Provisioning has changed a lot because of the internet – gone are the days when charterers had to make the trek with a shopping cart from Rite Way to their boat in Road Town Harbor.Â If there was one thing that was bound to spoil the start of a charter, it was normally the provisioning.
Now, however, you can see items and prices online far in advance of getting there, put your order in online, and it will show up just after you reach your yacht – with free delivery.Â There are two major and several additional specialty provisioning options in Tortola – click here for more information on Provisioning for Yacht Charter in the BVI.
We did price comparisons between Rite Way and Bobby’s – most prices are fairly comparable, although Rite Way is often much cheaper on fresh fruits, vegetables and meats. But as we got into the provisioning process – which is time consuming! – we realized that even with the wonders of online ordering it was impossible to provision properly, because you had no idea the quality or cut of the meats, fruits and vegetables.Â So in the end we put the staples order in to Bobby’s and arranged for a free shuttle that they provide to go to the store in Road Town and top up our order with all of the meats, produce and other fresh items.Â This seemed to work well, because the onsite shopping went far more quickly.Â We did end up with some things we didn’t expect – if you’re ordering and you’re not completely sure what you’re getting, or advice is to buy it on site.
A few more pieces of advice on provisioning:
Don’t expect to buy any decent fruits or vegetables in the smallerÂ stores – you’ll be sorely disappointed with the quality and still pay hefty prices. The larger grocery stores did have a decent, if not spectacular, selection.
Be ready for sticker shock – everything on the island has to be flown in, so you’ll see prices 20% to 50% more expensive than you’re used to. Except Rum, which is cheap!!
Keep meals basic.Â Everything tastes great on the water, and you simply won’t find all the choice meats, spices and other ingredients you’re used to at home.Â Think chicken, pasta, burgers – you’ll be happy!
Don’t even think about ice cream – it will be melted before you get it on the boat, and will never refreeze.
Once provisioned, we were back in Sopers Hole ready for dinner at Pussers and a sleepaboard for the first night.Â We were allowed on the boats at 5:30 and the kids had a great time climbing all over them and exploring every nook and cranny. We had our first BVI sunset, the pina coladas crept in, and we were ready to sail the next day!