Over the next few weeks, many yachts will start to make their way across the Atlantic for the start of the Caribbean season. It is a busy time of year for us at Wilsonhalligan, as we recruit all year round for both Mediterranean (May-October) and Caribbean (November- April) seasons. For many crews the Caribbean season is eagerly anticipated, but what are the differences between the two seasons and what can you expect when you get there?
The Caribbean is made up of many beautiful and varied islands which offer lots of options for interesting and exciting itineraries. This can often be a welcome change from the usual ‘milk run’ up and down the coast from Monaco to St Tropez, however, there are fewer ports offering berths for larger yachts so you may end up spending much more time at anchor than you do in the Med.
Yachts are often quieter in the Caribbean season, with the busiest charter period being over Christmas and New Year. As crew, you can expect to be working hard over the holidays with very little chance of time off to be at home with your own family and friends during the festive period.
When guests are onboard Deck crew will be kept busy with lots of water sports activities. The warm waters of the Caribbean mean that guests are keen to take advantage of all the toys the yacht has to offer and there are also some stunning dive sites to discover. Beach sets ups are common, whether it’s for a day of fun for the kids or a romantic dinner for the owner in a secluded bay.
For Chefs provisioning in the Caribbean can be a little trickier than in the Med. Many yachts choose to head to the larger islands of St Maarten and Antigua to provision as they have regular deliveries flown in from Europe and the US. If you are crossing from the Med it may be worth planning ahead and taking those European luxuries with you. It is, however, a great experience to visit the local markets when you can. There is an abundance of tropical fruit and nothing beats the fresh fish and lobster caught that morning by the local fisherman.
Interior crew may find that the guests tend to dine on board a lot more in the Caribbean as there isn’t always a huge choice of restaurants and many prefer to stay at anchor and enjoy meals on board. This does, however, offer the interior crew a chance to get creative and come up with beautiful themes for their table decorations or work with the chef to create a magical dinner on the beach.
Whilst the temperatures are high and the sun is (usually) shining, the tropical Caribbean is prone to frequent squalls and rain showers so be prepared to chamois a lot more and spend a lot of time covering and uncovering cushions! Usually, in the Med, normal working hours are 0800 – 1700 however in the Caribbean you can start as early as 0600 with a longer lunch break or perhaps you will finish earlier to avoid the hottest part of the day.
The islands of Antigua and St Maarten are considered to be the yachting hubs and many yachts head here between charters and guests trips, giving the crew the opportunity to catch up with friends on other yachts and unwind. The people of the Caribbean are what make the islands special and they are extremely warm and welcoming. They have a natural, friendly and easy-going nature, however, it is important to mention that like many places in the world, some of the ports/islands of the Caribbean can be dangerous. Remember to stay aware of your surroundings, try not to carry too much money or show off expensive jewellery/possessions. Look after each other and make sure you return to the yacht safely after a night out.
We are sure that the experiences you have on-board, in either season, will be unforgettable. Whether this is your first Caribbean season or your tenth, if you are looking for a new role then please get in touch and let us help you find that dream job!