I'm looking into a trip on a crewed catamaran around the Caribbean. I did this once before with a group of guys and loved it. Now i'm thinking of taking the family. Here's my question:
1. Is this advisable with an 18 month old and 4 year old? Has anyone done with young kids like this? Are any boat configurations that are better than others?
2. Any ports that are more "kid friendly?"
3. Any favorite charter services and/or captains?
Hi, a catamaran is a great choice for a crewed yacht charter in the Caribbean with children, especially with an 18 month old child, as the aft cockpit area is sunken with "walls" around, is huge for a toddler to run around in, and the exits to the aft pontoons for water access can be roped off to create a big playpen. The cockpit usually opens with only one step, if even a step to a big main salon, expanding play area for a toddler. In as crewed monohull sailing charter yacht, the cockpit is small, and there is always a companionway ladder in order to access the interior living area, with at least 8-10 steps. I have organized many crewed catamaran charters with children and all have been a big success.
I strongly recommend the British Virgin Islands as your charter destination as these are the most protected waters in the Caribbean, and are a series of 15 larger islands with many smaller islets that sit in an area that has a 30 mile diameter, and a great many anchorages, so there are many choices of where to anchor and a new anchorage is easily reached in just a few hours or less. On a one week charter, it is impossible to see everything in the BVI's there are so many islands and anchorages. I hope this helps.
Do it!! There are so many awesome families cruising & the kids get to meet and play with new friends from around the world. British Virgin Islands are great. If you go to Virgin Islands, I'd stay off of St Thomas and recommend St John.
For sure doable with kids that age -- great tips can be found on the blogs of families who are cruising. They're living it day to day and have all the parent hacks dialed. Here are some links - several are blogs of cruising families, others are general liveaboard stuff I've collected. Here's a Pinterest board too: https://www.pinterest.com/lyssachttr/on-a-boat/
12 Questions to 12 Sailing Families http://www.womenandcruising.com/sailing-families.htm
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First, British Virgin Islands wins for lots of close together ports/anchorages and steady wind. Crews can vary, so try to find one that someone recommends. We *loved* Jack and Jaime-- they've since moved on from the boat we chartered, but have a much nicer boat (won "best in show" at a boat show down there-- it's gorgeous).
No idea how kid-friendly chartering is-- but if you reached out to them, I'd wager they'd give you an honest opinion.