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 usually easy and trouble free. 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 and the South Pacific Cyclone season runs from November to April. 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 actual 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: REVISED SEVERE WEATHER POLICY - EFFECTIVE JUNE 2018 As you are aware, we operate in regions of the world that can experience severe weather. Examples would be the Atlantic hurricane season (June to November) that can affect our Caribbean destinations and the South Pacific Cyclone season (November to April) which can affect our Southern Pacific destinations. TradeWinds puts safety first for both you and our crew. With that in mind the following policy will be adhered to from 1st June 2018. This policy overrules any prior written agreement or statement made in any communications with regards to your Membership and/or any booking with TradeWinds. Should TradeWinds cancel a charter or part of a charter due to the approach of a named storm we will inform you as soon as possible. We strongly recommend that, during these periods of potential severe weather, you monitor the weather forecasts carefully and diligently so that, irrespective of any actions TradeWinds may take you may make informed decisions with regard to your own personal safety and travel plans. You will be refunded All-Inclusive fees, Maintenance Contribution* and any Plus Points* used directly against the canceled booking on a pro-rata basis against the part of your charter interrupted by the storm passing. As examples, if you have not yet boarded we refund 100% of the fees paid and Plus Points deducted from your Membership for the canceled cruise. If your cruise is interrupted by two nights during a seven night cruise we will refund two sevenths of the fees paid and two sevenths of the Plus Points deducted from your Membership for the affected cruise. TradeWinds WILL NOT be responsible for any other direct or indirect expenses of any sort incurred by any Member, guest or any other party including but not limited to hotels, food, flight changes and new flights. We STRONGLY advise that you seek travel insurance during travel over these periods. * Maintenance Contributions and Plus Points will be returned to the Members' account that was used for the canceled or affected booking for use at a later date, however we cannot extend the usage of any Plus Points beyond the expiry date of the associated Purchase Agreement / Plus Points.

Can I bring my sleep apnea machine?

If you wish to bring aboard a sleep apnea machine, our fleet is equipped with inverters and sufficient battery banks and can supply enough energy for your sleeping device. Please note that most of our boats have 110v and/or 220v in the cabins, however the traditional boats in Croatia have only 12v.

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 rocky areas which often reach right to the edge of the shoreline.

Do you provide a hairdryer?

We can provide a hairdryer onboard. Please request this prior to arriving at the base.

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?

AIR CONDITIONING Most of our guests want air conditioning. Whilst this is understandable, we also cruise in some of the most precious unpoluted waters in the world and, as a company, we have an onus on us to try to protect this for both our guests and the next generation. We believe we have found a good balance whereby we minimise environmental impact, yet give you a level of comfort aboard. We encourage you to open hatches and feel the breeze. It's that very breeze that allows us to sail in the first place! ABOARD OUR CRUISING CLASS (CLASSICS) Air conditioning is limited due to generator positioning and its proximity to the cabins. Air conditioning is run on the dock when on charter. Cabins are cooled down in the evening whilst the generator is running (charging the batteries). Generator will be switched off by 10pm. Please note that the Generator runs in the morning to charge the batteries. No Air conditioning is offered at this time. ABOARD OUR CRUISING CLASS (NEW) Air conditioning is run on the dock when on charter. Cabins can be cooled down in the evening whilst guests prepare for dinner (around 5pm - 7pm). Note that the generator is shut off during dinner. Air conditioning can be run after dinner 8.30pm to 10pm to cool the cabins down. In Summer months after dinner the air conditioning can be run until 7am at the Captains discretion. ABOARD OUR LUXURY CLASS Air conditioning is run on the dock when on charter. Running of air conditioning will depend on the size of the generator and usage of the battery charger and water maker. Air conditioning can be run in the evening whilst guests prepare for dinner (around 5pm - 7pm). If necessary air conditioning can be run through the night until 7am from when the first guest goes to bed. ABOARD OUR FLAGSHIP CLASS As required but as close to Luxury Class as possible. * Please note that sometimes air conditioning breaks. Our crew make every effort to fix things at sea, but air conditioning often requires a specialist technician. We cannot offer any compensation for air conditioning failure.

Land accommodation before and after our cruise?

We have our own land resorts and there are many other hotels and resorts which 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

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.

In French waters (including St Martin, Guadeloupe, French Polynesia and St Barts) diving is prohibited unless it is undertaken and led by a local dive center. Diving here can be arranged with a permitted dive center. Our St Martin charter route will visit the island of Anguilla, whose government has similarly restricted scuba, at the limited locations around the island, to the local registered dive school, preventing TradeWinds from offering scuba in this area. TradeWinds has traditionally not offered scuba anywhere around Anguilla as the snorkel sites excel, but if you specifically ask to dive here we will not be able to fulfil the request. Dives are charged at $80 USD per dive In Greece the Greek Government, again, only permits local registered Greek dive charters to offer scuba. We therefore cannot dive there, however we can arrange for a dive charter to dive with you before the charter, or whilst out sailing with us. Dives are approximately 60 Euro per person per tank. For our Caribbean Summer Adventures Dominica's dive sites are mostly national parks, and therefore only local operators are allowed to dive there. St Kitts and Nevis also has dive restrictions.

Dive restrictions often apply also to destinations on our Circumnavigation 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. Provided no local government restrictions are in place, 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. Provided no local government restrictions are in place, 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!

Reef friendly 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 sailing 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 sailing 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.

For land-only destinations, please check the individual resorts for check-in/check-out times.

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?

Unfortunately, bugs are around - even in paradise! We have bug spray onboard, but you may prefer to bring along your own (environmentally friendly spray please).