FAQs

from Water Lovers Like You

Your Yachting Questions Answered

Yes, we can answer that.

H2O Luxury Yachts has been around a long, long time. This means we’ve fielded just about every question imaginable about yachting anywhere in the world you’d like to go.

What is the best way to contact H2O Luxury Yachts?

Please call us at 1 954 271 3005

What items should we pack for our yachting getaway?

It all depends on your getaway of choice! Most yachting hotspots are in warm climates, which makes packing lightly pretty simple. If you’ve chosen a charter that embarks during cooler months of a specific locale, our list includes recommendations for you, too.

Certain items like sunglasses and your passport are a must, regardless of the weather. We know how daunting it can be to pack for seven or more days aboard a luxury yacht. While our crew fully stocks the boat with essentials and luxe amenities, there are certain items you should plan to bring. Follow this no-fuss packing list to ensure a smooth yachting adventure, wherever your destination may be.

Your Packing Guide for Yachting in Warm Climates

It’s all about the aquaculture in picture-perfect yachting destinations like the Mediterranean, South Pacific and the Caribbean. Plan your wardrobe around spending half your time in a swimsuit. Does it get any better than that?

  • Two swimsuits — we encourage around the clock snorkeling and sunbathing!
  • 6 pieces of light clothing to throw over your swimsuit (t-shirts, beach coverups, sundresses, etc.)
  • One or two outfits for an evening on the town — you know what kind of traveler you are. If high-end restaurants are on your itinerary, pack accordingly.
  • Two or three pairs of shorts for exploring the sights and streets of your destination
  • One or two pairs of sandals or flip-flops and a pair of water shoes — although, barefoot is certainly the dress code aboard your yacht! Whatever footwear you choose, please ensure it won’t leave black sole marks on the boat.
  • A light rain jacket will keep you dry in squalls and cozy during any chilly evenings.

Your Packing Guide for Yachting in Every Climate

  • Two pairs of polarized sunglasses attached to sunglasses straps
  • Your favorite playlists — or rock out to ours!
  • Books or podcasts for a relaxing day at sea
  • Mask and snorkel, if you have your own. Otherwise, our crew has you covered.
  • Beach towel for days on the mainland. The yacht is fully stocked with plush bath towels.
  • Insulated bottle or cup to keep your drinks cool all day long
  • Hat and sunscreen lotion — the sunshine is always strong, no matter the temperature
  • Cell phone with roaming data + chargers — expect complimentary WiFi at many restaurants on shore. Most crewed yachts have basic internet available on board.
  • Passport, money, credit card — you might not locate an ATM for many nautical miles! Come prepared with plenty of cash and be sure to let your bank know you may use credit cards offshore.
  • Prescriptions and motion sickness medication, if necessary

Should we bring our own food and drinks?

The crew aboard your private yacht will have nearly everything you could want and need. If you have a specialty item in mind, you’re more than welcome to bring it along! All of our yachts are proud to offer fresh, premium food and drinks aboard every charter. We promise you’ll be thrilled with the five-star dining service and bottomless cocktails.

It just doesn’t get better than sunbathing on a chaise lounge with a cocktail in hand. From your favorite type of tequila to the snacks you crave, we stock the yacht with anything and everything you’ll want. Your wish is our command!

 

The Pre-Charter Preference Sheet Ensures Your Needs are Met

One of the most exciting and important steps of the pre-charter process is to list your food and beverage requests on the preference sheet. We’ll go above and beyond to meet your dining desires! Make note of any specific dietary restrictions or allergies anyone in your party may have.

Our team communicates all of your food and beverage requests to the chef about 6 weeks prior to your yacht charter. Get ready for a yachting getaway dripping in luxury!

Can we learn to dive aboard our charter?

Absolutely! Many of the yachts in our fleet offer SCUBA diving instruction from a certified crew member. If you aren’t certified, some yachts provide “Resort Diving” — an onboard SCUBA class that teaches all the basics you need to know before your first dive (maximum depth of 40’). This class If you’re interested in Resort Diving, let our team know ahead of time so we can pair you with the right charter.

Your captain and crew would love to show you the best diving spots around your yachting destination if you’re SCUBA certified. If you’d like to become certified while on board, there are four simple steps:

  1. Complete the online course (preferably before you board the yacht)
  2. Complete the pool portion
  3. Receive a referral letter
  4. Complete five open water SCUBA dives with the instructor

Good news! This can all easily be completed in a week on your charter.

Best SCUBA Spots in Your Yachting Destination

While most of our charters do offer SCUBA, there’s a slim possibility it isn’t available for charters in your desired destination. If that’s the case, you still have options! Many locations have SCUBA instructors that can teach you aboard their own boat then bring you back to the yacht afterward, called Rendez Vous Diving. This is incredibly common in the Caribbean and other diving hotspots. The other guests aboard the yacht can relax at the anchorage while you explore underwater. Win, win.

We love the yacht but not the food/drink menu. Can we customize the menu?

Of course! The menus you see on our website and brochures are there to give you an idea of what our chef can prepare. Use the sample menus as inspiration for the custom menu we’ll build using your preference sheet. No matter the yachting getaway you select, your private chef will design a custom menu around your taste preferences and dietary needs.

Inclusive and fully-crewed yachts have a set budget for means. For example, your charter may have a budget to serve lobster once. Anything beyond the budget will result in a surcharge. The chefs work around your tastes and preferences, so what’s served is completely up to you!

 

If Your Yacht is Larger…

The sky is the limit If you charter one of the larger yachts. The cost of provisions is packed into the provision allowance, so the budget for food and drinks is up to you. Every chef aboard our private yacht charters is hand selected because of their talent. We’re confident you’ll be impressed by the dining aboard your boat.

Can the chef work around dietary restrictions?

Most dietary needs can be met. Whether you’re vegan, gluten-free or anything in between, the crew will cater to your dietary specifications. We can also create special menus for any kids coming aboard.

We work closely with you prior to your yachting vacation to build a menu that works for your family and friends. Please communicate with your group to make food choices that work for everyone. While small changes can be made to the menu, the chef is unable to make different meals for each person. The amount of food and beverage options is based on the size of the yacht and the charter. We’ll do everything in our power to provide a menu everyone will love!

How much gratuity should I leave the crew?

It’s your call! The industry standard is 15-to-20 percent of the charter fee, but it’s at your discretion to tip more or less based on how you feel about the service. The crew is aboard your yacht to serve you all day every day. They do everything in their power to meet all of your requests.

It can be nervewracking to carry around large sums of money while traveling. While cash is certainly preferred, many crew members accept Paypal, Venmo, wire transfer or credit cards. Alternatively, you can arrange prepayment in part of full to your broker prior to your trip. On your go-ahead, your broker will release the payment to the crew.

The H2O Luxury Yachts Gratuity Guide

10 percent gratuity = The crew did a subpar job. The crew was less than great.

15 percent gratuity = Service was fine but the crew was mediocre.

20 percent gratuity = We LOVED everything about our H2O luxury yachting experience!

Whatever gratuity you give will be paid to the captain and distributed amongst the crew. Tipping is a huge part of the charter business and a main source of income for the crew members. Your yachting crew truly enjoys what they do, and gratuity for a job well done allows them to continue doing what they love.

If the Captain Owns the Boat, Does He Really Need a Tip?

Short answer, absolutely! It’s easy to assume your captain and crew have plenty of money because they own a yacht. Normally, the yacht is actually owned by the bank. The captain looks at the boat as a large investment and will go above and beyond to make sure you have an amazing charter. Just like any yacht charter, gratuity is the best way to tell your crew thanks for a job well done.

Cash or credit?

Cash is king around most yachting hotspots. Your AmEx will certainly go a long way in many mainland restaurants and shops, but it’s always safe to have money on hand. We recommend always using cash for tips and taxi rides.

We know you’ll take our word for it, but here’s some expert advice to back us up. Properly preparing for your yachting getaway saves you some serious cash and unnecessary stress. If you have questions about currency or credit cards, reach out to the H2O team for fast answers.

What happens if there’s a medical emergency aboard our yacht?

Great question. We can tell you plan ahead! If an accident happens while you’re abroad, your captain and crew are fully prepared to perform basic first aid and/or bring you to the nearest hospital. Your yacht is equipped with medical supplies and the contact info to local emergency services. To provide even more peace of mind, your private yacht has a dedicated medical officer aboard with advanced medical knowledge.

Even the most experienced travels should brush up on travel insurance options once in awhile. Traveling abroad often carries the risk that your medical insurance from home won’t cover you.

The H2O Luxury Yachts Insurance Guide

  • Medical Evacuation Insurance pays for emergency care and transportation. This can be purchased separately or as a part of your travel insurance policy.  
  • Travel Health Insurance covers emergency and routine services while overseas. Find out if your health insurance provider offers emergency coverage abroad.
  • Travel Insurance varies greatly between providers. Read the fine print for coverage details (Medical transport back to the US, emergency care, duration of travel, etc.)
  • DAN is insurance specifically for SCUBA divers. It protects against unexpected expenses while traveling.

Travel insurance is always a good idea. Basic insurance coverage ranges from four-to-seven percent depending on your getaway of choice. In some cases, your yacht charter might require insurance. Chat with the H2O Luxury Yachts team about insurance options provided by the yacht.

Make sure you inform the captain and crew of any pre-existing medical conditions. When you give your charter a head’s up, they can prepare for any possible emergencies. If you believe there’s any risk your condition may require treatment abroad, bring a letter from your doctor that details your condition and treatment plan. Another great idea is to keep a letter of medical necessity in your purse or wallet.

Will I get seasick aboard my luxury yacht charter?

Charter vessels under 100 feet in length can cause seasickness in some travelers. Bring any medications and take precautions if you know you’re prone to getting sick on the high seas. If you want to avoid the possibility altogether, opt for a multi-hulled catamaran or trimaran. Megayachts 100+ feet in length use an active stabilizer system to avoid queasiness in its passengers.

Many yachters use patches, ginger capsules or special bracelets to avoid sickness on the high seas. We’re all about filling every minute of your getaway with adventure and relaxation — there’s just no time for sickness aboard your private yacht! Your crew knows how hard the first day can be, so they’ll plan the first day’s voyage to be as calm as possible.

Breeze Through the First Day Aboard Your Private Yacht

Go the extra mile to make sure you don’t instigate seasickness within the first 24 hours. Avoid books, screens and relaxing indoors. The best remedy when you feel queasy is fresh air and a view of the horizon line. Not hard to accomplish when you’re in paradise!

One of the countless reasons yacht charters are so popular is because they often venture to calm, beautiful locations. Wherever you choose to travel, our captain and crew will always find a relaxing anchorage to spend the night. Don’t mistake too many cocktails for a bout of seasickness! Either way, your crew will have a cure for both.

Is travel insurance an absolute must?

Travel insurance is always a good idea. Basic insurance coverage ranges from four-to-seven percent depending on your getaway of choice. In some cases, your yacht charter might require insurance. Globetrotting comes with its fair share of risks.

Understanding your insurances options is the best way to stay safe on the high seas.

The H2O Luxury Yachts Insurance Guide

  • Medical Evacuation Insurance pays for emergency care and transportation. This can be purchased separately or as a part of your travel insurance policy.
  • Travel Health Insurance covers emergency and routine services while overseas. Find out if your health insurance provider offers emergency coverage abroad.
  • Travel Insurance varies greatly between providers. Read the fine print for coverage details (Medical transport back to the US, emergency care, duration of travel, etc.)
  • DAN is insurance specifically for SCUBA divers. It protects against unexpected expenses while traveling.

We always recommend exploring your insurance coverage choices. In some cases, mega yachts provide their own insurance.  Chat with the H2O Luxury Yachts team about insurance options provided by the yacht.

We fly into St. Thomas but the yacht’s docked on Tortola. How should we get there?

It’s much easier than you might think. You have a few different options to reach your luxury charter from the St. Thomas airport. The mode of transportation you choose comes down to budget and time constraints.

 

The Easiest Ways to Reach Tortola from STT

  1. Take a one-hour ferry ride from Red Hook or Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas to Tortola. We love this option for leisure travelers who want to get a taste of the VIs before setting sail! Keep in mind that ferries don’t run at night — take a look at this ferry schedule before arranging your travel. The roundtrip ferry cost is around $100 per person.
  2. Hire a private water taxi if your group of travelers is eight or more. This is the most convenient option because the taxi might take you directly to your yacht. The ease, leeway and timing make it a steal at $300 per person.
  3. Charter a flight from St. Thomas to Tortola for an easy travel option at any hour of the day or night. It might be the most expensive option, but reaching your luxury yacht in style makes it worth the cost.

Our flight lands the day before our charter begins. Where should we stay?

Good thinking. We always recommend our travelers arrive the day before the private charter. Most of our yacht charters begin in fabulous destinations, so you’ll simply have an extra evening in paradise when you arrive early. Reach out to the H2O Luxury Yachts team for a curated list of luxury hotels and Airbnbs.

Many of our yachters coordinate with us in advance to reserve a private charter that offers a “sleep aboard” option the night prior to embarkment. Board the yacht around 5 pm for welcome cocktails, dinner on or off the yacht and a freshly-prepared breakfast in the morning. You came for a luxury yachting experience, and this is the best way to start your trip.

We’d love to catch fish and lobster aboard our yacht. Will the chef cook what we catch?

We love adventurous travelers like you! Chat with the H2O Luxury Yachts travel pros before booking your getaway so we can pair you with a yacht equipped for fishing. Your fishing options also depend on the destination you choose. Laws are vastly different between each locale, so we’ll work with you to arrange your perfect getaway.

It’s crucial to coordinate with our team if you’d like fishing to be in your luxury yachting future. We’ll coordinate everything from the equipment to the yacht selection to make sure you have everything you need. Once you’re aboard your private yacht, your chef will do his best to feature your fresh catch of the day!

What’s a fully-chartered, all-inclusive yacht charter?

Prepare not to lift a finger during your private yachting getaway! The crew on board your inclusive charter takes care of everything — cooking, cleaning, sailing, you name it. Expect luxurious multi-course meals prepared by your private chef and a fully stocked bar.

Interested in a little extra? Specialty excursions like SCUBA or additional dockage locations may be extra. Any food or drinks that go outside of the scope may be an extra fee.

 

Plus All Expenses are Common on Mega-Yachts

This means the charter you chose doesn’t include running expenses in the base price. Everyday essentials from cocktails to fuel costs are charged separately. Typically the running expenses are paid by an Advanced Provisioning Allowance (APA), which is between 20-to-30 percent of the charter fee.

How can I locate the best SCUBA spots?

This is where your fantastic captain and crew come in! Whatever charter you choose, you can count on the team to navigate you and your friends to the best SCUBA spots. Your best bet is to select a SCUBA-specific yacht from our website if diving is a priority.

Evaluate Your Level of SCUBA Experience and Interest

While every captain is capable of connecting you with SCUBA specialists at your destination, not all yachts are equipped for dives. Chat with our team for a tailored getaway focused on your level of diving experience and amount of diving you desire.

It’s our job to pair you and your friends with the perfect yachting accommodations. Provide the H2O Luxury Yachts team with a breakdown of your traveling priorities, interests and concerns. We’re here to make your dream getaway a reality!

What’s a captain-only charter?

The charter fee includes the vessel, captain and possibly a mate. The captain is responsible for operating the yacht but may need your help dropping anchor and setting sail. This is a great way to become a better boater! Book a captain-only charter for first-hand experience operating and navigating a vessel.

 

Expect to pay extra for all the frills and necessities. Food, water, fuel and meals for the captain are all additional costs. This is a lot of hard work for your captain — please assist and tip accordingly.

What does “plus-all” expenses mean?

Rates for larger motor yachts don’t always include running expenses like food, dockage and fuel. Instead of an upfront “all inclusive” fee, the final step to your plus-all luxury charter is paying all remaining expenses.

Enjoy Your Charter and be Aware of Expenses

You probably aren’t counting your pennies if you’re considering a luxury charter — but no one likes to be surprised with a hefty bill.

Expect to pay 20-to-30-percent of the charter fee with your final payment to cover all additional costs. Industry talk for this payment is an APA — Advanced Provisioning Allowance. The captain keeps a running tab of expenses during your getaway and keeps you up to date with the total cost.

Plus-All Expenses can be a Huge Plus for Yachters

Plus-all luxury charters can actually be a more economical choice for yachters. It’s often difficult to anticipate how much food, drinks and other expenses will be used on a mega yacht. If you’re hesitant to book a charter that lacks a fixed budget, chat with the H2O Luxury Yachts team for some help.

What if my yacht doesn’t offer SCUBA on board?

Most charters are equipped and ready to go for divers! Although, there’s always a small chance onboard diving isn’t available at your destination. No need to worry — you have choices!

Rendez Vous Diving is a Popular Choice for Yachters

Plenty of yachting destinations have SCUBA instructors in the area that provide instruction on their own boat then bring you back to your charter. This is a popular diving option in the Caribbean and other diving hotspots. Partnering with a local dive guide is great for a couple of reasons:

  • Local guides know all the hotspots for eerie shipwrecks, bustling reefs and active sea life
  • Take comfort knowing you and your dive group are following all of the local rules and regulations

Sound intriguing? We totally agree. Chat with us today about SCUBA options during your yachting getaway.

Do you have a question not answered here? We’d love to hear it!

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