Posted on May 17 2018, by Els Kraakman.
Crewed charter yacht vacations in the British Virgin Islands are gaining popularity every year, and for good reason! A crewed yacht charter is a vacation aboard a yacht with a live-aboard crew, who typically consist of a captain and chef/hostess but can have 1 or 2 more crew depending on the size of the yacht.
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. Full service is always on hand, whether you need a fresh towel, water-sports instruction or a delicious tropical fruit cocktail. No lines, no waiting, just a prompt friendly smile and whatever you could wish for. Your Captain will sail the yacht to all the beautiful and sometimes “secret” anchorages and makes sure your vacation is carefree. Your personal Gourmet Chef will create meals and snacks to your desires, your ocean view table is always the best in the house! An open bar means no hidden charges.
In this blog we give you 10 reasons why to consider a crewed all-inclusive charter for your next sailing vacation:
Most crewed yachts are very well equipped and have lots of features not found on the usual bareboat including 110v power, TV, air conditioning, watermaker, icemaker, electric toilets etc. We do recognize that our newer bareboats do offer these amenities as well. In general, the crewed yachts are nicely decorated, offer beach towels, awnings, bean bags or beach chairs and offer better mattresses, linens, plates and cutlery, upholstery and will give you a much more luxurious feel than a bareboat – even if it is the same make and model.
2. LARGER YACHT
When you charter a bareboat, the size of your yacht is limited to the experience of the captain of your group. With a crewed yacht you can charter a yacht that’s larger than you’re comfortable handling, actually you do not have to have any sailing experience at all. The crewed yachts are in general much larger than what is available in our bareboat fleet. You can charter the yacht of your dreams! Of course, the size of your crewed charter yacht depends on your budget, but you will enjoy the extra space and luxury you can find on the larger crewed yachts.
Charter yacht crews are trained to create flexible itineraries, island-hopping to the most amazing destinations and offering many activities, based on your specific preferences. Another advantage to choosing a crewed charter is the crew’s intimate knowledge of the area you are visiting. They will offer you the opportunity to discover under-explored “secret” areas and learn about local customs, which can easily become the highlight of your visits. This experiential wisdom is pure gold, as the British Virgin Islands are made up of more than fifty islands! You don’t have to miss out on any one thing – you can see it all, and your crew will help make that possible. All anchorages and bays that are restricted for the bareboats are available for the crewed yachts.
4. FOOD & DRINKS
This is maybe the most important advantage of a crewed charter: the food! We often receive reviews from clients that were amazed the food could be so incredible on board. All Breakfasts, lunches, 3 course dinners, snacks and drinks are included in your charter. But it does not stop there! The chefs on these yachts are culinary professionals and many have trained in the best culinary schools and could be working in the top-restaurants around the world, but they have decided to live on the water instead and serve a select group of guests. The chefs are truly amazing, and you can expect gourmet meals, beautiful presented, coming out of their galleys. Chefs prepare meals precisely according to your preferences and dietary needs. Are you gluten-free vegetarian or vegan? No problem. Just let your chef know and he or she will create the most incredible meals you’ve ever eaten along with handpicked wines and desserts.
Some of the crewed yachts offer half-board charters, which is the same as all-inclusive, but you take a few meals ashore at your own expense. The half-board option is a great option if you would like to explore the local restaurants as well, but please note it does not save you any money in the end and the food on board is much better than you will get in the restaurants!
All-inclusive also means all of you drinks – alcoholic or non-alcoholic – are included and unlimited. Premium wines, champagne and liqueurs are not included, but can be arranged for cost price. The captain will make you cocktails like Mojito, Painkiller and Bushwhackers at sunset (or all-night long!)
5. BEING PAMPERED
While you relax completely on your charter, the crew makes sure you get everything you need. You and your guests get to enjoy every meal or cocktail hour without having to worry about cooking, preparing drinks or cleaning up afterwards. The crew will arrange the provisioning before your charter and will make sure the yachts is spotless clean at all times during your charter. When ever you need a drink, a towel, use of watersports or anything else, just ask and the crew will arrange it for you. Half-way your charter your linens, beach towels and bath towels will be changed, so you always have a fresh bed or towels to dry with.
6. WATER SPORTS
Crewed yachts offer a wide variety of equipment for water sports. Snorkel gear, stand up paddle boards, kayaks, and floating water toys for lounging. A variety of more fast paced activities can be enjoyed behind the yacht’s fast tender. Water skiing, wakeboarding, kneeboarding, and tubing are available on most yachts.The crewed yachts have a large dinghy with a powerful outboard to make pulling tubes, kneeboard or water skis easy and fun. The larger dinghy is also very comfortable for exploring the islands or go from bar to bar.
Diving and snorkeling in the Virgin Islands is rated among the best in the world. You can find vertical walls, underwater pinnacles, coral reefs, caverns and wrecks – The RMS Rhone is the most famous wreck, which sank in 1867. On your all-inclusive charter there are one of the following options offered:
- Yachts with a Dive Master on board will only offer diving for certified divers. The dive master will guide already certified divers around the wonderful dive sites of the Virgin Islands.
- Yachts with a dive instructor on board will offer diving for certified divers, but can also offer a resort course (introduction to diving) or dive instruction (referral course, where the theory and pool dives are done at home).
- Some of crewed yachts do not offer diving from their yacht, but can arrange Rendez-Vous diving for you. In this case the divers are picked up from the yacht by a dive school to have a 1 or 2 tank dive and return to the yacht afterwards.
You can do as much or as little sailing as you want on a crewed yacht. The captain will let you steer, hoist and trim the sails and he or she will answer any questions about tacking, jibing or anything else you want to know. He will show you how to trim the sails, look at the wind direction and speed, wind shifts and currents to optimize the boat speed. No question is off-limits, but keep in mind that the lessons don’t come with certification. Some of the crewed yachts have a spinnaker, giving a lot more fun sailing downwind!
9. START/END ST. THOMAS
You probably can find better flights to St. Thomas (airport code STT) from the US and most crewed yachts can start and end your charter there. No need to take the ferry over. You can add the beautiful bays of St. John, like Trunk Bay, in your itinerary before entering the BVI for the rest of your charter.
10. THE CREW
Last but not least: The crew! The crew is what makes your all-inclusive charter special and their priority is providing an unforgettable, luxurious, relaxing vacation that will make you want to come back again and again. The crew will provide great sailing, amazing food, water sports and pampering services as described above but also take care of the safety on board for the guests (and their children), which is a very important part of you experience.
In general, the crew are live-aboards that know the yacht very well, call it their home and will make sure everything on board is perfect and in working order. They take care of all the maintenance the yacht needs when off charter. When something breaks during your charter, most of the time the crew will be able to fix it without you even noticing it. Because the charter yacht comes with a crew, it is usually very well-tended and in excellent condition. One more thing you don´t have to worry about!
Els Kraakman is our crewed charter specialist. She will help you plan your all-inclusive fully crewed vacation aboard private luxury sail and motor yachts.