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Old 19-08-2014, 08:25   #1
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Suggestions for charters to family/kid-friendly distinctions?

Hey all..

Not full-time cruisers here, far from it.... but a little about ourselves:

We are a family of 3 (myself, my wife, and our 5-year old daughter). We have been sailing a couple years just locally (live in Chicago) and have chartered for 2 weeks in the BVI for a family trip. We are looking for our next charter now, probably early in 2015.

What I'm curious about is if anyone has any suggestions on where to go where our daughter might be a little more entertained? Don't get me wrong, BVI was a great time - and we had some fun family time. We did it with a flotilla and the opportunities to socialize with others at the same point in the cruise was great. BUT... I kind of felt bad for our daughter. She was the only kid in the whole group, and at times felt like she was the only kid in the whole country. I think we briefly played with one other child her age the first weekend we were there, and then she met a nice local girl that she played with the second week of the trip.

I know other families with young children do charter and go cruising, and with us having an only child I want to be extra mindful that our daughter has chances to interact with people her own age enough to not be bored. She is awesome at seeking out other kids though - she's very outgoing and always starting the games at the playground, but only when there are other kids around!

Perhaps it was the time of year (we went in late January), maybe it was just bad luck. This time due to school schedules we are looking at early April (maybe more kids out of school?), probably somewhere in the Caribbean again, returning to BVI wouldn't be out of the question, also considering Belize, Abaco, St. Lucia. Any suggestions on where we would be very likely to run into other cruising families so our daughter has some playtime with other kids?
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Old 19-08-2014, 08:52   #2
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Re: Suggestions for charters to family/kid-friendly distinctions?

Unfortunately you will find few children on charter boats. Even if you go at break time it's usually college kids behaving as badly as their parents do when they charter.

If you charter in the Bahamas, especially in Georgetown (there is a charter business there now out of Emerald Bay) you will meet lots of boat kids. Just get on the vhf.

If you charter out of Nassau and sail the Exumas you might stop at Black Point. Boats with kids often interact with the school (K-8) there which welcomes cruisers and their children. Take some school supplies (notebooks, pens, art supplies etc.) with you and donate them to the school. Many cruisers do this.
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Old 19-08-2014, 12:06   #3
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Re: Suggestions for charters to family/kid-friendly distinctions?

When I first started cruising the BVI I was something like 8 years old and my little sister was 5. I don't remember any hardship because of no other kids. We were so busy exploring things like the Baths and caves and snorkling that I don't think we had time to get bored. I vaguely remember meeting some kids also, but could tell you whether I spent any time with them or not. Not much memory of that.
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Old 19-08-2014, 12:07   #4
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Re: Suggestions for charters to family/kid-friendly distinctions?

I do remember buzzing around a lot in the dingy as I started getting older
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Old 19-08-2014, 12:15   #5
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Re: Suggestions for charters to family/kid-friendly distinctions?

In the primarily catholic countries, Holy Week is a even bigger than Spring Break, because the whole family can go. The beaches will be crowded, but plenty of those folks will be kids with families. For 2015, that will be March 29-April 4. The week following Easter still tends to be a little busier than normal, but the week after that, everything is empty. I have had not just beaches, but entire resorts to myself traveling those dates. Hey, the prices were good.
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Old 19-08-2014, 12:45   #6
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Re: Suggestions for charters to family/kid-friendly distinctions?

Looks like March 28 - April 7 is exactly when we'll be traveling next year.

I like the suggestion of Exumas. Seems like that would be a really good time.
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Old 19-08-2014, 13:14   #7
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Re: Suggestions for charters to family/kid-friendly distinctions?

I owned a charter boat in the BVIs, but traded in other locations over half the time, including the Abacos every winter. I really love the Abaocs, but in terms of running into other people who have kids your daughter's age, I'd say your chances are less, not more.

St. Martin is more of a typical tourist destination with lots of people that would also offer more of a cultural difference.
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Old 19-08-2014, 13:24   #8
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Re: Suggestions for charters to family/kid-friendly distinctions?

Take a visit to Traveltalkonline where its all about the BVI and other Caribbean destinations. Might just find there are other families going your same dates to certain destinations and might be able to meet up.

Don't have family or friends with kinds that might want to go?
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Old 10-11-2014, 07:33   #9
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Re: Suggestions for charters to family/kid-friendly distinctions?

Hi Enrique

From personal experience-I used to work as a flotilla skipper-your best bet will be an early April BVI flotilla with sunsail. It will be the English school holidays and although the kids will be slightly older you might get lucky and have some children the same age. I can't really think of any other opportunities.

I've always found giving them jobs to do, make them feel like there part of the running of the boat etc keeps kids amused and let them be part of the adventure rather than just a passenger.

Hope this helps. Feel free to private message me if you have any questions.
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