After a year of “family togetherness” we decided our first trip since February 2020 would be even more family togetherness on a catamaran trip to St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. That’s right, after spending 365+ days together during Covid, we opted to spend our vacation on a 58-foot boat! Opting for a family holiday in close quarters with 2 strangers – the captain and first mate – might push some over the edge, right? Not us.
Let’s not dance around it. 2020 was painful for everyone. For a travel advisor like me, it was the worst! But now, here we are in summer 2021 and things are looking up. I even had a glorious vacation this past spring!
Like most people, I wanted to get away but didn’t want to travel somewhere with a 5-day quarantine during a 7-day vacation! So, we decided to travel to a U.S. territory – the U.S. Virgin Islands – where we did not have to quarantine. The second choice was either a villa or a catamaran. While both are great experiences, we opted for the catamaran because it allowed us to visit a new place every day instead of staying stationary. Our trip focused on the island of St. John but we also could have visited St. Thomas and St. Croix.
DISCLAIMER: No matter how eloquently I describe this trip, it will not do justice to the beauty, serenity and calm that a catamaran trip provides.
Our days had a wonderful rhythm to them. Each day started with us floating up to breakfast on our own schedule (early, late or really late!), drinking our morning beverages and chatting with our captain about the day. Then, depending on weather and waves, we would begin the day’s activities. That usually meant snorkeling, but our boat also came with water skis, paddle boards and equipment for tubing, so no one was ever bored. When we wanted to take a break from sun and sea, we went hiking, shopped in Cruz Bay or sat at a local watering hole drinking rum punch and munching conch fritters. But the best part of each day was the sailing, usually a few hours to get to our next anchorage. Over the course of the week, we sailed completely around the island of St. John.
The days’ activities were punctuated with delicious food and drink provided by our lovely first mate, who also happened to be our captain’s wife. Having someone else in charge of cooking and cleaning freed us to relax and reconnect. We sampled a variety of frozen beverages as well as hot breakfasts, lunches, snacks and gourmet dinners. All meals were based on our preferences making each meal something fun to look forward to. Our first mate even planned a special birthday cake for my daughter who turned 19 on the 4th day of our trip, making it a truly memorable experience for all of us.
I could go on and on about how amazing the catamaran was or the beauty of St. John, but that would take pages and pages to describe it, so I want to wrap up with one of my favorite memories of the week. After dinner one night, with the sun setting in the background, we played a board game for hours. We laughed and laughed and created memories I don’t think will ever be forgotten. Bonding as a family, even after a year of complete togetherness, was a celebration of our lives and a kick-off to the future.
The best part of a catamaran vacation is that it isn’t just for socially distancing! It is an amazing way to see multiple areas of a destination without having to drive, change hotels or unpack more than once! Catamaran trips are available in many parts of the world besides the Caribbean including the Mediterranean, the Pacific and beyond. And, depending on your experience and budget, you can opt for the fully crewed option that we had, a captain only booking or just a Bare Boat rental for experienced sailors only. And, the best part is being able to be with your family and friends bonding on your own schedule!
This year has already seen a huge uptick in requests for travel, so my advice, whether a catamaran trip, a villa, a cruise or tour is to book as early as possible. 2021 and 2022 are going to be rebound years, so booking now is key.
Do you have other travel questions? Always feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org (this is a new email that will be launched by the time the issue comes out).
About Jeannine Bottorff
Jeannine Bottorff is the owner of Journeys by Jeannine, specializing in custom-designed travel experiences for those who are too busy to plan or want a multi-destination itinerary they can’t create on their own. While specializing in Europe, Jeannine has connections and relationships with travel providers around the world, making just about any destination yours to discover.
For over 20 years, Jeannine had been an avid traveler who often wondered about a career in travel but didn’t pursue it. That is, until 11 years ago when she quit her corporate job to take care of her elderly parents. During that time, she did much soul searching, and made the decision to follow her passion. In 2013, she became a Virtuoso Travel Advisor, pairing her expertise in events planning with the knowledge she gained through her own travels to create fulfilling travel experiences.