about crewed yacht charters
What is a crewed yacht charter?
A crewed yacht charter is a vacation aboard a yacht with a resident crew who typically consist of a skipper and chef/hostess. The crew will delight in showing you the beauty of the British Virgin Islands sailing from one island to the other, from one deserted beach to another swimming in clear, warm waters and dining on gourmet meals. A crewed yacht offers a wide selection of amenities for guests' use including a whole host of watertoys, snorkel gear, entertainment systems as well as books & games for those quieter moments. All meals are included in the all-inclusive rates.
What is the difference between a crewed yacht charter and a bareboat charter with crew?
A crewed yacht charter is more luxurious and has all the amenities and water toys onboard. The crew live on the yacht and are responsible for the maintenance and the running of the vessel. A bareboat is just that - "a bare boat" although a freelance skipper can be arranged to sail the boat and a chef to prepare meals. The difference is comparable to a luxury hotel/villa versus camping.
Can we choose where we want to go?
Your skipper will listen to your requests and will work out an itinerary based on what you'd like to do. All skippers know the islands like the back of their hands - they know the best places to go so we would suggest be guided by their experience. An itinerary is not set in stone, it can be influenced by what you feel like doing that day or plans may change due to inclement weather.
Can we choose what we want to do?
Absolutely! This is your vacation after all. We will ask you many questions prior to your charter so your skipper/chef knows exactly they type of vacation you seek whether you want a very active time trying out all the watertoys offered, whether you like to party or perhaps your group prefer getting away from it all and relaxing onboard with a good book.
Can I help to sail the yacht?
Yes! Generally, skippers are very accommodating and will let you help sail the yacht although if you prefer to sit back and relax, then that's fine, too.
Where do the crew sleep?
The crew have their own cabin, assuring you of privacy at all times.
We've never been on a boat before - is a crewed charter suitable for us?
Absolutely! You don’t need to have any boating experience to enjoy a crewed yacht vacation. The skipper will give you an orientation on boarding including the do’s and don’t’s which are minimal – just common sense really – after a couple of days the boat will feel like a luxury hotel... and it’s all yours!
We are on our honeymoon. Will a crewed yacht be private?
A crewed yacht charter is a great way to celebrate your honeymoon. Crews are always respectful of guests' privacy and we will only recommend yachts most suited for a romantic vacation.
We have young children - is a crewed charter safe for them?
Most yachts will accept children who are able to swim; some yachts have a minimum age requirement. A crewed yacht charter is the ultimate fun-filled vacation for children with stories of pirates and treasure, exhilarating water sports, reeling in that big fish amongst many other activities. All children tend to sleep very well after spending a day in the fresh air!
We like to party/to have a quiet vacation - how do we know the crew will be compatible with our group?
This is where we can help. We will only recommend crews we have interviewed so we will know exactly which crews will be most suited to your requirements.
What the difference between fully crewed and captain only?
Fully crewed yacht includes a minimum of skipper and chef/hostess who will prepare all your meals. A captain-only charter provides a skipper to sail and take care of the boat. You will be responsible for provisioning and preparing meals for your group including the skipper.
When can we board/when do we disembark?
On the majority of yachts, boarding is from 12:00 noon on charter start date. Disembarking is from 12:00 noon on charter finish date.
Where do I board the boat?
This will usually depend on your point of arrival and, generally, we can arrange for the boat to be near the ferry dock or airport. Alternatively, we can arrange a taxi from the airport/ferry dock to your yacht.
Is smoking allowed on board?
Most yachts will allow smoking on the transoms. Some yachts do not allow smoking at all. Please inform us if there are smokers in your group and then we can recommend suitable yachts.
Do I have to share the yacht?
No, absolutely not! The yacht is for the sole use of your group. It is not shared with any others.
Can I charter for less than 7 nights?
Charter rates quoted on the website are for 7 nights. Shorter charters can be arranged but may incur a surcharge of 10-20% of the pro-rated rate.
Do we go into marinas each night?
Not unless you want to. The skipper will normally anchor or pick up a mooring. If you choose to go into a marina, dock fees will apply.
Do we sleep on the boat?
Yes, all boats have comfortable cabins and ensuite facilities.
Are the yachts and crew licences and insured?
All of the crewed yachts we represent are fully licensed and insured.
How long do we sail for each day?
This is completely up to you. Some guests prefer to only sail for an hour before arriving at their next anchorage where they can enjoy the spectacular surroundings. Other guests enjoy long sails to islands farther away. We will ask you what your sailing preferences are prior to charter start dates and will inform the skipper accordingly.
Will our children get bored?
I'd be very surprised if they do! There is so much for kids to do on a charter - from learning to waterski, helping the skipper to sail the boat, jumping on the trampolines, snorkelling or a treasure hunt on a deserted island. What fun they (and ultimately, you) will have!
What should we pack?
See what to bring
Booking a crewed yacht charter
See how to book
Why should I use a bestofbviboats to book a yacht charter?
Booking through a broker such as bestofbviboats gives you confidence knowing that we have inspected all the yachts we represent so there is no doubt as to the condition of the boat. Our resident broker, Penny Compton, will take time to recommend the yachts/crews best matched to you. You, the guest, do not pay any additional costs for using our services.
What's included in the charter rates?
Rates quoted are for 7 nights and, on an all-inclusive charter, all meals and standard bar (wine, beer, cocktails) is included in the charter rate. Non-alcoholic drinks (soda, water) is also included. All listed amenities on the yacht are included in the charter rate.
What are the gratuities? How do we pay the gratuities?
A gratuity is just that, a bonus that is paid to the crew based on your level of satisfaction. Typically gratuities are 10-20% of the charter rate and normally given to the skipper at the end of your charter.
Can a crewed yacht charter be affordable?
A crewed yacht charter appears to be much more expensive than staying in a hotel or villa but once you take into consideration the cost of meals, activities and transport, it can be more affordable than you think.
What happens if we/the boat have to cancel?
Please see cancellation policy on charter contract
What is not included in the charter rates?
Each yacht varies but generally the all-inclusive charter rate does not include mooring and fishing fees, dockage, rental of sports equipment, premium beverages, off-yacht excursions including meals and drinks, telephone and satellite communications, purchase of yacht souvenirs, and optional crew gratuities.
What about trip insurance?
We highly recommend insurance to cover trip interruption and cancellation. Please contact us for further details.
What happens if a hurricane comes through?
Your safety is paramount and the skipper will advise you if a hurricane is forecast. You will generally be put ashore and will be assisted with hotel reservations or departing flights. The skipper will need to prepare the boat for the onset of a hurricane so it's not possible to stay aboard the yacht.
Why should we charter in the BVI?
The BVI are known as the sailing capital of the caribbean. With year-round warm temperatures and line of sight navigation, there is no better place to charter a crewed yacht. Gentle trade winds (8-15 knots) waft through the islands year-round providing perfect sailing weather.
Do you have a sample sailing itinerary?
See sailing itinerary
How do we get to the BVI?
There are no direct flights to the British Virgin Islands from Europe or the USA. All flights connect through another Caribbean airport such as Antigua (ANU), St Thomas (STT), Puerto Rico (SJU) or St Martin (SXM). See how to get to the bvi and bvi ferry schedules.
What's the weather like in the BVI?
Temperatures fluctuate slightly between winter and summer months where the average day temperature in the winter ranges between 22-28°C (72-82°F) dropping a few degrees at night; it does get slightly warmer in the summer months with August and September being the hottest - average temperatures range between 26-31°C (79-88°F). Brief, intense showers followed by beautiful sunshine can occur at any time of the year but the rainfall is higher in the autumn.
What months of the year are best to charter?
The BVI is an all year round destination, but personally we prefer late April to the end of May and mid October to early November. These months are normally a little quieter and work well if you don’t have to stick to school holidays. If you do have school kids, then Spring Break in February and mid June to mid July are great times to visit also.
Do I need a passport to travel to the BVI?
Yes, a valid passport is required for all visitors to the BVI
How do the crew know our food preferences?
We will ask you to complete preference sheets prior to your charter which asks many questions about your food and drink likes/dislikes. Chefs are very experienced, having attended prestigious culinary schools, and will provide gourmet meals based on your preferences throughout your charter.
Can the chef cater to our specific dietary requirements?
Most chefs will prepare meals to your specific requirements. Please contact us for further information.
Do we need to provision for the boat?
For an all-inclusive yacht charter - No! Your chef/hostess will shop and prepare meals specifically for you.
Do the crew eat with us?
Usually the crew do not assume to eat with guests unless they are invited to do so.
What meals are included?
On an all-inclusive charter breakfasts, lunches, dinners and all snacks and standard bar are included. Half-board charters vary, meals not included in half-board rates are usually taken ashore at guests' expense.
Do we help with the washing up/cleaning up?
No - that's the beauty of a full crewed charter. Take the week off - it's your vacation!
We like specific brands on some foods - is that possible to get in the BVI?
Most items you find at home are available in the islands. A substitution may be made for items not readily available.
Can I dive from the boat?
Some vessels are set up for diving straight from the yacht and have gear onboard. Where diving is not available from the yacht, rendezvous diving can be arranged.
What is rendezvous diving?
Rendezvous diving is where a local dive company collects you from your yacht, takes you diving on some of the most incredible dive sites you'll find in the Caribbean , returning you to your yacht later in the day. The dive company can provide all gear. Rendezvous diving is usually at additional cost.
What watertoys do the boats have onboard?
Crewed charter yachts provide a whole host of watertoys, all of which are listed on the individual yacht page on this website.