Repeat clients are the bread and butter of the yacht charter industry, particularly in tough economic times such as these. But when guests come back to your boat “same time, same place,” each year, finding new ways to entertain them can become a challenge.
Here are some unique and memorable adventures you may want to introduce your guests to in the Caribbean this winter. Just be sure to bring along a camera!
1. Desert Island Delight
Okay, most charter clients return to the British Virgin Islands because of their familiarity. The guests want to groove to the island beat at Foxy’s on Jost van Dyke, dive the wreck of the RMS Rhone, climb around the boulders at The Baths on Virgin Gorda and maybe tie one on aboard the Willy T. But for a fresh twist on the BVI, take the next boatload of clients to a real desert island. Anegada, which means “the drowned land,” is a 10-mile pancake at the northwest end of the BVI, 14 miles from Virgin Gorda. This uncrowded isle has 16 miles worth of sandy beaches, Cow Wreck Beach comes highly recommended, and you can find good snorkeling along Horseshoe Reef.
2. High in the Sky
Many charter yachts treat St. Martin/Sint Maarten as a way station for embarking and disembarking guests rather than a destination in itself, but consider planning a day ashore next time in order to take advantage of one of the island’s more novel attractions. Both Lucille Frye of BWA Yachting – Caribbean and Brian E. Deher of Island Global Yachting recommend the Fly Zone zip line experience at Loterie Farm at Pic Paradis on the island’s French side. Guests can soar through mango and mahogany trees 80 feet off the ground, then descend to sample the culinary creations at Loterie Farm’s upscale outdoor restaurant. www.loteriefarm.net
3. Racing with the Wind
Have you ever wanted to turn the tables and let the guests do the work? Go ahead and sign them up for the St. Maarten 12-Metre Challenge – they’ll even thank you for it. Another one of Deher’s picks, this exciting excursion lets your guests serve as (well-supervised) crew on two former America’s Cup yachts, including Dennis Conner’s Stars & Stripes, and engage in a match-racing duel off the island’s southern coast. After grinding the winches, tacking the running backstay and acting as “rail meat” on the high side in a breeze, the guests won’t stop talking about their experience all the way home. www.12metre.com
4. The Real Bat Cave
St. Vincent is a natural wonderland chockablock with eco-tourism opportunities. There is every level of hiking trail, including a challenging climb to the top of La Soufriere Volcano. An easier trek will take them to babbling Trinity Falls. But Frye says the Byahaut Bat Cave on the island’s western coast, where guides can take adventurous guests for a dive in the dark, is a must.
5. People of the Sea
Everyone has a favorite snorkeling spot in the Caribbean, but the crew of charter yacht Savannah found one that is totally unique. In the crystal clear waters off Grenada, guests can explore Jason de Caires Taylor’s eerie underwater sculpture: a ring of life-size people standing back-to-back and hand-in-hand in the sand. www.underwatersculpture.com
The Perfect Preference Sheet
Weathering Weird Requests
5 Unusual Things to Do with Guests in the Caribbean
How Far Would You Go for a Job?
The Guests Must Be Crazy
What Happens on Board, Stays on Board
Disturbing Trends in the Charter Market