sided carry-on collapsible bags such as a backpack or small duffle bag and a small rolling bag that will fit in the overhead compartment on the plane. Voila! No lost luggage!
Packing light is super easy, especially since the islands are very informal. Pack your passport, 2 bathing suits, 5 t-shirts, 5 pairs of shorts, flip flops that you don’t mind getting wet (we particularly like flip flops because they are easy to slip on & off, easy to store in the dinghy for shore excursions and are easy to clean), medications and you’re done! A note on shoes: Street shoes are not worn on board. A pair of sneakers is optional if you are interested in hiking.
What Other Expenses Should We Expect?
It’s always hard to guess how much hard cash to bring. You’re certain to need cash for transfers to and from the airport – and cabs in the islands are not always a bargain. Even so, $10-$20 or more per person for each cab ride can put a dent in your cash quickly.
Can I Make a Phone Call or Access the Internet from the Yacht?
Yes. You can also bring your cell phone. With new digital roaming services cell phone companies, your phone will receive & make phone calls. Check with your carrier for roaming rates. 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 the 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 produced via reverse osmosis as well as bottled water. The islands struggle with the lack of local recycling facilities for plastic bottles. Yachts are now asking their guests to bring along a personal water bottle if they choose or they will provide one for you as a souvenir. The decision is yours, but everyone appreciates your help in making our island's future greener!
Do I need to Bring Sunscreen, Beach towels, Shampoo, or Hairdryers?
The yachts typically provide all of the above. The sun is fierce and commands respect. Megafactor sunscreens are a must. There will be plenty of beach towels, floats, quality snorkeling equipment, etc.
Can I Bring my Music & Videos?
Yes! Feel free to bring any of your favorite tunes or movies! There's always an extensive music & movie library onboard the yachts. Don’t pack a lot of heavy books because everyone has plenty to read and share! Also, there will be regular 110V outlets in your cabins for recharging all your devices.
What if I am Worried about Getting Seasick?
In 18 years of chartering and over 300 charters, we’ve had 5 (FIVE) people who were really, truly seasick. We think that’s amazing considering the number of charters that we’ve done! Seasickness is actually less likely to occur on a catamaran or sailboat of any kind since there is no noxious smell of diesel fuel or the roll (side to side) and pitch (fore and aft rise and fall) of a motor yacht. The yacht literally slices through the water with the wind and waves, for a more natural sensation of movement. That, combined with a few preventive measures, can help keep seasickness at bay. A good night’s sleep and avoiding alcohol before your sailing trip will help. Over the counter remedies such as motion sickness acupressure bands are very helpful as well as Bonine or Dramamine. Ask your doctor about scopolamine patches via prescription if you are prone to getting seasick.
Should We Tip the crew?
Yes. We’re confident that your crew will exceed your expectations. During your stay aboard, you will realize that your crew is more than hardworking, more than just personable, more than professional. Their only additional benefit from the exceptional service they provide is the gratuity you leave, typically an industry-standard 15-20% of the total charter fee. 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. A tip is generally distributed equally amongst the crew, by the Captain. I suggest simply taking a personal check with you, filling it out at the end of the week based on your experience, and tucking it into a nice card.
Again, it's entirely up to you and your experience. We'll send you a quick questionnaire after the charter to gain feedback and insight. Most crews are hired, not owner/operators like we were during our tenure. They rely on gratuities in much the same way. It's always a sticky subject, but it's better to be educated about how the charter industry works than not.
Where Will We Sail? Is There an Itinerary?
You'll discuss your itinerary with your Captain when he calls the week before you arrive. Then you'll discuss it with the entire group on the first day of your charter. Every Captain has his own favorite anchorages at each island. You'll have the freedom to be spontaneous and plan your trip from day-to-day.
Should We Dine Out?
Yes! Now don't worry. The cuisine onboard 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. When you choose to dine out, yes you will 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.
Are the Crews Licensed? Yes! All the crews we represent are professionally licensed and are required to continue their education in order to hold their certifications.
We represent professional yacht charter Crews who show a real passion for teaching their guests about yachting as well as having that inner knowledge of when to do things before the client knows that they have a need. We know the ins & outs of the charter yacht industry & the people who live and work there. That's what makes us an official Caribbean "Charter Guru"! Below are some questions that we like to ask the Crews when we interview them for you:
1. Is the Crew Inspired? 2. What are the three biggest assets of a particular crewed charter yacht? 3. Does the yacht have a favorite type of charter? Several couples, one couple, or families? 4. What percentage of a yacht's charters are repeat guests? 5. What are the Crews' main interests and strengths?
Does the Yacht Charter Crew Have "It"? Charter crews have their own interests and specialties. Great crews love taking care of people. It's literally in their DNA. Working together as a team takes practice and a love for the job. We look for Crews on yachts who are still willing to learn & grow! If they are at a point in their professional charter career that they are enjoying established, repeat clients who enjoy their yacht, then they have a great track record that makes us comfortable recommending them to you for your special sailing vacation. Are you looking for a reserved yacht charter crew, or those who are ready to stay up late & party? We'll help guide you!
Meet the Crew of Catamaran Black Tortuga!
BLACK TORTUGA 47' (2018 Fountaine Pajot Catamaran)
Sleeps 8 Guests in 4 Queen(s)
5 General Yacht Questions We Typically Ask When Interviewing a Crew & Yacht: It's very different seeing a charter catamaran, sailboat, or motor yacht in real life vs viewing it on the Internet. Our job is to regularly interview the yacht charter crews in the Virgin Islands. We familiarize ourselves with each yacht by stepping on board and getting a "feel" for the overall atmosphere. One of the first things we determine is whether the crew is open & friendly, or more reserved. Are they willing to get into the water with you & your kids and be enthusiastic about teaching newbies how to snorkel or dive for the first time? Can they handle your special dietary needs?
Then we take a very close inspection of the safety of the yacht such as rigging and the condition of the decks. On the interior, we inspect the condition of all the soft goods such as linens and carpets, the overall decor of the yacht as well as cleanliness. You expect your hotel room to be spotless and should expect your luxury charter yacht to be as well.
What is Included?
For charter bookings in the Caribbean, all meals (breakfast, lunch, appetizers, dinner, snacks & desserts) normal & customary bar, fuel, cruising fees, customs & moorings fees are included in the rates. Charter bookings in the Mediterranean charge a base rate for the week you want to charter and then add an "Advance Provisioning Allowance" or APA to cover your food/beverages/fuel. Airfare, transfers to/from the yacht from the airport, and crew gratuities of 15-20% of the charter fee are not included. We've flown back and forth so many times over the past 30 years, that we easily can help you find the best airfare.
If your charter dates are more than 6 months from today, the yacht will require a 25% deposit and a signed CYBA boilerplate industry-standard contract to confirm and book your charter. The second 25% will be due 6 months before the charter begins and the final 50% will be due 45 days prior to the charter. We’ve worked directly with the management companies and are completely confident in them as well as these yachts. Ten days before your charter begins, they will release half the funds to the yacht to provision and fuel. The second half will be released on the day you board the yacht.
How Far In Advance Should You Book?
We're already booking charters in 2022. Many clients will book 12-18 months in advance in order to get the yacht that they want. Popular yachts book quickly, especially for the holidays! If you can travel last-minute, then you might want to inquire about current deals available.
About Us-Capt. Randy & Shelly Tucker:
We do not sell yachts like many other agencies so there is no conflict or distraction in our focus for your yacht charter.
Our service is free to you. We travel extensively to boat shows and yacht charter shows year-round to personally view and inspect as many of the yachts.
6 Reasons Why We are Qualified:
1. As Members of the Charter Yacht Brokers Association and the Virgin Islands Professional Charter Yacht League, we maintain contact with the yachts to keep abreast of the very latest information on crew/yacht conditions and new yachts entering the arena.
2. We stay on top of local and Federal Government to keep informed about changes in our industry, as well as involving ourselves with the changes in the environment in which we offer charters.
3 We engage in open dialogue with local publications to help keep the government and the public aware of this important industry in our islands.
4. We attend multiple charter yacht industry shows in the Caribbean and Mediterranean, go aboard each of the yachts, meet the crews, attend association meetings and seminars. We'll happily share our notes about changes to the boats and crews and confirm any newly added features and upgrades as well as re-fits to the boat’s decor like new carpets, interior and exterior soft goods & fun new water-toys.
5. As a seasoned charter yacht Owner & Crew, we have access to the "inner circle" and know all the insider facts.
6. We've developed a longtime friendship with vendors of services such as local taxi drivers, ferry companies, good places to stay on land, great restaurants, and much more.
Yacht charters and yacht details displayed on the Yacht Charter Guru website are displayed in good faith and while believed to be correct are not guaranteed. All information is subject to change without notice. Yacht Charter Guru will confirm each charter individually. Starting prices are shown in $USD for a one-week charter unless otherwise marked. Exact pricing & other relevant information with regards to technical specifications of the catamarans including amenities will be confirmed upon request. Please contact us for any additional information which you may have in this respect. Yacht Charter Guru may contain links to other sites. Such materials are not under our control. Yacht Charter Guru has gathered all information from boat charter companies, owners, brokers, and their respective partners. Contents are subject to change without notice and without warranty.