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5 Amazing Caribbean Yacht Charter Cocktails To Try Right Now

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“I’m looking forward to my first St. Martin yacht charter vacation, and my travel companions and I are having a Caribbean themed party to get super psyched about our trip.  Any suggestions for traditional island cocktails to put us in the proper frame of mind?”

Angel A., Miami


Now that’s the spirit, Angel!  What a fantastic idea to get pumped about your Caribbean escape.

We’re not too embarrassed to admit enjoying a libation or two (or three) during our own yachting excursions in the islands. Local specialties can be found throughout the Caribbean, but we’ve narrowed down the choices to our fav five (in no particular order).

As you sip these drinks, keep in mind you can heighten your experience by throwing on a pair of flip-flops, hiding behind a pair of Maui Jim sunglasses, and swaying to a little “Havana Daydreamin” with Jimmy Buffet.

Smooth sailing, Angel…


Photo of Mojito cocktail on a picnic table

Mojito – Cuba yacht charter

Some things are quintessential Cuban – hand-made cigars, guayabera linen shirts, and minty Mojitos. The history of Cuba’s signature drink dates back to the 16th century, when Sir Francis Drake and his comrades drank a mixture of crushed mint leaves, lime and unrefined rum. Locals say Hemingway drank them at Le Bodeguita del Medio in Havana, and James Bond enjoyed one in 2002’s Die Another Day.



Left side photo is a frozen painkiller drink with straw and right hand photo is sailboat anchored with british virgin islands written on it

Painkiller – British Virgin Islands yacht charter

Made with Pusser’s Rum, The Painkiller cocktail originated at the Soggy Dollar Bar on Jost Van Dyke island in the BVIs.  The drink was once made with a secret rum recipe by Daphne Henderson, the owner of the Soggy Dollar.  Charles Tobias, the founder of the Pusser’s rum distillery, persuaded Henderson to share her recipe. We’re glad she did, as Painkiller cocktails are now readily available throughout the Caribbean.


Picture of a Ti Punch cocktail on a wooden table

Ti Punch – Martinique yacht charter

More an aperitif than cocktail, this simple mix of white rum, cane sugar and lime is usually served straight and is popular in all of the French Caribbean islands – Martinique, Guadeloupe, and the French side of St. Martin. Easy to make, it’s usually  served “to taste” – drinkers are presented with a glass of rum, a lime, and some syrup to make it up as they wish.




We know what you’re thinking – we promised five killer cocktails but only named three.  You caught us!

Submit our contact form (here) requesting the other 2 great drinks, and we’ll send you the names AND the recipes to make all 5 of our favorite island-themed Caribbean yacht charter cocktails.  Look forward to hearing from you and sharing some cocktails!

What’s your favorite tropical cocktail to drink while on your yacht charter?  Leave a comment below!

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Ask the Pros: Are Private Yacht Charter Boats As Safe As Cruise Ships?

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“My neighbor recently rented a boat with a crew for a family vacation in the Virgin Islands. It sounds like fun but I wonder if it’s safer to take a cruise on a big ship.  Any thoughts that might sway me? Thanks.”

Marilyn W, Miami, FL

Great question, Marilyn. In our opinion, private yachts are actually safer.

Cruise ships visit numerous ports of call (often referred to as, “tourist traps”).  It’s no secret that pickpockets and other petty-theft criminals prey on unsuspecting tourists in these busy tourist areas.  Private yachts tend to stay away from these hot spots, and since the yachts are smaller, they can anchor in small, quiet (un-crowded) coves.

Speaking of crowds, there are hundreds, sometimes thousands, of strangers onboard a cruise ship. We’ve all seen the news reports about Norovirus breakouts on cruise ships. In their defense, the cruise lines are diligent in cleaning their vessels, but with so many people onboard, it’s a tough task.  That’s not the case on a Virgin Island yacht charter vessel – the only people onboard are you and your private crew.

Children jumping off of the back of a sailboat into the ocean

In terms of training, both the crews on cruise ships and private yachts are trained to international standards in case of the rare chance of an onboard emergency.  Remember – the crew on a private yacht has to attend to the yacht’s owner when charter guests are not onboard. It’s a safe bet that most yacht owners want the finest professionals operating their yachts!


What do you think?  Do you agree with our opinion?  Are private yachts safer than cruiseships?  Please comment below.  We’d love to hear from you!

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Ask the Yacht Charter Pros: How to Pay Less VAT (Tax) on a France Yacht Charter Vacation?

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“I’m planning a 10 day private yacht charter in St. Tropez and the South of France in July. My broker say VAT is 20%. That’s seems a lot. Is there way to not pay this?”
Xavier E, Barcelona, Spain

Answer provided by Jana Sheeder, President 1-800 Yacht Charters:

“The bad news, Xavier, is all charters that take place in a European Union (EU) country are subject to VAT (Value Added Tax). However, we have good news as well – there is a simple, legal strategy that can cut your VAT expense in half.

Instead of paying 20%, this strategy will reduce your VAT to 10% of your base charter fee – a significant savings!

VAT EU logo yacht charter france
Each EU country can set their own level of VAT on commercial yachts for hire. In France, if the yacht undertakes a coastal cruise in French territorial waters, the VAT is 20% of the base charter fee (the base fee is the cost to rent the yacht before factoring in other running expenses such as food, dockage, etc.). So, for example, if you began your charter in Saint Tropez, and cruised along the Côte d’Azur and concluded your trip in Antibes, you would incur a VAT expense of 20%.

However, IF you plan a portion of your charter to cruise in international waters, your legal responsibility for VAT drops to 10% – a savings of 50%!

So how do you do this? Here’s how: When you are planning your itinerary with the yacht’s captain prior to the commencement of your charter, let the captain know that you would like to, “visit a port that requires you to cruise in international waters and beyond the coast of France.”

You could, for example, leave the French coast and cruise to the island of Sardinia. This is approximately a 5-7 hour cruise from the South of France.

{TIP: ask your captain to undertake this crossing overnight, while you and your guests are sleeping. Then, when you rise in the morning, you’ll be able to spend a full day, or longer along the coastline of this fabled Italian island before heading back to France}.

So there you have it – with a little strategic planning, a slight deviation in your St Tropez yacht charter can result in big savings; possibly thousands of Euros depending upon the cost of your charter.”


Photograph of Jana Sheeder sitting on a yacht

Jana Sheeder, President of 1-800 Yacht Charters and 1-800 BAREBOAT

Have a question about a yacht charter vacation?

Submit your question to me, and our team will help you.

If we print your question in our blog, we’ll send you a complimentary Eco-tote bag.

Email me at

Thank you and keep those questions coming!!!


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Debunked – 3 Common Myths About Hiring A Private Yacht Charter Broker

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While direct booking of a self-drive bareboat is common and the norm, the same cannot be said for renting a crewed yacht. Organizing vacations on crewed yachts, especially ultra-expensive superyacht charter vessels, requires the assistance of an intermediary since few owners have the time, patience, or interest in dealing directly with prospective charter customers.  After all, few yacht owners became billionaires by chatting with strangers on the phone!

It’s hard to dispute the important role retail brokers play in arranging crewed private yacht charter vacations. Most have an extensive understanding of the industry, including the first-hand experience of inspecting charter yachts, interviewing the crews, and preparing charter agreements.  A good broker is key to a successful and unforgettable superyacht experience.

Using a retail yacht charter broker, however, is not a guarantee of a great yachting vacation.  There are many misconceptions – some promulgated by the brokers themselves.  Exposing these fallacies can save headaches and’s look at, and debunk, three common myths associated with the services of a retail charter broker:


MYTH #1:  Every Broker will get you the Same Exact Price.

This is the most common misconception, and many brokers will quickly use this line to encourage a prospective client not to call other competitors. While it’s true there is a published “rack” rate available to all retail brokers, just like upscale resorts, villas, and jets, sometimes there are multiple pricing options.

Jana Sheeder, President of 1-800 Yacht Charters explains: “In situations where we have delivered multiple charters to a particular yacht owner, we are in a unique position to secure ‘best column pricing’ for our preferred clients – prices that other retails brokers cannot obtain.

Jana Sheeder photo

Sheeder goes on to explain how relationships and reputations also play a role in securing preferred pricing.  “If you’re honest and respectful, over the years, you build relationships with captains and yacht managers.  I can’t tell you how many times we have reached out to a captain to ask for a professional courtesy discount for one of our clients.  The captains have the ear of the owner and often can encourage an owner who would normally not offer any discounts, to give our client a special rate.”

The bottom line  – the best brokers can, on occasion, secure rates not available to other brokers.  When considering the hiring of your charter broker, directly ask the broker if all brokers gets the same prices.  If he or she says “Yes,” move on and find another broker!


MYTH #2:  The Charter Broker’s Commission is Paid by the Yacht Owner, and not by the Charterer.

While it serves as a great marketing phrase for many brokers, saying “My advice to you is free,” it’s simply not true.  Yes, the commission check received by the broker comes from the yacht owner’s account, but just as in real estate, the list prices have been adjusted to account for the fees earned by brokers.

Sheeder bristles at the notion of free advice. “Many brokers are quick to state their services are free, and you’ll see this marketing slogan prominently displayed on their websites.  We have greater respect for our clients.  While there is great value in the services we offer – nothing is free, and an educated consumer is aware that the prices offered by a yacht owner include the cost of the retail charter broker’s services.” 

This is even more evident when booking a bareboat yacht charter, as bareboat companies take in direct reservations and will often give customers discounts of 10 to 15%  – the amount they save if no charter broker is involved.

Sheeder feels complete transparency is the best course of action.  “We tell our clients exactly how much our services cost in terms of a commission.  We don’t apologize for what we earn, and we bend over backwards to deliver killer customer service.  I believe our clients appreciate our confidence and our candor.”

Sample luxury yacht charter competitors’ promises to you:

“Our advice is free…”
“…provide you with free advice…”

The bottom line
– don’t fall for flashy marketing terms and buzzwords.  Nothing is for free, and you, the buyer, are paying the cost of the charter reservation services rendered to you.


two hands, palms up, holding a green post-it not that reads, ADVICE



MYTH #3:  Charter Brokers Offer Unbiased Advice.

Many brokers are employees of large yacht management companies.  These companies, sometimes called “Central Agents,” handle crew placement, yacht sales, and charter management.

Sheeder explains how this multi-service model can lead to bias on the part of a retail broker:  “A retail broker who is employed by a central agency is in a position to present a potential charterer with yachts that are managed in-house.  Not only is a commission generated when an in-house managed yacht is booked for a charter, but an additional ‘management’ fee is earned by the central agency.” 

In other words, a central agency makes more money when their own retail brokers book yachts in their own fleet. Those yachts are not necessarily the best choice for your customized charter.


The bottom line – To minimize bias, Sheeder recommends retaining an independent retail yacht charter broker.  Similar to hiring an independent insurance agent who represents multiple product lines, an independent charter broker is more likely to present prospective clients with yacht selections from a multitude of Central Agency fleets.


Understanding the myths and misconceptions of the role of a retail yacht charter broker is fundamental to any successful yachting vacation.  Having a full-time industry expert to offer objective, transparent advice can be invaluable in creating your ultimate superyacht experience.


Thinking about a private charter vacation?  Speak to the industry team with more than 30 years’ experience.  Call 1-800 Yacht Charters today at 1-800-922-4824 or 305-253-7245, or fill out our convenient online contact form here.

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WHO owns Super Yacht SERENE, (former) Largest Luxury Yacht Charter Vessel in the World?

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“Hey, 1-800 Yacht Charters. I saw ‘Serene’ while i (sic) was on vacation in France last summer. Beautiful yacht!  Can you tell me who owns her?”

Bob C. Atlanta, GA


Thanks for asking, Bob.  There’s an old saying, “I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you!”  LOL

All kidding aside, one of the alluring benefits of luxury yacht charters is the element of privacy.  We carefully guard the identity of our charter clients and their guests – both for reasons of safety and discretion.

The same discipline applies to the owners of the yachts we offer for charter, as most prefer to remain anonymous.

That being said, certain details were recently released to the public, so now we CAN share that information with you:

In an article on October 15th, 2016, the New York Times ran a story entitled, “Rise of Saudi Prince Shatters Decades of Royal Tradition.” The story disclosed last year, Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s deputy crown prince, “…saw a yacht he couldn’t resist.”

That yacht is the 440 foot motor yacht SERENE

SERENE yacht underway


The article reads, “While vacationing in the south of France, Prince bin Salman spotted a 440-foot yacht floating off the coast. He dispatched an aide to buy the ship, the Serene, which was owned by Yuri Shefler, a Russian vodka tycoon. The deal was done within hours, at a price of approximately 500 million euros (roughly $550 million today), according to an associate of Mr. Shefler and a Saudi close to the royal family. The Russian moved off the yacht the same day.”

Built in 2011, Fincantieri yacht SERENE is the largest yacht ever launched in Italy and features more than 4,000 square meters of interior space spread across seven decks, plus two helipads and a hangar. At the time of her launch, she was the 9th largest yacht in the world and the largest yacht available for charter.

Each year, the newest yachts get bigger and bigger.  As of mid-2016, the yacht had “dropped” to #13 on the list world’s largest yachts.

So there you have it, Bob – now you know the names of BOTH the former and current owner of superyacht SERENE!

See the world’s newest yachts for charter, offered by 1-800 Yacht Charters.

Contact us at 305-720-7245 or fill out our convenient online book now form at to plan your own private luxury yacht charter on a yacht like Serene.


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Yacht Charter Pros Answer – Will New Rules In British Virgin Islands Impact Private Yacht Charter Guests?

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In what appears to be a case of “Security versus Tourism,” the British Virgin Islands (BVI’s) have initiated a new policy wherein everyone coming into the territory by sea is now required to present himself/herself IN PERSON to immigration authorities.  This includes guests on both bareboat yacht charter and superyacht charter vessels.

The policy takes effect immediately…

New immigration rules in BVI require yacht charter travelers to check in with security in person

According to a government spokesperson, Her Majesty Customs of the Virgin Islands has, “…taken this step to minimize the potential entry of criminals, firearms and illegal substances into the territory.”

Will the revamped policy affect charter passengers?  Jana Sheeder, President of 1-800 Yacht Charters, explains how the new procedure differs from prior requirements: “In the past, only the captains of yachts were required to disembark and take with him or her all of the passports of the onboard guests. Now everyone is required to present themselves with their passports and their belongings.”

No one disputes the sovereignty of the local authorities to safeguard their islands and residents. Still, for an island economy that depends heavily upon charter yacht tourism, the new policy seems a bit draconian, especially when there is little evidence to suggest tourists, and not local residents of the US and British island chains, are responsible for any uptick in criminal activity.

So, are local authorities barking up the wrong tree?  Sheeder thinks so.  She questions the necessity to impose upon well-heeled travelers who have already been “pre-screened” through the yacht charter reservation process. “The idea that firearms and illegal contraband will be brought ashore by luxury yacht charter guests is misplaced,” says Sheeder.  “Clients sign a charter agreement that clearly outlines firearms, narcotics, and contraband are not permitted onboard.  Furthermore, being in possession of such contraband can lead to the immediate termination of the charter – without refund.”

If any illicit materials are discovered by the crew, the yacht will proceed to the nearest port, where the guests will be escorted off the yacht. With so much at stake, there seems little need to further screen these guests and their crews upon entry into the BVI.

How will the new regulations impact yacht charter tourism in the BVI?   It’s too soon to tell, as the new rules went into effect September 1st.  It is possible charter vessels will simply bypass the British portion of the Virgin Islands and modify their itineraries to focus solely on the US and Spanish Virgin Islands, where captains can still clear the passports for all onboard guests.

British Virgin Islands government administration building where cyacht charter guests must check in


In the the short-run, Sheeder is confident the impact upon charter clients can be minimized.  “We pride ourselves in delivering the superyacht experience. We will offer our clients alternative destinations in the US and Spanish Virgin Islands, and throughout the Caribbean.  For those clients who still wish to explore the BVI, we know we can rely on the captains and crew.  If they need to carry the luggage and escort the guests into the immigration office and back to the yacht, we know that they will do so in the most efficient, professional, and friendly manner.”

Planning a yachting vacation?  Check out the hottest SPECIALS here

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