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Antigua Charters Expecting ‘Post-COVID Surge’

Though the pandemic remains uncertain, charter bookings are surging in Antigua this year.

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Antigua
The charter hub of Antigua is expecting a post-COVID surge. A. Kiro/Shutterstock

That feels nice, doesn’t it? Post-COVID?

Of course, nobody can be certain what’s going to happen with the pandemic this winter, but by all accounts as of press time, more than a few people were planning on heading to Antigua right about now for the charter vacations they were forced to put off in 2020 and 2021.

“This year is even better because we have a vaccine mandate,” says Sarah Sebastian of Nicholson Yacht Charters & Services on Antigua. “Everyone coming to Antigua by sea or by air has to have a vaccination unless they’re under 12 or have a reasonable doctor’s letter. They can come to Antigua and go straight to the boat and set off.”

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Sebastian says that, between re-bookings from last winter’s season and new bookings from people desperate to get back to normal life, yachts that have committed to being in Antigua this winter are already mostly booked out. She’s now booking charters well into May and June, and is encouraging clients who want to charter out of Antigua for the next winter season, in 2022-23, to start calling now.

Clients wanting to book for this winter can still call, she says; if they’re willing to be flexible about the yacht, that might help. “If you have flexible dates, even better,” she adds, but “we’re short of inventory because the boats are all booked.”

It’s still up in the air as to what kind of itineraries will be possible. There are now some great seven-day itineraries that keep the charter yacht entirely in Antigua’s waters, she says, and it’s possible that this year, clients will be able to add St. Barts and St. Maarten into the mix without a lot of extra COVID-19 protocols.

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“You’re still going to need to take a PCR test,” she says, “but we have doctors who can come on board. It makes that easy. You don’t have to go to a clinic or a hospital. The results can be emailed to the captain.”

Lady J
This 142-foot Palmer Johnson, Lady J, part of the CharterWorld fleet, is in the Caribbean this winter at a lowest weekly base rate of $109,000 for 12 guests in five staterooms. Courtesy CharterWorld
Soaring
Ocean Independence markets this 229-foot Abeking & Rasmussen. Soaring is a 2020 build in the Caribbean at a lowest weekly base rate of about $811,000 for 12 guests. Courtesy Ocean Independence
This 122-foot Delta, Crescendo, part of the RJC Yachts fleet, is available in the Caribbean and Bahamas. The lowest weekly base rate is $70,000 for eight guests in four staterooms. Courtesy RJC Yachts

Seven Days Around Antigua

Nelson’s Dockyard is named for Horatio Nelson, who was there in the 1780s to help enforce British laws in the colonies.  

Shirley Heights is an old military lookout with great views from up on high. On Sunday nights, local bands break out the steel drums and more for a party where all are welcome.  

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Beaches, Beaches and More Beaches: Antigua and its sister island, Barbuda, are home to 365 beaches. (That’s one for every day of the year, as the marketing folks like to say.)

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More Cruising and Chartering

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