ANSWERS to the FAQ’s

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FAQs about booking a Caribbean Charter yacht vacation. I hope that this is a guide to your next Caribbean Yacht Charter vacation. Moreover, please contact me with any questions you may have about chartering in the Caribbean and British Virgin Islands.

What’s included?

The rates quoted for most yachts cruising the Virgin Islands include a Captain, Chef, any additional crew if necessary, all meals, snacks, beverages, and a standard bar. On Down-Island charters, bar beverages are usually extra. For dietary requirements and special requests, personalized provisioning is available.

Generally, all of the yacht’s operational expenses such as fuel, water, and mooring fees are also included. All onboard watersport equipment is included; scuba diving is optional on some yachts. Each yacht sets it’s own policy as to the handling of cruising taxes. Dockage fees, special bar items, and meals ashore at restaurants are not included in the charter price.

How long does a typical charter last?

The typical length of a cruise is seven nights and 8 days, starting at noon the first day and ending at noon on the last day. Another option is combining a four night charter with a stay at one of the many beautiful Caribbean Villas or Resorts. On the other hand, you are more than welcome to extend your cruise to ten days or two weeks – the choice is yours.

How many guests do these yachts accommodate?

Most yachts can accommodate from two to six guests. There are a number of yachts that can accommodate eight guests, but very few can accommodate more than that. At busy times of the year and Holidays you’ll want to book the larger yachts more than 6 months out from your intended boarding date to have any selection to choose from. If your charter party consists of ten or more guests, it may be necessary to book more than one yacht.

Are there any yachts that book by the cabin?

Yes, the industry term for this type of charter is called a “Cabin Cruises”. These boats charter by the cabin and allow you to join other guests already booked on the yacht.

Are children welcome?

On most charter yachts children are welcome, but are required to be water-safe. A few charter yachts even offer special family packages at discounted rates. It must be mentioned that the crew cannot be expected to baby sit, but be assured, there are plenty of activities onboard to keep kids and parents happy!

What about diving?

The Caribbean features some of the most breathtaking diving venues in the world. On many yachts your Captain and crew will be able to guide you to the most wonderful diving sites. It should be noted that diving offered on most yachts is not included in the price of your charter.

On yachts that do not offer diving, the Captain can arrange a rendezvous with a local company to take you diving. This is an ideal arrangement if there are members of the party who do not wish to participate. The cost of these rendezvous dives are the responsibility of the charter guests.

A scuba diver with a record of health problems will be required to provide proof of approval from his physician.

What can I expect from the crew?

Chartering a crewed yacht is an “All Inclusive Package” managed by a professional Captain who assumes all operating responsibilities for the yacht and it’s maintenance, while a gourmet chef prepares and serves you exotic hors d’oeuvres, enticing tropical drinks and exceptional meals. This does not preclude you from taking the helm and getting involved in the operations of the yacht.

The crew will take care of your every need in a friendly and professional manner. As for your privacy, the crew knows when to be there and when not to be.

Do I have to know how to sail?

One of the benefits of booking a crewed charter is that the Captain does all the work! If you wish to take the helm, the Captain and crew will be there to guide you every step of the way. There are also cruises that specialize in sailing instruction.

Will I be able to set the itinerary?

Your Captain and crew will be more than happy to help you chart a memorable course. In addition to meeting your requests, your crew will also be able to fill you in on the best beaches, cays, dive sites, and beach bars in the territory.

What about gratuities?

Gratuities are not included in the cost of the charter. The norm is 15%-20% based on performance, of course. Remember: besides being your host they are also your guide, cook, dishwasher, maid, chauffeur, bartender, waitress, concierge, and much more. It is not uncommon to find that by the end of the cruise you also will become very good friends.

Most yachts accept Cash, Personal Checks, PayPal or Credit Cards. You’ll need to inquire and confirm this with your Captain.  It is recommended that a gratuity paid with Cash or Personal Check be placed in an envelope and given to the Captain upon departing the vessel.

How do I reserve my charter?

During the peak seasons, it is not unusual to find that many yachts are booked as much as six months in advance. Confirmation of a given yacht for specified dates can only be done when we have your deposit and a signed Charter Agreement in hand.

Contacting more than one broker to shop for a yacht can only be time-consuming and confusing since all brokers can offer you the same yachts.

Charter rates are set and published by the yacht owners, so there is no price advantage to be found. It’s more important to make sure the broker you are working with knows exactly what your desires are in regard to budget constraints, accommodations, degree of luxury, interests, and time frame. The more information you provide the better the list of recommended yachts you’ll receive.

The broker you select should also respond in a timely manner with a selection of recommended yachts that he has personally inspected, along with meeting their crews.

Charter the Caribbean annually attends charter yacht shows to keep abreast of the yachts and crews available. It’s our goal to make every effort to serve you in finding a yacht that meets your budget constraints, time frame, accommodation requirements, degree of luxury expectations, and personal interests.

When will you need my deposit and final payment?

A 25% deposit is required to reserve a yacht if the deposit is made more than six months before departure. Any deposit made within six months of your charter date requires a 50% deposit to reserve a yacht. The balance is due on the date outlined in your contract, which is normally 45 days prior to departure.

Do you accept credit cards?

As a convenience, Charter the Caribbean accepts VISA and MasterCard charges for all deposits and final payments. Should a VISA or MasterCard be used for payment, a 4% convenience charge will be assessed on the amount charged.

Due to the stringent cancellation policies of the charter industry, Charter the Caribbean will only accept VISA or MasterCard charges for deposits and final payment with a signed Credit Card Authorization.

Should I purchase travel insurance?

If the charter is canceled by the guest for any reason, it is understood that the deposit will be refunded only if the yacht is re-booked in relation to the original charter dates, less 15% – 25% depending on how your contract reads. We highly recommend that you purchase  Travel Insurance to safeguard your investment.

What forms of ID will I need for the trip?

A passport is the principal requirement for entry into the Islands of the Caribbean for all US citizens, including children, and citizens of all other countries, entering or reentering the United States, including Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, via air or sea transport.

Also note that any Passport that is six months from expiring will not be honored. To save yourself some trouble please make sure your Passports are up to date. For those that do not have a Passport, now is the time to apply. It can take up to 8 week to process an application, and the closer we get to the deadline the longer it will take to get an application processed.

What should I pack?

Storage space is limited onboard many yachts. A duffle bag and/or soft luggage are compact and easy to manage. PLEASE DO NOT BRING HARD SIDED LUGGAGE!  T-shirt and shorts are all you really need. A few necessities include: plenty of film, toiletries, non-staining sunscreen, two swimsuits, soft-soled shoes, a long sleeve T-shirt, a light windbreaker, a wide brimmed hat or visor, and light clothing for daytime.

If you plan to go ashore at night, it is recommended that you bring along semi-formal evening wear for some of the upscale hotels and restaurants. Please wear proper attire (no bare chests or midriffs) in residential or commercial areas.

What about smoking regulations?

Non-smoking yachts are available by request. For your safety, as well as that of the crew, smoking is not allowed below deck. If you must smoke, check with your captain before lighting up. Usually the aft deck is where smoking is allowed.

What is the policy regarding drug use? | FAQ

Non-prescription drug use will not be tolerated for any reason! The possession, sale, use or distribution of illegal drugs constitutes a criminal offense. This is punishable by law and will automatically terminate your charter.

Would you like to get married on the high seas? | FAQ

If you want to marry in the British Virgin Islands, Charter the Caribbean can help you with the details. Additionally, for more information regarding requirements for getting married in the Territory, contact:

Registrar’s Office, Box 418, Road Town, Tortola, B.V.I; or phone (284) 494-3701.

So if you have more FAQs about booking a Caribbean charter yacht vacation, then let me know.

For more information, contact Dennis at Charter the Caribbean at 317-745-1990 or email