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Tag Archives: Spanish Virgin Islands

NO Passport Required – 3 Overlooked Luxury Yacht Charter Destinations For Americans

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US passport with a red NO symbol and slash through it

 

NO TICKY, NO LAUNDRY ?

So, you’re just itching to get back on the water and enjoy another private luxury yacht charter vacation.  Suddenly, you remember your wife mentioned it was time to renew your family’s passports…six months ago!

Now you’re in a pickle.  You go to the United States Department of State website, and your heart sinks…  According to the site, the total time it takes to process a routine passport application, and for you to receive the mailed passport, is 4 to 6 weeks.  Yikes!

Even with expedited (code for: “more expensive”) service, it will still take at least 2-3 weeks from the time of application, including mailing time.

Without valid passports, it looks like that last-minute charter yacht vacation is going to be put on hold.

Or is it?????????

 

NO SHOES, NO SHIRT, NO PASSPORT REQUIRED

Fortunately for you, there are several great Caribbean yacht charter destinations where a passport is not required to enjoy a luxury yacht charter holiday.  These destinations are often overlooked by Americans – bypassed for the traditional charter hotspots like the British Virgin Islands, St Barts, and the Bahamas.  Most are within a half-day’s travel time from much of the United States, and are all are well worth a visit by boat.

Here are three of our favorite destinations where bare feet and bathing suits are the dress code, and passports are not required…

 

THE NO PASSPORT REQUIRED LIST

Beach and blue ocean with mountains in background

 

  • US VIRGIN ISLANDS (St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix, and Water Island) – Just a rock’s throw away from the more popular British Virgin Islands, the USVI is ideal for a short-term getaway, say 3-4 nights.  Yes, there are dozens of small islands to visit in the BVI, the USVI has some great protected anchorages, wonderful snorkeling, fantastic nature preserves, and a major international airport in St. Thomas that makes coming and going a snap.Yacht Charter tip:   consider starting your trip from Red Hook (St. Thomas), on the east end of the island, versus the downtown area of the capital, Charlotte Amalie.  This way, you can avoid the congestion and large crowds of tourists that swarm Charlotte Amalie when the numerous cruise ships arrive.

    Things to do:   There are just SO many wonderful activities to do in St. Thomas.  Here are just a few (thanks to the USVI Tourism Bureau):

  • Visit a tropical botanical garden
  • Zipline the Virgin Islands
  • Take a helicopter tour around the island
  • Skydive in St. Thomas
  • Go duty-free shopping
  • Volunteer at the local animal shelter
  • Go on a birdwatching tour

 

  • SPANISH VIRGIN ISLANDS (Vieques, Culebra, and a multitude of smaller islands and cays) – Did you know the Spanish Virgins are only 6 miles off the eastern coastline of Puerto Rico?  The United States military used these islands for bombing practice until 2003, so there has been little exploitation in term of commercial development – a round-about way to say the islands are pristine and unspoiled.  The water is crystal clear, and the reefs are teeming with marine life.Yacht charter tip:  Try to plan your luxury yacht charter during the week, and not on the weekend – local boaters from the mainland invade on the weekends!

    Things to do: For fantastic vistas, hike up to the small lighthouse on the highest hill on Culebrita island, or snorkel or SCUBA dive the reefs along the 12-mile chain of little islands known as La Cordillera

Girl in white bathingsuit wearing mask and yellow snorkel and snorkeling in front of a caribbean fort

 

  • KEY WEST (and the nearby Florida Keys) – This is truly the easiest destination to reach for Americans, as you can get there by plane, car, or even by boat.   The southernmost city in the United States, Key West is an island paradise and unlike anywhere else in the country.  The locals are quirky but fun-loving folks, and there’s plenty of points of interest, and lots of protected anchorages in the adjacent lower Florida Keys chain of islands.Yacht charter tip:  many of the world’s largest yachts call South Florida home.  A large fleet of luxury yacht charter vessels are based in Miami and Fort Lauderdale.  Consider a one-way charter, starting in Miami or Ft. Lauderdale, then cruising south through the Florida Keys and concluding in eclectic Key West.  A one-way trip will give you more exposure to the unique charm of the Keys, and you can fly home from Key West International Airport.

    Things to do:  Cruise to Fort Jefferson off the coast of Key West, and snorkel in the clear waters; stroll the shops, art galleries, and casual bars along Duvall Street;  experience the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory

 

FORGET YOUR PASSPORT AND START PACKING

Booking a luxury yacht charter in one of these passport–free destinations is as simple as contacting the charter professionals here at 1-800 Yacht Charters at https://www.1800yachtcharters.com/book-now-contact-us/ .  You don’t even need to tell us you forgot to renew your passport – we’ll probably guess, anyway!  Just tell us the destination you wish to visit, your desired dates, how many guests in your party, and your preferred budget.  We’ll take it from there!!!

Text “NO PASSPORT CHARTER” to 305-720-7245 for more information on your private luxury yacht charter getaway…

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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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