travel Tips"...to make your sailing charter vacation easier, safer and more memorable."
Remember you are on Island time, so the locals will move at a slower pace and service may take longer than you are used to in restaurants and airports. Please also bear in mind that due to the Covid-19, there could be specific travel protocols in place in Puerto Rico, in the USVI, and the BVI that you will have to adhere to on arrival and departure. There could also be some limitations in the schedules and maximum number of people allowed in bars and restaurants. Please remain in contact with your crew to have the latest information. Also remember to carry your valuables, medications, toiletries and a swim suit in your hand luggage in case your suitcase is delayed.
As to where the yacht will await you be sure you know before you leave home. Taxi drivers are familiar with marina locations – and rates are posted at the airports. The boat can provide you with the name and telephone number of a reputable and COVID 19 certified taxi company.
You should board no sooner than the agreed time on contract, normally noon. The crew needs every minute to make sure the yacht is in perfect condition for your arrival. If your arrival is delayed let the Captain know by calling the relevant number depending on where your pick up is.
Surf and Turf:
You might wish to arrive in the islands a day earlier or stay a day or two after your sailing vacation with us. We offer a sleep aboard option that is very practical for when you simply cannot find a flight that puts you in your pick up location before 3:00 pm. If you would like to use this option please ask your Captain when making your reservation. There are also some very good options for staying on land, from some of the best beach resorts in the world to some very nice family operated guest houses. Check out some options in our Useful Links page .
The weather here is very consistent. The average daytime air temperature is around 83 degrees and during the night it falls a few degrees. The water temperature is roughly the same as air temperature. If it rains it pours and the sun will shine a short time later. Rarely does it rain or stay overcast for extended periods. If you are visiting us between June 1st. and November 30 th., please consider taking travel insurance in case some tropical weather happens to occur during the dates you have scheduled your visit. This will protect you and we will be glad to have you with us on a later date.
For more details on the weather and sailing conditions during your dream sailing vacation visit: windy.com If you are interested in taking travel insurance here are some options that our guests have used before.
You should have received a food and drink preference sheet to be filled in with regard to all members of the charter. (Download Guests Preferences Form Here) This is to allow the Chef to plan your meals based on the information provided including any strong dislikes or food allergies indicated.
All food and drink requirements for your charter have to be provisioned ahead of your charter start date so be sure to have returned your preferences 45 days before the charter start date. The yacht stocks a standard wines and spirits list which is included in the charter fee, (please ask for more detail if required) Special requests or premiums liquors can be put aboard, at an additional cost, and per request in advance.
For safety, all soft drinks and beers will not be in glass bottles. This may affect sourcing a particular choice you require but the crew will endeavor to provide you with your choices.
“He who must travel happily must travel light”.
-Antoine the Saint Exupéry
The meeting location and time will be prearranged but the crew will be sure to be in constant contact prior to your arrival to assure the optional meeting time and location. Please use fabric roll-up suitcases/bags because they stow easily and thereby free your cabin space. Please remember that we have very limited alternative stowage space for your bags.
Getting to know you
On your arrival you will be welcomed by the Captain and Chef who will show you around the boat and let you settle into your cabins. Depending on the specific Covid-19 protocols current on the date of your arrival he might also ask you to disinfect your hands and take your tempeture. The Captain will explain some do’s and don’ts and ask about your special interests for the cruise. This is your chance to plot the course for where you want to go and what you want to do. The Captain has extensive knowledge of the islands and will be able to give you lots of ideas and help of places to see and entertainment to join in, including taking the helm and trimming the sails if you wish. Remember though, the captain is responsible for the yacht and those aboard, and has the final word in all decisions.
Once you have settled on board we will discuss the suggested itinerary. The final route will depend upon your desires, input and weather constraints. Please remember that you will always be at liberty to make changes while on route. Should you request to be at a Marina during your charter stay, the marina dockage and utilities charges will be at your own expense. The Captain will ask you for a credit card to proceed with the booking formalities.
Check out a sample itinerary in our EXPERIENCE page.
Passports are required. Depending on your nationality you may also need a Visa. Due to the current Covid-19 situation, you might also have to present quick antigen test certificates. Please check with your crew to make sure you have the most recent information as these protocols are changing frequently. Please consult your travel specialist and take the necessary precautions.
Unless you wish to use your own snorkeling gear there is no need to pack these as they are provided on the boat along with towels. Please use fabric roll-up suitcases/bags because they stow easily and thereby free your cabin space. Please remember that we have very limited alternative stowage space for your bags.
Masks and Fins
The yacht is equipped with an assortment of masks, snorkels and fins that are properly cleaned and disinfected before each charter. If you happen to own a mask it is wise for you to bring it along. This applies especially to scuba divers.
Should anyone want to fish, a fishing license is required and can be obtained before your arrival. Please let the Captain know and he will take care of the details. A small charge of $45 p/p applies. You can either add this to your final charter rate payment or pay it in cash to the Captain upon arrival.
For more details on all the fun water activities you will enjoy on board Alizé please visit our PLAY TIME page.
Rendezvous diving is available with professional and experienced local diving companies. Please let us know before your boarding and we will make all the necessary arrangements. When buying sun screens and tanning lotions please stay with the non-spray oil free products because the oil based ones can make the decks slippery and stain the leather cushions and trampolines. You also might consider bringing bug spray. Depending on the time of the year and location, we tend to get no-see-ems which bothers some more than others.
There are several ways that your loved ones can contact you while on board Alizé. A few days before your charter begins please ask your Captain for the details. Internet access is also available if you bring your computer, via wireless hotspots, depending on the cell phone providers coverage. Also, depending on your carrier, if you have a data enabled phone you should be able to get your emails but be sure to sign up for an international plan.
Music and Movies
Onboard Alizé you will find a High Speed Wireless internet connection, provided by one of the locals providers. Most of the time and in most of the ancorages the coverage and quality of the signal are very good. You will be able to stream music and watch your favorite TV Shows and Movies on your devices or on the yacht’s smart TV. Just in case there is a lack of coverage in any of the ancorages, it is a good idea to bring with you some of your favorite music and movies or series episodes.
You are welcome to bring a blow dryer but be sure to let the crew know prior to your use as the generator must be on in order to operate it. There is one on board and we will be glad to lend it to you also. The electricity aboard is 110v and you should have no problem in charging you phones, cameras, or any other electronics.
Love Your Crew:
Your Captain and Chef/Mate are a professional team. You are guests in their home. You will savor your own quiet time staring up at the starry night sky or reading a book. The crew will appreciate being allowed such times also- after all they will probably be the first ones up and last to go 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 constitute a major part of their working capital, and if you have enjoyed their efforts, they’ll appreciate your letting them know in this way. Industry standards are a tip of 15 to 20% of the total charter fee, the same as going to a fine dining restaurant in the U.S. Cash is highly appreciated and putting your gratuity in an envelope with a note or thank you card at the end of the charter is a nice way to avoid any awkwardness.
Tipping in the islands for restaurant, taxi services is also a customary 15-20%. If you prefer to use a check or credit card, please let the Captain know a couple of days before your departure date and he will make the necessary arrangements. In case of credit card payments, a small processing fee will apply.
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing”.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where Will We Meet the boat?
The last couple of years have been very demanding for all of us. Here in the Virgin Islands, both the BVI and the USVI governments have been implementing special emergency protocols for the entry of travelers and the movement of yachts through their borders. Some of those new protocols have been removed and others have remained in place. Also, both governments have taken the opportunity to review their existing customs, immigration, and shipping laws and regulations with the purpose of updating them and adjusting them to what they consider are their interests in the new post-Covid reality. The new situation has brought some very positive changes to the BVI crewed charter yacht activity; like the proliferation of several private companies that offer very good water taxi services for transporting guests to and from the BVI. There are also more flights from San Juan and St. Thomas to the Beef Island airport in Tortola and the fleet of ferries that cover the St. Thomas to Tortola route has been updated and are running more routes than before. There is work in progress for the expansion and improvement of the West End ferry terminal and the BVI government has announced recently that two airlines will be offering direct flights onboard medium sized aircraft directly from Miami. Also, the increased number of crewed charter yachts that are currently based in the BVI and the increasing number of large private yachts that are visiting the islands has impulsed the improvement of all the provisioning businesses available in Tortola and some of the other islands. For all these reasons, and with the purpose of guaranteeing that our guests enjoy the best possible sailing vacation with us; with plenty of time to visit the most beautiful locations and reducing the time invested in the hassle of going in and out of the different territories; we have decided to base our BVI sailing vacations out of Tortola, with Nanny Cay Marina as our preferred pickup and drop-off location and will be happy to assist our guests in any way we can in helping them arrange the most convenient way to get to the BVI from their places of residence. Please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Where do we Fly To?
Your BVI sailing vacation will start in Nanny Cay, Tortola. Right in the middle of one of the best sailing destinations in the world! To get here, you can fly to San Juan or to St. Thomas and then you can either fly to the Beef Island Airport that serves Tortola or you can take a water taxi or ferry. Also, the BVI government has announced recently that there will be two airlines flying medium sized aircrafts directly from Miami to the Beef Island airport.
Which Islands Will We Visit?
Our preferred ports of embarkation and drop off are:
- Nanny Cay Marina, Tortola, BVI.
- Soper’s Hole, West End, Tortola.
- Trellis Bay, Beef Island.
- Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour, Virgin Gorda.
If you wish to visit Anegada during your cruise, we highly recommend that you start or end your cruise in Virgin Gorda.
Is There a Half Board Option?
Yes, there are different plans.The rates listed in our Rates section are based on guests having three dinners or three lunches ashore at their choice and expense. We have decided to have this as our standard plan based on the fact that most guests will prefer to experience the local fare and atmosphere. If due to the current Covid-19 situation or simply to your personal preferences, you would prefer a different plan, please contact us and we will be glad to send you a personalized quote.
Should We Bring Cash, Do They Take US Dollars?
Local currency is the US $. Most establishments in the islands accept credit cards but frequently there can be power and/or network outages that limit their ability to process electronic payments.It is convenient to bring with you enough cash to cover any additional expenses you might incur on. Feel free to ask you crew for details.
What is the Maximum Number of Guests Allowed
Alizé is a Lagoon 440 equipped with four fully airconditioned, independent cabins; each one with its own private bath/shower. The two aft cabins have a very large walk-around and comfortable queen sized bed. The two front cabins also have their own private bath/shower, identical to the aft ones. The front beds are queen/twin size and are not walk-around. The Crew will use one of the front cabins. This layout is ideal for two couples or families. If your group are three couples, please note that all cabins are not identical. We can receive a maximum of six guests comfortably.
Do You Offer Charters of Less Than a Week?
Yes. A minimum of five days is recommended in order for you to get to visit the most important islands. Please contact us and we will be glad to send you a personalized quote.
Bareboating is a type of sailing vacation specifically tailored for people that think that they know how to sail and can safely operate a large catamaran for a week or two, in a location that they are not familiar with, and enjoy provisioning, cooking, cleaning, disposing of the garbage, dealing with that stubborn toilet leak, waiting for the charter company technician to come and fix the alarm on the plotter, and other fun vacation activities, while working very hard in fighting with their friends, spouses and kids about how to pickup and tie to a mooring ball, hang the fenders, hoist the mainsail and other fun activities; at the end of which everybody is tired, angry and convinced that next time they will book a sailing vacation onboard an owner operated crewed charter yacht with a professional captain and chef.
Sailboats and the ocean are a demanding environment in terms of physical condition. If you have any physical condition that you think might limit your enjoyment of a sailing vacation with us onboard ALIZE, please let us know and we will be glad to discuss the issue with you and give you all the information you might need to make an informed decision.
What type of sailing vacation?
Onboard ALIZE we are mostly focused on BVI family sailing vacations, honeymoons, and anniversary celebrations. If you and your group are interested in a different type of sailing vacation, please contact us and let us know what you have in mind, and we will do our best to accommodate you or will point you in the right direction, so your sailing vacation satisfies your expectations and those of all your group.
“Ships in harbour are safe, but that’s not what ships are built for”.