Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best time of year to charter a boat in the Caribbean?
High season runs from mid-December to end of April. Temperatures are a little cooler and the trade winds tend to be stronger, so it’s the ideal time for keen sailors and anyone wanting to escape the winter cold.
If you are not limited by school schedules May, June and early July are also a wonderful time to visit, with warm water and gentler breezes. Some venues will close over the peak of the hurricane season (August and September) but by mid-October businesses are all open again, so if you want to visit while the islands are quiet, fall is also a great time to come.
How do I reserve a yacht charter?
To confirm a charter, first, we place a HOLD on the yacht of your choice for the dates you want to come. This is a “no obligation” hold and is subject to challenge by any other entity wishing all or part of that term for that yacht. If challenged, 123 Hulls Yachts has 48 working day hours to provide payment along with the signed agreement.
The boat remains on HOLD status until a payment is made and the Charter Agreement is signed. Once 123 Hulls receives both items, we confirm your charter and the yacht’s schedule is blocked from anyone else wishing to charter the yacht/term.
Your funds go into a secure, escrow account overseen by the Clearing House for dispersal to the yacht according to the schedule in your signed charter agreement.
How and when do I pay for my charter?
Once availability and rates have been confirmed, you sign the contracts and make a 50% deposit. The balance is due 60 days out, along with any extra expenses, such as the APA (Advanced Provisioning Allowance), which many yachts charge depending on the area of the world.
For some bookings that are more than six months out, you may be able to pay 25% to confirm the charter and then a further 25% six months out.
Payment can be made by credit card or wire transfer.
What is included in the charter fee?
As well as the use of the entire yacht, meals, snacks, beverages, wine and liquor are usually included in the charter fee. Most yachts have an assortment of complimentary snorkel gear and water sports equipment such as SUPs, kayaks, fishing gear, water skis and dive gear. Amenities vary based on boat size and charter fees.
What is not included on a luxury crewed yacht charter?
Airfare, transfers, hotel accommodations before or after the charter, crew gratuity, cellular phone charges, optional trip cancellation insurance, vintage wines/champagnes or premium liquors, rendezvous diving or sports fishing trips are not included in the charter fee. For some yachts, fuel, island cruising taxes, harbor and mooring frees may be extra.
Is a gratuity expected?
It is customary to tip your crew at the end of your charter. The suggested industry standard rate is 15-20% of the total charter cost but this is totally at your discretion and should be based on the level of service you receive. If your charter did not meet expectations, you would leave less, but if it far exceeds your expectations, your crew won’t say no to more. And while it is a lovely gesture, taking the crew out to eat or buying them drinks should not be considered part of the gratuity. Giving your chef a night off and/or having lunch ashore is always appreciated. Your crew knows all the best places to dine on shore and will make recommendations to meet any budget.
Other than the BVI, where else in the Caribbean can I book a crewed charter vacation?
In addition to the BVI and USVI, there is glorious chartering around the islands of the Bahamas. We also offer charters in St. Maarten, Anguilla, St. Barths and St. Kitts or further down island in the Grenadines (Great summertime chartering).
Do I need insurance?
While you are not required to have trip insurance, we always recommend that you purchase it. Things can happen…..and when they do, it’s always best to have a “safety net” to cover potential losses in the event you have to cancel your trip or any lost luggage, medical or repatriation costs incurred during your trip. Talk to your insurer about the best options for you.
What if I have to cancel my charter?
As per the contract, if you have to cancel the charter before the term begins, deposits will only be refunded if the yacht is re-booked for the same period or portion thereof and refunded pro rata. If the yacht is not re-booked, no refund is made.
Will I have Wifi on my charter?
Most crewed yachts have basic internet available onboard, however we can not guarantee viability of the signal at all times. Some yachts charge a base fee for wifi if usage exceeds a certain amount. These charges typically only apply to downloading or multiple guests streaming videos.
Will my cell phone work in the BVI?
It is best to check with your carrier whether your phone will work in the BVI. Many carriers permit you to add a country for a month at a set fee which lowers your per minute call charges. AT&T and Sprint work well in the USVI without any additional charges. Use of cell phones in the BVI will incur international rates but you can buy prepaid airtime on the islands.
Should I bring my iPod, tablet, videos and books?
Most yachts have an extensive music library but feel free to bring your own tunes too, as your device can be connected to the yacht’s sound system. You’ll find a selection of books and movies onboard too. If you want to bring your own reading matter, we suggest a Kindle or tablet rather than packing lots of heavy books.
You’ll typically find regular 110V outlets for recharging all your devices.
Can we go fishing?
The removal of any marine organism from BVI waters is illegal for non-British Virgin Islanders without a recreational fishing permit. Fishing licences are valid for 30 days and cost $45. Please see here for details on applying for a licence.
Kindly let us or your Captain know if you purchase fishing licenses online & will be bringing gear. Please let us know if you would like us to apply for a fishing permit on your behalf.
Can I go scuba diving during my charter?
For certified divers wishing to get in some diving, choose a yacht that is equipped with scuba gear and compressor. On these yachts, at least one of the crew will be a certified dive master and will be able to guide you on dives. Don’t forget to bring your certification card with you.
Alternatively, if you charter a boat that is not equipped for diving, you can arrange rendez vous dives in the BVI, where a local dive centre picks you up, takes you diving and returns you to your yacht.
Do I need to bring sunscreen, beach towels, toiletries or hairdryers?
The yachts typically provide all of the above but if you have a preferred brand of toiletries please bring them. Your yacht will have plenty of beach towels, floats, snorkeling equipment, sunscreen, etc.
What should I pack?
Above all, pack light as storage is limited on boats. A duffel bag or foldable luggage is recommended as luggage may have to be stored in your cabin.
Most of your time will be spent in swimwear, so bring at least two sets. Sunglasses and hats are a must and a rash vest to protect against sunburn while in the water is highly recommended.
You’ll be most comfortable barefoot on board so one pair of sandals or flip flops is plenty, plus a pair of water shoes. Additionally you’ll need shorts & T-shirts/coverups, one or two outfits for an evening ashore, and a light jumper and/or rain jacket in case of cooler weather. Don’t forget any medications (be sure to put these in your carry on, as suitcases can go astray) and sea sickness tablets if required.
Lastly, don’t forget passports, credit cards and cash. Be sure to bring enough cash with you to cover meals and shopping ashore as you may not find an ATM at every stop.
When does my charter start and end?
Charters start and end at noon so your arrival/ departure airline times may not coordinate exactly. A hotel stay before and/or after your charter may be required. We highly recommend checking flight availability for your desired dates before requesting a yacht charter date.