Each one of the 27 people who went on our BVI Charter said that it was either the best or one of the best holidays they’d ever had. The variety the BVI offers, the comfortable catamarans, the superb beaches, and the freedom of a charter combined to create lifelong memories for everyone. The BVI proved once again why it is the world’s top yacht charter destination.
Although it worked out well, it wasn’t without its risks and stresses. Some conclusions about family and group chartering are the following:
– Kids will love it, but you have to plan for them and brief them properly. Beach toys, cards, electronic games, videos, guidebooks all are indispensable. And teach them to snorkel before they arrive in the BVI.
– Don’t skimp on the boat size or amenities. Little things like an ice maker, flush toilets, and fully equipped kitchens make a huge difference. The added cost will get lost in the increased enjoyment of the trip.
– The BVI is not cheap, especially the food, there’s no way around it. There are plenty of ways of making the trip more cost effective, but do be aware that the BVI is not a low cost holiday destination and budget accordingly.
– Unless you know all the islands and have sailed there before, we strongly recommend a Skipper. He’ll take so much of the planning and worry out of the trip. Trying to keep children and family happy while also concentrating on the day’s itinerary doesn’t leave a lot of time to relax and enjoy!
– Plan a basic itinerary before the trip, and communicate it to everyone. There’s nothing more stressful than trying to get multiple groups and captains to agree on a destination and agenda for the day. Of course it can be adjusted (we had a 5 minute nightly meeting to confirm the plan for the following day), but starting with a blank sheet of paper each day is asking for trouble.
– Have a group meeting before you leave. We had everyone over and did a thorough briefing on the trip 3 weeks prior to departure. Items discussed were travel plans, safety rules for the kids, provisioning, general itinerary, and, importantly, how to make a pina colada. Some of our European Friends also had to learn who Jimmy Buffet was (yes, hard to believe).
– Finally, plan your trip with like minded people who like to have fun, are flexible and aren’t looking for all of the creature comforts of a 5 star hotel. Even though our catamarans were comfortable, they are not a floating resort. People who are used to boats understand that weather can be bad, things may break, and changes of plans will inevitably occur. If you don’t think they will be happy on a boat for a week, put them in a resort such as the Bitter End and meet them along the way!!