Some of our most frequently asked questions are answered below. If you have a question not covered on this page, please feel free to email us at VISAcharters@gmail.com and we will be happy to email you a quick response.
Ports Of Departure: We typically depart from St Thomas in the USVI, or from Tortolla in the BVI, but we can depart from just about any port you’d like, but these are the most convenient for flights into and out of the Virgin Islands. FREEDOM’s home port is only one mile from the St Thomas airport.
Getting Here: Geting to St Thomas is easy, just fly into St Thomas airport code STT. To get to the BVI you can fly to San Juan, Puerto Rico and take a shuttle flight to Beef Island Airport. Alternatively, you can fly into St. Thomas and continue your journey by either charter flight or ferry boat, but it’s easiest for us to pick you up anywhere in St Thomas. Once we have all of your travel arrangements, if you like we will arrange for one of our preferred taxi driver to rendezvous with you and transfer you either to the yacht or your hotel. Taxi fares are not included in the cruise fee.
Passports: No passport is required for citizens of the United States to travel to the USVI, but since much of our sailing will be in the BVI everyone will need a passport. A passport is the principal requirement for entry into the BVI. If you are a citizen of either the United States or Canada, an authenticated birth certificate, a citizenship certificate or a voter’s registration card, along with a photo ID, is sufficient to allow entry into the territory. Visitors from some countries may need a visa, if in doubt please contact us and we will check with the BVI Department of Immigration for you. But to keep things super simple, just bring a passport.
Telephone, Fax & Internet: FREEDOM is a traveling WiFi Hot-Spot, so we do have a cellular telephone/fax and Internet on board the boat all located in our mini floating business center, which is available for your use at no additional cost. 500 megs of internet data is available for each guest for sending emails and text messages. For high usage internet users, Digicel provides data cards at a price of $99 for 7 gigs of data and we always try to have a few cards available on the boat for guests to buy if they’d like.
Length of a Cruise: Cruise rates are based on a full week charter, eight days, seven nights. However, you can book a charter for any number of days the choice is yours! We specialize in 5, 7, 10 & 14 day charters too! Also, dependent on availability, you can start and end your cruise on any day of the week, we are as flexible as you need us to be!
Itinerary: We have no fixed itinerary, each cruise is planned with your preferences in mind. You will complete a simple-to-complete preference sheet where you will check-off and circle all your favorite recreational activities you enjoy when on vacation. SCUBA Diving, Snuba/Hookah diving, or Snorkeling, Water-Skiing, Wake-Boarding, Hydro-Sliding, or Riding on the Big Banana, or just relaxing on the Giant Lilipad, or Floating Mats, or Noodles. Or Hiking, Sailing, Fishing, Beach-Combing, Tiki Bar-Hopping, Island Exploring, Duty-Free Shopping… whatever it is, you name it and we’ll set it up for you!
Number of People: FREEDOM is quite large and has 5 guest cabins spread out over its more than 2,000 square feet of boat space. Most of our charters are groups of 8-12 people, but we can accommodate groups of just about any size, large or small, just ask us! And for super large groups, we can even get more boats and create your own flotilla with several of your friends on multiple boats sailing together and rafting up at each destination.
Sailing Experience: You do not need to have any sailing experience to enjoy this holiday. Many clients have never stepped foot on an ocean going yacht before, and are delighted with the level of comfort our oversized trimaran sailing yacht provides. If you would like to participate in the sailing of the boat you are more than welcome, otherwise sit back, relax and enjoy the ride!
Luggage: As with most yachts we have a limited amount of storage space on board. Therefore, we would ask that you bring soft luggage, such as foldable duffle bags. They are inexpensive to buy and will fold up small when not in use. If bringing soft luggage proves impossible, we can provide a limited amount of shore storage for hard luggage. Try and pack essential items in your carry on luggage since delayed luggage is not unheard of in these remote, and casual islands.
What to Bring: This is a casual and relaxed vacation so you really don’t need much. If you bring 3 bathing suits, 3 or 4 T-shirts, 2 pairs of shorts, a wrap or cover-up for the ladies, and perhaps a light flannel pajama bottom and sweater for the evenings. If you wish to dine ashore at one of the hotels or fine restaurants you might want to dress more “smart casual” such as slacks and a shirt with a collar. By mid charter most of guests comment that they have over packed, and that next time they will bring half as much!
Shoes: We are a “no shoes” boat, so there is no need to purchase a pair of expensive yachting shoes. We would recommend that you bring sandals, sneakers and perhaps some reef water shoes. If you prefer to wear shoes on board we would ask that they have non-scuff soles and that they are not worn ashore.
Photographers: If your camera uses film, bring plenty of film for your camera, spare batteries are also a good idea as film and batteries are expensive here and the choice is somewhat limited. We suggest bringing a digital camera. We have plenty of outlets and USB charging stations available for the recharging of cameras, phones, ipods, etc.
Underwater Camera: We have special underwater GoPro cameras available onboard. These are high-quality, compact, rugged HD cameras that are waterproof down to 180 feet and shoot HD video and still photos. These are available for only $35 rental for your entire cruise.
Special Music and PlayList: Onboard FREEDOM we have a great sound and lighting system along with a professional DJ mixing station with a collection of over 15,000 songs. PLEASE feel free to bring your own playlist on your iPhone or mp3 player so you can be the DJ by plugging into our sound system.
Special Medications: We would recommend that you bring a plentiful supply of prescription medication with you. There are pharmacies on the islands but your particular prescription may be impossible to maintain.
Sea Sickness: One reason why the Virgin Islands are such a popular destination for sailing holidays is that you get ideal winds without rough seas. The many islands protect us from the open waters beyond. Also, because of the increased stability Freedom has as a multi-hull, it is very rare for any of our guests to suffer from sea sickness. However, if you are particularly prone to motion sickness, we recommend that you bring over the counter medication with you for the first day, such as dramamine pills, and “Motion-Ease” natural oil, or motion wristbands.
Sun Tan Lotions: We recommend that you bring a plentiful supply of waterproof sun screen (factor 15 or higher) with you. Even on hazy days the sun in the tropics is very strong. PLEASE no lotions with coloring bronzers as this stains the towels and upholstery. The best and most affordable lotion is “Ocean Potion” available at Walmart, Kmart, CVS, Walgreens, Rite-Aid, Kroger, etc. For people with exceptionally pale skin we recommend that you bring a pair of men’s pajama bottoms or leggings to wear as a cover up.
Provisioning: Prior to the charter you will receive a food and beverage request form (preference sheet). This allows us to tailor the menu and refreshments (where possible) to your specific preferences and dietary desires. Premium wines and champagnes, and most top-shelf alcohol and liqueurs are all available as well as premium foods, ie: lobster, imported caviar, black angus steaks, etc. Included in your 7-day charter is a very generous budget of $250 per person for food and drinks, which is more than twice the amount a typical family will spend on groceries for each person for a week when shopping at home, so we very seldom exceed this budget. If there is anything special that you’d like, or that we need to be prepared for, including specialty foods, premium wines and/or excessive food and/or alcohol consumptions, these are all available at cost. Just let us know ahead of time so we can be prepared to properly accommodate your needs. Remember… Your wish is our command
Hurricanes: If you listen to the weather men or the weather channel these days you would be led to believe that the Virgin Islands are battered by tropical storms on a regular basis because “sensationalism sells”. So far, in all our years of chatering, have only had to cancel one charter due to a tropical storm, but because of this, we do recommend travel insurance.
Gratuities: For yacht charter crews, gratuities, or “tips” make up a majority portion of their pay. By maintaining this expense as a separate item, the you can reward a crew that has done a fabulous job and a crew can feel that if they go the extra mile, they will be properly rewarded, getting a bonus for their extra efforts. Considering the 16 hours per day the crew put in, and the variety of activities in which they help you indulge, being your Captain, Chef, Bartender, Waitress, Tour Guide, Dive Master, Dinghy Driver, Activities Director, Hostess & Housekeeper, 15% to 25% of the charter fee is a good basis on which to calculate. If you feet the crew has done a good job, 15% is considered average for good service for a crew of 2 and for crews of 3-4 like that on FREEDOM, then 20% is the minimum customary amount for good service, with 23%-26% paid for exceptional service to a larger crew of 4 and to an even more deserving crew that provided special things exclusively for you, such as special dietary requirements, excersize classes, Yoga sessions, coconut oil massage sessions, micro-pulse electro theraputic treatments, then 25%-30% is appropriate. By giving an extra bonus you are telling the crew that they were terrific and they did a great job. This is discretionary so adjustments can be made according to the fun you had how well you thought you were catered to. But PLEASE do not wait until the end of your vacation to voice any level of service we provide that would warrant less than an appropriate customary gratuity. We want to know immediately so we can provide you with the level of service you expect and deserve. There is no guest service that is even comparable to that provided on aboard a private charter yacht, and the crew on FREEDOM goes beyond that as our crew members pander to their guest’s every whim and we love to be held accountable to FREEDOM’s utmost highest standards. Enjoy the “FREEDOM Experience”… It’s What We’re Known For!