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 luggage 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.)
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 to go.
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 changed for new ones halfway through your
week, so is the linen.
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).
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 your itinerary is worked out, but you can change your itinerary at any time 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 you.
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.
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