Frequently asked questions

Airport Transfer

Please see details for each destination under "how to get here”. Transferring by yourself, to the marina from the airport or ferry dock, is an easy process. Airport transfers are not included in your charter fee, except in French Polynesia.

Bad weather - what happens if this is forecasted?

Adverse weather in the Caribbean, and at our bases world-wide: Rainy season in the Caribbean officially runs from 1 June through 30 November every year. If you are about to travel and are concerned that your forthcoming holiday maybe affected by adverse weather conditions then please read this important advice and information: At TradeWinds your safety is of paramount importance to us. We constantly monitor the weather satellites and channels all year round. While it can be difficult to predict the tracking of a weather system with perfect accuracy, we check every new Public Advisory notice and confer with our colleagues at our various bases. If you wish to check on the progress of a weather system in the Caribbean then we recommend that you check only the Weather Channel or the National Hurricane Center website - http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ as there are many weather sites who paint very inaccurate pictures of the situation. Very many of our Members have taken advantage of our special summer discounts, and have had the most wonderful experiences sailing our fine shores during rainy season, however there is always the potential for bad weather. If this should occur - this is how we handle it: If it is decided that it is not safe to send out our boats due to the threat of bad weather then we will contact all prospective guests and advise them that the cruise has been canceled. This step is, however, very rare. We have found over the years that in most instances we have been able to simply re-route the cruise to avoid bad weather. In the highly unlikely event that bad weather should approach unexpectedly while you are already out sailing and it is felt that it would be unsafe for you to remain onboard, your crew will bring you ashore at the first possible opportunity so that you can be accommodated in a land resort. Following this, you can then either continue with your sailing vacation once the weather has passed through, or return to your home. TRAVEL INSURANCE IS A MUST AT THIS TIME OF YEAR, as you'll be able to be reimbursed any costs you incur - such as unexpected flight changes and unforeseen accommodation requirements. That's why our Reservations team will always recommend that you purchase travel insurance. Please see this link www.travelinsurancecenter.com/ Regarding flight interruptions or changes on your journey to or from our base, please liaise directly with the appropriate airline to ascertain if your flight will be affected. The best way to do this is to visit their website, which will have the latest information and instructions. Please follow any instructions or guidance given by the airline.

Can I bring my sleep apnea machine?

Our yachts can supply 12V DC electricity to your cabin (with prior notice). If you wish to bring aboard a sleep apnea machine please ensure that you have your own battery pack (available from electrical stores such as Radioshack). These packs will run the machine for three nights before needing a charge. We can charge these for you from our 12V DC supply during daytime.

Can we bring our children with us?

There is an age limit of 16 years old on shared charters. Children under the age of 16 are welcome, but only if you book the entire yacht, or sign up on one of our "Family Charters", which allow for a family to share the yacht with another family. Please contact our Reservations team for more details.

Can we charge our cameras and reading devices?

We have electrical outlets onboard where you can charge your electrical devices.

Can we fish?

We have a fishing rod on each yacht and often catch fish as we sail between each small Island. When possible you may bring the fish up and your Captain will assist you. Your catch may become that night's dinner, fresh off the yacht's barbecue. Fishing is not permitted in British Virgin Islands due to local restrictions in the marine regulations, in order to help safeguard the fish population, but we promise to bring you places to enjoy the fishes through the lens of your snorkel mask.

Can you accommodate special dietary needs?

Yes we can. Nowadays we see more and more guests with special needs such as lactose free, gluten free, vegan, no fish, no red meat etc requests - and we can cater to all these needs as long as you let us know in detail at the time of your booking.

Crew gratuities

Gratuities are at your own discretion and if you feel that your crew have done a wonderful job then a gratuity would be most welcome! The suggested guidelines from the industry standard is 15% to 18% of the all inclusive rate.

Do we wear shoes onboard?

Don’t worry about footwear, you will spend most week onboard barefoot! It’s a good idea to bring a pair of TEVA style sandals that sit good on your foot if you want to hike and sightsee the Islands. Flip flops for shore excursions are also suggested. For those members cruising with us in French Polynesia, please make sure that you have footwear that is suitable to enable you to walk over the coral, which often reaches right to the edge of the shoreline.

Do you provide a hairdryer?

We can provide a hairdryer onboard.

Emergency contact numbers?

All yacht Captains carry cell phones and each yacht has a VHF radio onboard. Contact numbers are listed under each destination.

How do we know if we will get along with the other guests onboard?

This is a common question or thought. We have found, after more than a decade of providing charters, that people who are drawn to this kind of quality adventure are usually outgoing and friendly people, who may have traveled extensively already, and are keen to experience a different kind of vacation. Surprisingly, many of our guests have never sailed on a boat before, and find they love it. Our shared charters are very popular and most enjoyable, and our guests meet and make new friends each week.

Is internet access available?

Internet is not available except at certain Internet cafes along certain routes. Allow yourself to ‘unplug’ from the grid during your sailing week, and enjoy a true vacation. Your Captain has a cell phone for emergency use so you are not totally disconnected.

Is smoking permitted?

Smoking is not permitted inside the yacht. Smoking is only allowed on the back steps, where the smoke drifts away and will not disturb the other guests.

Is there air conditioning?

Luxury and Flagship Class yachts are equipped with air conditioning systems. Cruising Class yachts do have air conditioning, but it is on AC current,so it is only run on the dock (or occasionally on charter by generator - but definitely not all night!). All cabins have overhead and side hatches [windows] and small fans that allow for your cabin to be well ventilated. Please note the sun sets around 6 pm in the Caribbean and Central America, allowing the evenings to cool down in time for bed!

Land accommodation before and after our cruise?

We have associate resorts and other hotels we can recommend in the area of your cruise. You can find more information in our website, or you can ask the Reservations consultant who is helping you.

Scuba diving

Scuba diving is available at all our destinations except in Greece, due to Greek government restrictions. Divers must hold a complete certification (PADI Open Water or equivalent). Partial certifications are not sufficient. TradeWinds does not offer instructional scuba dives, however, we have teemed up with Reef CI in Belize where you can arrive 5 days prior to your cruise for an intensive PADI scuba course in order to get your certification. Find more details at www.reefci.com or from the reservations consultant who is assisting you.

TradeWinds provides all equipment related to scuba diving; mask, fins, snorkel, BCD, regulator, weights, tank). Extras such as wet suits and dive computers are not provided. Feel free to bring your own equipment if you wish, but please note that, irrespective of whether you bring your own equipment or use ours, the fee is the same. Diving is free of charge to the majority of our members (please check with your reservations consultant as to whether you qualify or not). The fee for all other guests is US$75 per person per one tank dive. This is not a dedicated dive charter and there will be around 3 opportunities to dive during your cruise.

Travel Insurance

We strongly recommend you purchase a fully comprehensive travel insurance, as the relatively small cost of this will cover eventualities from loss of luggage to accommodation due to flight delays etc. Please click travel insurance details. Alternatively contact your local travel agent.

Water skiing/ Jet ski

Water skiing/Jetski is not available, as many Caribbean governments do not allow motorised high speed sports near the beaches, in order to preserve them and keep noise pollution down. Some destinations have outside vendors offering jet skiing possibilities.

What about sea sickness?

All our yachts are catamarans (with two hulls) making them so much more stable than a monohull boat. The waters are generally calm, and our guests rarely suffer from sea sickness. If you are concerned, please bring some form of prevention. These days you can get tablets like ‘Dramamine’. Alternatively, schedule a visit to your local GP can prescribe a seasickness patch containing ‘Scopolamine’ which you place behind your ear. These seem to work very well and are recommended by the users.

What if our flight arrives after 5 pm on Saturday?

You can still join us later on the same day of boarding, but we highly recommend that you arrive in time to board for 5 pm. It's too much fun to miss out on!

What is included in our cruise and what is not included?

The best thing with an all inclusive TradeWinds vacation is that once you have booked and paid your charter there are no hidden fees or added surprises.

Cruising and Luxury Class;

A double cabin with a full or queen size bed with a private ensuite bathroom with WC and shower, the provision of a professional Captain and a First Mate/Chef, all meals and beverages served onboard (breakfast, lunch and dinner) fresh fruit is available to snack on between meals, an open bar with good quality brand names, soft drinks, juices, beers, wines and liquors. All bed linens and towels, including beach towels. All taxes, cruising permits, snorkel equipment and kayak. Diving is included free of charge to the majority of our members (please check with your reservations consultant as to whether you qualify or not).

Not included are; two evening meals taken ashore, for which each guest is responsible for the cost thereof. For those guests who do not qualify for for free scuba diving, diving is charged at US$75.00 per person per dive, and all equipment relating to scuba diving (except personal dive computers) is available to certified divers.

Crew gratuities are not included.

Flagship Class;

A stateroom with an Island-style queen size bed with a private ensuite bathroom with WC and separate shower, the provision of a professional Captain, a Chef and a First Mate, all meals and beverages served onboard (breakfast, lunch and dinner) fresh fruit is available to snack on between meals, an open bar with good quality brand names, soft drinks, juices, beers, wines and liquors. All bed linens and towels including beach towels. All taxes, cruising permits, snorkel equipment and kayak. Diving is included free of charge to the majority of our members (please check with your reservations consultant as to whether you qualify or not).

Not included are; two evening meals taken ashore, for which each guest is responsible for the cost thereof. For those guests who do not qualify for for free scuba diving, diving is charged at US$75.00 per person per dive, and all equipment relating to scuba diving (except personal dive computers) is available to certified divers.

Crew gratuities are not included.

What kind of entertainment is available onboard?

All yachts have CD players with i-pod connectors, so feel free to share your favourite music onboard. A limited selection of books and board games is available.

What should we bring with us?

Please pack as lightly as you can. Most of our guests wear only a fraction of what they bring! All you really need are shorts, tee shirts and beachwear - and possibly a light wrap or sweater for the evening. In addition to this, perhaps something a little more dressy for the two evenings you will be dining ashore - such as a shirt with a collar (to go with the shorts) for the gentlemen and a sun-dress for the ladies. A casual, enjoyable evening out!

Sunscreen, a good hat and sunglasses are a MUST to bring.

Soft luggage is preferable if you have it. We have some limited storage onshore for your empty bags, but please bring as little as you are comfortable with.

Between meals, fresh fruit is available. If you like to eat more between meals then please feel free to bring snacks with you.

What time should we arrive and depart?

All charters start on Saturday at 5 pm and end on Saturday at 9 am (except for our Lefkas, Greece, destination which begins on Sunday at 5 pm and ends on Sunday at 9 am). At all our destinations you are welcome to check in during the day, drop off your luggage and then relax at a nearby café/bar or go and sightsee in the local area. Boarding is at 5 pm on Saturday evening (at 5 pm on Sunday evening in Lefkas, Greece). The following Saturday morning, after a delicious breakfast you are invited to disembark at 9 am. If you have an early flight out then this can be accommodated, as your yacht will be back in port on Friday night.

Will my cell phone work?

Please contact your provider to find out if you need to make upgrades for the region where you are sailing in order to be connected. We recommend that you ‘unplug’ for your week's sailing experience.

Will the bugs/mosquitos be a problem?

No, one of the beauties of sailing is that you don’t get the bugs out on the water. When going ashore for the two evenings out you may want to use some repellent to fend off possible bugs, but it's not usually a problem.

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