you go ..
.... Some tips from the Virgin Islands Captains to help make your
Adventure in Paradise one you want to last forever.
Anyone about to embark on a crewed charter in the Virgin Islands
will soon see why this is such a great way to get away from it all.
Here is possibly the only vacation where you can get away from the
crowds and still be in touch with the in-crowd! Below are some suggestions
from "seasoned salts" Captains who can guide you to a
smoother adventure. Please share this information with everyone
in your charter party.
Life in the Virgin Islands is laid back -- and that's part of the
pleasure! The idea is to relax and not let inconveniences upset
you. For example, if you fly to St. Thomas or Tortola via San Jan,
Puerto Rico, your luggage may not arrive on the same shuttle flight
because of weight considerations on the aircraft. Carry valuables,
toiletries, medication, and a swimsuit in your carry-on luggage.
Your checked bags will arrive eventually. We mention this because
it may happen, but this is an unusual situation, I always expect
my language to arrive with me and it has always done so.
As to where the yacht will await you, be sure you know before leaving
home. On St. Thomas, it's likely to be at Yacht Haven Marina in
Charlotte Amalie, or Red Hook. On Tortola, yachts normally board
guests at Village Cay (pronounced "Key") Marina in Road
Town. But Barrington-Hall like the captains to meet you at the airport
when you arrive. On both islands, taxi drivers are familiar with
locations -- and rates are posted at the airports ($6-$7 per person.)
time is no earlier than "noon" of the day your charter
starts unless you have made other arrangements. Quite often the
yacht has guests on board until noon the previous day and needs
every moment to have everything "ship-shape" for your
A passport, voter's registration card w/picture I.D., or birth
certificate w/picture I.D. is required for travel in the British
Virgin Islands. Without proper identification, your captain will
have trouble clearing you into foreign ports and perhaps even more
trouble getting you back to the U.S. A passport is the best way
Space is limited on a boat, so bring soft-sided luggage or duffel
bags, which can stow easily. T-shirts and shorts are the usual uniform
of the day when you're not in swimwear. Shoes are not allowed on
board but comfortable soft-soled sandals or sneakers may be appropriate
for the vessels, you do need flip-flops, or sneakers for the shore.
If you plan on trying the Resort SCUBA Course, you may want water
shoes (such as Tevas). Evening dress is about as casual as daytime
dress, but if you go to an elegant dining spot, long pants with
a collared shirt are required for men, and dresses for the ladies.
Bring more than one bathing suit, as you're likely to spend more
time in them than anything else.
The tropical sun can be very damaging to skin, so don't forget
sunscreen. A few brands such as Pre-Sun and Bain de Soleil are very
damaging to the yachts finishes (decks) and are not allowed on board
as well as any Sun Tan Oil. Despite precautions, you may develop
a painful burn, so bring something light and comfortable to wear
as a cover-up, plus a wide-brimmed hat or visor. A light sweatshirt
may come in handy for evenings that seem cool after a long day in
the sun. You needn't pack bulky towels or hair dryers, as these
will be available on the yacht. Two towels are provided to each
person and these are change for new ones halfway through your week,
so is the linen.
Bring your camera and plenty of film, and an extra pair of glasses
or contacts if your wear them. We find that the throwaway weekend
cameras for underwater use are excellent all round. Also, any medications
you require, plus antihistamines for any allergic reaction you may
develop from unexpected encounters with sea urchins, fire coral,
or jellyfish. (If you watch where you're swimming and snorkeling,
this isn't likely to be a problem, but remember: Don't put your
hands or your feet where you can't see them.) It is most unlikely
that this would occur, but it is covered none the less.
You may also want to bring your favorite CD's and DVD's, a good
book or two, and anything else that adds to the pleasure of taking
life easy. Do not, however, bring illicit drugs. Your Captain has
too much to lose to permit their use on the yacht and can terminate
the charter without refund if you bring them aboard.
If you need to keep in touch with "the real world", the
yacht can be reached on VHF Radio via the Marine Operator at (340)
774-0444 and giving the name of the yacht. If the call is missed,
a message can be left with the operator. A list of yachts with messages
is read every hour on the hour.
A message can also be left with our major agent Barrington-Hall
Corporation at 800-478-2029 and 954-720-0475.
You can also set up your own cellular phone account using the on
board cellular phone or bringing your own from home. You can pre-register
for an account and receive your own incoming number by contacting
CCT Boat phone at www.bvicellular.com or calling (284) 494-3825.
You will have received a 5-page food preference sheet to be filled
in completely with regard to all members of your party and sent
back in advance of your charter. The chef will plan meals based
on the information you provide, including any strong dislikes or
allergies you indicate. Please note everyone eats the same entree
when possible. The yacht stocks a selection of House International
Wines and standard bar included in the charter fee. Champagne, requested
wines, and premium liquors can be put aboard at cost upon request
(please specify brand and quantities).
to know you....
When you first come aboard, the captain will explain some dos and
don'ts and ask about your special interests for the cruise. This
is when you itinerary is worked out, but you can change your itinerary
at anytime as well. Remember, though, the Captain is responsible
for the yacht and those aboard and everyone's safety, so he has
the final word in all decisions.
Your captain will be happy to arrange for activities on shore,
including recreational sports and dining out. Such excursions are,
of course, at your own expense and will not be deducted from your
charter fee. If you invite your crew to join you for dinner ashore
as your guests, they will be delighted to do so. But if you prefer
to dine out without them, they will not be slighted in the least.
Your captain and mate may be a married couple or working partners.
They may own the yacht or operate it for someone else. In any case,
you are guests in their "home". You'll savor your own
"quiet time" staring up at the starry night sky or reading
a good book. The crew will appreciate being allowed such times,
too -- after all, they will probably be the first ones up in the
morning and the last ones to bed at night, working hard to please
If you come to think of the crew as friends (and you probably will),
tipping may seem awkward at the charter's end. But tips may constitute
a major part of their working capital. So if you've enjoyed their
efforts, they'll appreciate your letting them know in this way.
Most guests are comfortable with a tip of 10 to 15 percent of the
charter fee, but the decision, of course, is up to you. Putting
your gratuity in an envelope with a note of thanks is a nice way
to avoid any awkwardness.
it out.... Here's a list to check off your preparations to help
ensure a carefree cruise:
- Food and beverage preference sheet filled in and returned ahead
- Passport or required I.D. for each member of party
- Soft luggage or duffel bags
- adequate sun protection (lotion, hat or visor, sunglasses),
no suntan oil
- Extra pair of sun glasses or contact lenses for those who wear
- Regular medications, antihistamines
- Camera, plenty of film
- Travelers checks or cash for shopping, dining ashore, dockage
at your request, other shore expenses, and crew gratuity. Most
gift shops and restaurants accept credit cards.
- Eager anticipation of a memorable "Adventure in Paradise"