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Frequently Asked Questions

Why book through a Charter Broker like Caribbean Catamaran?
How do I reserve a yacht and what are the payment terms?
What's included in the Yacht Charter Fee?
Cancellation Terms
What time of year is best to travel to the Caribbean?
What are the Passport requirements?
Do I need Insurance?
How can I be reached in an emergency?
Is scuba diving equipment and air included in the charter fee?
Should we bring the kids?
How do I figure costs and expenses?
Who do I contact if I can't find the answer to my question here?

Why book through a Charter Broker like Caribbean Catamaran?
Choosing the right charter yacht and crew is vital in ensuring that you get the most out of your charter vacation. When you use a charter agent that knows the boats and the crews personally you can get accurate and un-biased information on all the options that are available to you.

When you book through Caribbean Catamaran the charter cost is the same as when you deal directly with the yacht owner, but you get a great deal more peace of mind- for example:

  • If you book directly with a yacht owner you have no way of knowing if the information in their brochure or on their web site is accurate, or whether there might be slightly more suitable options available to you.
  • Nor do you have the protection of a proper charter agreement or have your deposit held in an independent and safe escrow account until just a few days before your charter begins.
  • We will always be here to help and advise you on your best options - and if you are new to chartering we provide a wealth of information and support. We can also provide additional travel products and services that you may need to make the most of your charter experience.
  • If, at the last-minute, your charter operator has a problem and cannot show up for the charter we will be here to assist you (remember; when you deal through us any payments made will be held in an independent escrow account until just prior to your charter date). We can move fast to find you the very best resolution to the problem - another piece of mind when you book your charter through Caribbean Catamaran. top

How do I reserve a yacht and what are the payment terms?
After working with your agent to find the perfect yacht at the right time for your vacation we will supply you with a charter contract. Once you are completely happy with the charter agreement a 50% deposit is required to reserve the yacht, unless your vacation dates are more than 6 months from the contract signing, in which case 25% deposit is due at the time of signing and another 25% deposit is due 6 months in advance of the vacation dates.

The balance is due 45 days prior to the beginning date. top

What's included in the Charter Fee?

All Inclusive Yachts:
The Charter Fee includes the charter of the yacht and equipment, crew wages, all food (including crew's food) and insurance of the yacht for marine risk and third party claims and the crew for employer's liability insurance. The charter fee also includes fuel for a specified number of hours per day, as averaged throughout the cruise, berthing dues and most other harbor charges, including water and/or electricity taken from the shore. Some yachts include wine and bar, excluding vintage wines and champagne.

Extra charges will include communications, marina berthing, gratuities and hire costs of special equipment and activities; such as rendezvous diving.

Plus Expenses Yachts / Advance Provisioning Allowance (APA):
In addition to the charter fee, you will also be asked to pay an APA of 25-30% of the charter fee. This is given to the yacht in cash prior to your charter to allow the captain to buy fuel and provision the yacht as per your demands. At the end of the charter, the captain will produce full accounts of all expenditure. You will either be refunded any money not used or asked to pay any additional costs not covered by the APA.

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Cancellation Terms
If you need to cancel your reservation all payments are forfeited. However you are entitled to a refund if the yacht you reserved is re-hired for the same term; or a pro rata refund if re-hired for part of the same term.

If the yacht owner must cancel, the owner shall refund you all of your payments. 

If the captain or owner must cancel the charter due to Force Majeure no funds will be refunded to charterer.

Full terms and conditions can be found in our charter agreement contract.

We can help you with trip cancellation insurance; which, depending on circumstance, would take care of any penalties. top

What time of year is best to travel to the Caribbean?
Mid-December to mid-April is the "high season" in the Caribbean as travelers flee cold northern climates to bask in the tropical sunshine. For the peak periods of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, as well as the entire month of February, charter yachts should be reserved well in advance.

The summer period is considered to be low season, however summer is still a great time to visit the islands too; charter rates are lower and the beaches, roads and restaurants are rarely crowded.

December through May is considered the dry season while June through November is generally the more humid season. However, in our experience, rain or clear skies can occur at any time during the year. Rainstorms often pass quickly and there is sunshine on most days during the year. Average air temperatures in coastal areas range from 72 to 86 F. The warm coastal water temperatures stay between 68 and 74 F.

Hurricanes may occur any time from June through November and, historically, the most likely time is during early September. Every year brings more sophisticated storm warning systems. It is unusual for any one island to be severely affected more than once or twice every 10 years and your actual odds of experiencing a hurricane are very low. Some travelers purchase travel insurance as soon as they confirm their travel plans. top

Do I need Insurance?
Insurance of the yacht for marine risk and third party claims and the crew for employer's liability is included in the charter fee. Ask your charter agent at Caribbean Catamaran about other forms of insurance that might be prudent. top

How can I be reached in an emergency?
All vessels have VHF radios and many areas have marine telephone operators that can contact you through your VHF. You can of course bring along your own cell phone and the vessel you are on may have a satellite phone. top

Is scuba diving equipment and air included in the charter fee?
This can vary from yacht to yacht. Some yachts are fully dive-equipped while others will only allow rendezvous diving (where a dive boat is arranged to meet your yacht at a specified dive site). We can provide you details on individual yachts policies. top

Should we bring the kids?
Kids are seldom bored on charter. They really get into the sailing and particularly the snorkeling and playing on the beach. The yacht's crew is employed to maximize the enjoyment and safety of your vacation but they cannot be expected to take responsibility for over-seeing the welfare of children. Children under the age of fourteen must be under the direct supervision of a parent, child-minder or other appointed adult at all times. top

How do I figure costs and expenses?
Charter costs range widely depending on the yacht, location, season, number of guests, distance cruised, days spent in ports, and the level of luxury provided. Rates will be quoted either as "all-inclusive" or "plus expenses." A guideline often used for estimating expenses is to factor in an additional 25-35% of the base charter rate. Taxes are not included in base charter rates. Charter rates, which are listed in this guide in U.S. dollars, may be subject to varying rates of local taxes. We can provide you with the most recent information for your cruising area as well as any additional insurance requirements.

When you charter on a plus-expenses basis, the captain will give you discreet updates on such items as fuel usage, telephone/fax charges, and liquor/wine consumption. You will also receive detailed accounts at the end of the holiday.

It is customary for the charter party to leave the entire gratuity, usually 10 to 20 percent of the charter fee, with the captain. The captain should be made aware of any special services provided to you or your charter party by members of the crew that you think should be rewarded, however, even those members of the crew you might never have seen - engineers, deck hands or perhaps a laundress - have contributed to the success of your yacht holiday and the captain is best qualified to determine how your tip should be distributed. top

Who do I contact if I can't find the answer to my question?
If we have not addressed any of your questions, please contact us and we will be happy to help you further!  top

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