QUALITY CREWED CHARTER YACHTS THAT WON'T BREAK THE BANK.
In the last newsletter, we described a sailboat to aspire to - a once in a lifetime, never to be forgotten experience. 'Sapphire' represents good value in her 100'+ size range, but not everyone can spend this much money on a vacation.
This month we will feature some less expensive crewed yachts, proving that a Caribbean charter vacation can indeed be economical, particularly considering the freedom this type of vacation offers, plus the ability to plan your own itinerary and each day's activities.
All prices are for 7 nights, per person, high season (December 15th to April 30th), unless noted. For five nights or less, most boats add a 10% surcharge to the prorated weekly rate, but there is no surcharge for 6 nights, which makes this a good way to reduce cost. Most boats have an additional charge for Christmas and New Year.
For two or four guests, 'Honiara' offers great value at $1850 (4 guests) and $2700 for two, including all meals and open bar. She's a 45 foot Beneteau that has been beautifully maintained. The master cabin is forward with a queen berth and ensuite head. Another guest cabin is portside aft, also with a queen berth and ensuite head, though smaller. The cockpit is comfortable and her transom allows for easy access to the water.
Pierre and Adele are a lovely Canadian couple and owners of 'Honiara'. Prior to chartering in the Caribbean, Pierre had formed a charter company in Canada on Lake Ontario. He is a talented chef in his own right and a very accommodating host. Other hobbies include golf and reading. In earlier years, he worked as an electronic engineer involved in communication equipment for air traffic controllers, police and fire services.
'Antillean' is another yacht we have booked regularly over the years. At $2850 (2 guests), this 50' Beneteau offers plenty of space at a good price, but at $1500 for six, she's a steal. Children 6 years old or younger are free and 12 or under are half price, so this is a great economical choice for families. Prices include all meals and open bar.
'Antillean' offers three almost equal cabins with queen size beds and ensuite heads. The crew uses the forward, starboard cabin. Her two aft cabins have more headroom than other similar 50' monohulls and the beds are slightly larger than the forward cabins. The interior woodwork is highly varnished and contrasts nicely with the white leather upholstery. Lovely Caribbean artwork and fabric pillows decorate the salon. Her dual wheels allow a passageway aft for easy access to the swim platform and a large royal blue bimini shades the cockpit. She is in exceptional condition. We have known John and Heidi for many years and they have done over 70 charters for us, with many clients repeating. A lovely English couple.
While not technically the least expensive, we have included '5 Star' for anyone considering a charter for just two guests, as a comparison. She is $3450 (2 guests, including all meals and open bar), but this slightly higher price buys you quite a bit more. She's a new style Beneteau 50 set up for just two with a center line queen sized berth and every luxury you can think of (Tempurpedic mattress, Egyptian cotton sheets, robes, lovely place settings etc.). Honeymooners get extra goodies, including fine champagne and a beach side massage for two. Hugh and Alison are a delightful English couple. Formally in the IT business, they have travelled all over the world. They own 5 Star and have thought of everything a charter guest could need.
Looking for a nice, but inexpensive cat? 'Alexis' is a great choice at $3250 for two and $1975 for 4, including meals and open bar. In February, Geoff and Bambi move the boat to Las Perlas, Panama, for the start of their exciting trip across the Pacific. We will be hearing more about their adventures and look forward to offering her for charter in some beautiful new locations as she heads west.
Alexis is a lovely 3 cabin Admiral. The two guest cabins are aft in each hull and feature small queens. The head for the port cabin is forward and generous in size. The starboard cabin shares an amidships head with the crew. The pretty salon has light upholstery and Nicaraguan wood accents.
Geoff and Bambi own 'Alexis'. They bought the boat and finished the interior themselves. For 13 years he ran a successful building company in Capetown specializing in up-market customized residential homes. He still enjoys working with his hands especially woodworking. Geoff is water oriented, loves sports and enjoys reading.
Bambi began her professional life as a nurse. She later ran a landscaping business and a catering company. She has traveled extensively in Europe and South America, including Turkey, Cuba, Tobago, Venezuela and Jamaica. Her flexible cooking style means she can easily accommodate special diets. She enjoys using African and Asian spices. Bambi's interests include bead making, applique jewelery, gardening and reading (novels, autobiographies, fantasy).
Still a bit more than you want to spend? If you don't mind cooking, there are some great captain only options.
'Serendipity' charges $1055 for 6 captain only - the captain will help you provision (meals and bar are of course additional). This Beneteau Oceanis 500 was previously part of The Moorings' crewed fleet and is in great condition for her year. The crew takes the starboard aft cabin. Her guest cabins are approximately equal and each has an ensuite head and shower. A popular yacht, she's less expensive than many skippered bareboats.
Trish has sailed extensively both as a professional skipper and chef. She is a nature enthusiast and is actively involved in preserving the ecology of the islands. With her wealth of knowledge, she is an excellent guide both for nature hikes in the hills and snorkeling trips on the reefs. She loves to travel and has cruised on her 38' wooden ketch to such places as the Azores, Portugal, Morocco, West Africa, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. She speaks fluent Spanish.
Going slightly larger, the 60' 'Shiwara' offers captain only charters at $1167 for six (food and bar at your cost). She has an attractive aft salon with light wood trim. Her large master stateroom forward has a queen size berth and an additional settee, possibly for children. The two other double berth cabins are identical, each with its own head and shower. Guests particularly like the separate access to cabin and separate shower stalls. Designed especially for Caribbean chartering, she has expansive flat decks both fore and aft with a clever awning that rolls out of the boom (in addition to a sailing awning).
Kirk is an ideal 'captain only' skipper. As a child he moved around quite a bit from a cattle ranch in Texas, to Australia, to Malaysia. He has been a dive instructor for over a decade and is an avid surfer (he even carves custom surf-boards) and will take his guests to some nice surf sites if interested. Kirk knows the area well and he and his family live on Tortola.
There are of course many options - these are just a few examples. Tell us your plans and we would be happy to suggest others we feel you would enjoy. We know all the best yachts and crews!
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