Frequently Asked Questions
We're excited to have you join us aboard Three Moons Yacht. Below are the answers to the most common questions about taking a sailing vacation aboard a privately crewed charter yacht.
What is a charter and how does it work?
Your stay aboard Three Moons is a ‘crewed’ charter. Included in your charter is the exclusive use of the yacht, the services of your Captain and Chef, and the food and beverages prepared to your preferences from noon until noon on the charter date as per agreed contract. All the provisioning (with the exception of special requests) is included, as are most of the daily activities. The length of your charter is specified in your charter contract as well as pick-up and drop-off times and locations. While on board, the general activities and movements of the yacht are at your direction although the Captain has the last word in all actual decisions. His first concern will be for the safety and comfort of all the guests. The Captain’s practical knowledge of your cruising area will help create an itinerary unique to your party’s needs. Your crew will contact you well before the charter starts and will discuss your food preferences, health and activities for your stay aboard. You’ll get to know them even before you arrive and they will be available to answer all your questions.
Should I use a Yacht Charter Broker to book the yacht?
Yacht charter brokers are professionals in the business of finding you the right yacht and crew. In fact, their livelihood depends upon it! Charter Brokers do the searching for you - they research the yachts, crews, and then they take care of booking the yacht you choose. Only a qualified yacht charter broker will offer the full line of services that should be standard when chartering a yacht. These include helping to finalize the financial and contractual obligations, itinerary planning and menu preferences.
How do we get there?
Three Moons sails the waters of the U.S. Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands. These islands lie 1,100 miles east-southeast of Miami. Our primary/favorite pick up point is St. Thomas, USVI (airport locator code #STT). Flights via Delta connecting in Atlanta or American Airlines through Miami seem to be the favorite choices. It’s simply the most hassle-free choice. Once you’ve arrived in St. Thomas, we’re conveniently located just 5 minutes from the St. Thomas airport.
If you would prefer to fly directly into the British Virgin Islands, you can; but you’ll probably have to make an additional stop to get there. The primary airport of the BVI is Beef Island (airport locator code #EIS). The Beef Island airport is mid-sized and does not support non-stop air service from the continental US or Europe. Your flights will use commuter carriers for connections to Beef Island. The largest of these carriers is American Eagle, a subsidiary of American Airlines. Cape Air, Liat and Air Sunshine also provide commuter flights from various Caribbean destinations. Connecting flights to the BVIs are usually routed through San Juan, Puerto Rico. The simplest way for you to get to the BVI from North America may be to simply use one of the many American Airline flights via San Juan, Puerto Rico. You can also get to the BVIs by routing through nearby St Thomas which offers direct flights from many US cities. Once in St Thomas, you can take a ferry to nearby Tortola, the main island of the BVIs. From the ferry, take a cab to the yacht. Transfers to and from the airport/ferry can be prearranged by your Captain. These transfers are not included in your charter fees so you should pay & tip your driver accordingly. Because of the distances traveled and time zones crossed, it may be difficult to arrive in Tortola early in the day. Your charter starts promptly at noon (and no earlier) of your first day and ends before noon (and no later) of your final day.
If your arrival is later than 4 pm, is it unlikely that the yacht would embark that evening. You might want to consider a night in a hotel prior to your charter so you could board promptly at noon on the first day of your charter.
What do we need for customs & immigration?
The British Virgin Islands are a British Dependent Territory with unique and independent requirements for visitors. You should be prepared to present a valid passport when entering and exiting the BVIs. There may be small fees such as departure taxes to be paid. Immigration officials will want to know where you are staying, how long you are staying, and may ask for proof of a return ticket. It is important to answer these questions carefully since staying beyond your stated departure date will result in a significant amount of hassle with the immigration authorities.
Do not even think about bringing illegal drugs, guns, knives, etc, into the British Virgin Islands. Spearguns are particularly prohibited for importation.
What about the weather?
It doesn’t matter where you’re from, the weather in the Virgin Islands is better. The coolest of winter days might be in the upper 70′s while the hottest of summer days would be in the upper eighties. The key to Virgin Islands’ weather is the steady blow of the trade winds and the surrounding clear, warm water. The water temperatures vary from the upper 70′s to mid 80′s depending on the season. Squalls, although rare, when they occur are soon past. Your only likely weather-related problem is the risk of sunburn.
How do I pack?
Your plans for packing should be kept very simple. You certainly can include anything you desire for your enjoyment of your charter. Through experience, we can offer many tips that will help you have fun without having to tote several tons of extra stuff. If possible, consider the idea of not checking any luggage. Limit your luggage to carry-on capacity. (The bonus is you won’t have to worry about lost luggage!) Please use 2 soft-sided carry on collapsible bags such as a backpack/duffle bag and a small rolling bag that will fit in the overhead compartment on the plane. Worried that you won’t have enough clothes? Don’t be! Three Moons has a small washing machine for use during your stay!
Packing light is super easy, especially since the islands are very informal. If you wear long pants and a collared shirt on the plane, you’d be dressed for the most formal island occasions imaginable. Pack your passport, 2 bathing suits, 5 t-shirts, 5 pairs of shorts, some shoes you don’t mind getting wet, medications and you’re almost done. Now we’ll discuss what to leave home: Three Moons will have at least one of everything you forget; but don’t bring beach towels, dive tanks, formal attire, hard luggage, surf boards, hard shoes, or pets.
What other expenses should we expect?
It’s always hard to guess how much hard cash to bring. You’re certain to need cash for transfers to and from the airport or ferry – and cabs in the islands are not a bargain. You may be grouped with other riders and take a circuitous route. Even so, $15 or more per person for each cab ride can put a dent in your cash quickly. You can expect a departure tax (ferry $5 per person, Airport $20 per person). Other adventures ashore are at your expense.
Does the British Virgin Islands Accept U.S. Currency?
Yes, the BVIs accept U.S. dollars, traveler’s checks and credit cards in most places. BUT! ATM machines and banks are not located on every island. Please bring a sufficient amount of cash for the week. Banking conveniences in the islands are not as easily available as they are stateside. Visa is always the preferred credit card at bars and restaurants. American Express is accepted at a few places.
Can I make a phone call or access the internet from the yacht?
Bring your cell phone. With new digital roaming services offered by AT&T, Sprint & Verizon, all stateside cellular phones will receive & make phone calls in the British Virgin Islands. Note~AT&T works best in the USVI & BVI for receiving 4G & LTE non-roaming signals almost all the way up the channel in the BVI .
Check with your carrier for roaming rates. If you have an smartphone, you’ll be able to check your email for FREE at the hot spots ashore. Do try to unplug yourself from your life and enjoy a bit of peace of mind. You’ll want to bring your iPads or Kindles for reading as well as internet. Skip bringing the laptop unless you just have to have it with you.
Is the water safe to drink?
Yes, we will provide plenty of safe-to-drink water from the yacht as well as bottled water. The yacht has a new reverse osmosis filtration system that will supply water during your vacation. Our islands are truly struggling with the lack of local recycling facilities for plastic bottles. Yachts in both the U.S. Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands are now asking their guests to bring along a personal water bottle if they choose. The decision is yours; but we would appreciate your help in making our islands future greener!
Do I need to bring sunscreen, beach towels, shampoo or hairdryers?
We provide all of the above. If you want to bring a travel sized your own, please do so. We highly recommend Coppertone Sport Ultra Sweatproof SPF 30 or Neutrogena sunscreen. They are some of the very best. NO SPRAY-ON SUNSCREENS PLEASE. The wind causes the overspray to damage our glossy varnish on our teak and melts the clear vinyl glass on the bimini. We have plenty of beach towels, floats, quality snorkeling equipment, etc. A hair dryer along will plenty of shampoo & conditioner is available.
Can I bring my iPod, CD’s and videos?
Yes! Feel free to bring any of your favorite tunes or movies! We have an extensive iPod music library of over 25,000 songs and 500 movies but it is always fun to listen to something new. We can play your music on our stereo system from your iPhone, iPad and and iPod. Also, you will find many of today’s most popular books on board to read while relaxing on the deck. Don’t pack a lot of heavy books because we have plenty to read and share! Also we have regular 110V outlets for recharging all your devices. You’ll want to charge all your devices in your cabin in the mornings & evenings when the generator is providing power.
Do You Have Games On Board Three Moons?
Yes! We have Cranium, Yahtzee, Mancala, Apples to Apples, Dominos, Bingo, Checkers, Backgammon, Left, Right, Center, Rook and lots of decks of cards. *Note: The Captain is a “card shark”!
Will I Get Seasick?
In 17 years of chartering, we’ve had 5 people who were really, truly seasick. We think that’s amazing considering the number of charters that we’ve done! Sea sickness is actually less likely to occur on a sailboat, since there is no noxious smell of diesel fuel or the roll (side to side) and pitch (fore and aft rise and fall) of an engine-powered boat. A sailboat slices through the water with the wind and waves, for a more natural sensation of movement. That, combined with a few preventive measures, can help keep sea sickness at bay. A good night’s sleep and avoiding alcohol before your sailing trip will help. It’s difficult if you’re anxious about being sea sick, but it will help. Over the counter remedies such as motion sickness acupressure bands are very helpful as well as Bonine or Dramamine. Scopolamine patches via prescription are a good idea if you are prone to getting seasick.
Can We Go Fishing?
The waters of the USVI & BVI have been over fished for many years, resulting today in many disappointed fishermen. If you are really serious about fishing for Mahi, Grouper or Tuna, you may want to consider hiring a day boat to take you out to the rocky waters of the deep open ocean. Otherwise, the best fish are found snorkeling and they cannot be eaten due to Ciguatera Poison issues. (You cannot eat fish that eat the reef.)
For every person 18 and older who wishes to fish from the yacht, you will need a BVI Fishing License. These need to be purchased in advance. The cost is $60 per person for Last Stop Sports to do the legwork and have them ready for your arrival. Please contact them directly at: http://www.laststopsports.com/Fishing_License.htm. Kindly let Captain Randy know if you purchase fishing licenses.
Should we tip the crew?
Yes. We’re confident that your crew will exceed your expectations. During your stay aboard, you will realize that your crew are more than hardworking, more than just personable, more than professional. Their only additional benefit from the exceptional service they provide is the gratuity you leave, typically an industry-standard 15-20% of the total charter fee. 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).
We feel that we represent a great value in our industry and provide the utmost in professional customer service, safety and quality. As one guest recently commented, “Not only do we want to take another trip onboard Three Moons, we know that we are wanted! It’s nice to have such a great connection with our crew!”.
Thanks again, we truly appreciate your interest and hope to hear from you soon!
Owner Roy Pat Rucker and Captain Richard Gillette