Frequently Asked Questions
You are not alone if you have questions about the on-board experience or how bookings work. If we've been asked before, we try to put it into the FAQ. If you don't see your question here, by all means give us a call or send a message.
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About the Experience
All about being on board the yacht.
How Many Paid Passengers?
The Luxury Yacht Ciamar provides un-matched private experiences for up to 6 people. If your group is larger, let us help you find exactly the right high end yacht for your event. We are a pet-friendly vessel, and your pet does NOT count against the 6 person max. (See pets below)
Compliant with all USCG regulations, we run with a maximum of six (6) guests on-board each charter. You will have the run of the boat and be able to kick back and relax in luxury and privacy.
Marquis Charters is proud to have donated use of the yacht for dockside fundraisers and cruises where we can take about 30 people. If you have a worthy cause where you think a yacht party fundraiser could help you out, please get in touch.
Unless otherwise explicitly noted, all bookings include all costs except alcohol and gratuity. This is important to note because you may see 'teaser' prices floated by other yachts come with 'add-ons' that you won't find out about until later.
With us, you don't need to worry about the dock fees, insurance, commissions, fuel/maintenance, captain or crew, snacks/appetizers, corkage, water, soft drinks, satellite WiFi or even taxes. Some trips also include a private chef and a custom design meal for you.
Please contact us regarding special requests. We pride ourselves in being a 'turnkey' experience that doesn't pester with upselling or surprise you with upcharges. All within reason, of course. For example, we can certainly send three limos to three different parts of the region to pick everyone up and drop them off, and then have a sky writer paint the sky with 'marry me' at sunset above the yacht. But just to keep it real, there would there would be extra charges for that. :-)
Crew / Service On-board?
Every trip will be commanded by a Captain licensed by the USCG to commercially operate a 100 ton motor yacht in the inland waters of the Bay and rivers of the USA and in the coastal ocean waters outside of the bay. Our captains also have extensive experience in the cruising this area and have been trained on and have experience running this specific yacht.
On longer trips, depending on group size, you will be served by one or two Steward(ess)s. Some trips include a private chef and on-board prepared custom meal. On every trip, there will also be a Engineer, Bosun or Chief Mate supporting the Captain's operation of the vessel and to provide rest breaks for the Captain to ensure safe operation of the yacht at all times. On full day or overnight trips, there will be additional crew on-board sufficient to maintain round-the-clock watch and rest schedules at all times.
We have a select set of the region's top captains and crew on-call for Ciamar trips. Our captains and crew hail from the Navy, giga yachts, ferry boats, TowBoat US, worldwide deliveries and members who've been to Alaska and back on Ciamar. They all have some stories to tell if asked. Our Chief Chew, Lola is a rescue dog. She's available to join your trip on request.
While our crew are certified to serve alcohol that you bring, we are unable to buy your alcohol due to state regulations. If desired, we're happy to arrange your purchase and delivery of your chosen provisions prior to the charter so that it is on board for you when you arrive.
And of course, underage drinking on-board is strictly forbidden at all times.
We request that guests refrain from bringing red wine on-board. This greatly reduces the chances that an accidental spill will eat into your security deposit. Red wine is allowed if you desire, however, we ask that it be consumed on the flybridge and not in the carpeted areas of the interior.
Very, very few guests have ever experienced nausea or sea sickness on board. And there are some clear practices that keep it that way. Our Captains steer clear of rough water and steer through water at angles that keep things as smooth as possible. Guests who have a history of motion sensitivity are advised to partake in your preferred remedy before boarding the vessel. And in the event that you feel a little unsettled underway, the nearly foolproof method to avoid sea sickness is to look out at the water and watch land on the horizon.
To make sure everyone is protected, we will ask you about food allergies when you book. And, we will confirm any food sensitivities with you again when we finalize your custom food plan about a week in advance of your trip.
Your yacht is federally documented by the USCG and is governed by federal law. That means when state law and federal law conflict, the federal law is what governs. So even though marijuana is legal in California, it is illegal on board any USCG documented vessel, such as your chartered yacht.
All crew are certified members of the Maritime Consortium Drug Free Vessel Program. Furthermore, we have a zero tolerance policy on illegal drugs anywhere on-board. If illegal drugs are discovered, the charter will be ended immediately, with no refund.
Yacht owners, captains and crew take this very seriously. They are all subject to arrest, prosecution, license revocation and yacht seizure if anyone on board is found to be in possession of illegal drugs. The Captain is authorized to seize illegal drugs, return the offending individual immediately to the closest shore and report the incident to law enforcement.
Pets on Board?
We are a Pet Friendly company and Ciamar is a pet-tested vessel. We also have a rescue doggy on crew who is available on request.
To be absolutely sure that our yacht and your pet are going to be a good match, we require that the Pet On Board Request be disclosed to us and approved in our charter agreement at the time of confirmation of your booking.
To be sure that your pet will be a welcomed addition to your trip and won't subtract from your experience, here are some things we suggest you consider before you book:
Will I hold my pet the entire time, keep them on leash or control them by verbal command while on-board?
Is pet accustomed to boats?
Do they travel well in cars?
Will I be able to walk him/her immediately before boarding?
Am I willing to bring his/her travel crate on-board to be stowed for use in case needed?
Has my pet ever exhibited aggressive behaviors toward strangers (e.g. the crew) or people in uniforms?
On an airshow and July 4 and New Year's Eve trips, the Captain will instruct that your pet be placed in their crate and located in a quite space below decks during the portions of the trip that will have extremely loud noises (low flybys, fireworks). Am I ok with that?
To discuss pets on board, please contact us in advance of booking so we can answer any questions and also get comfortable approving your pet.
Cancellation of a charter due to denial of boarding of a Pet is only refundable if the Pet that is denied boarding is the Pet identified in the charter agreement's Pet On Board Request at the time of booking and that the description of the pet in the Pet Request is in all respects an accurate description of the pet that was denied boarding.
All about the booking process.
How to Start?
The best way to start is to fill out a booking request for the type of trip that most fits your desires. We will be in touch soon to get to know you and flush out aspects of the trip that you desire to make it a perfect experience. You can also simply start by calling or contacting us for a chat.
Don't worry about fitting a mold, or a template for what a trip is 'supposed' to be. We love doing things that are special, or even unprecedented.
When we have an idea on what you want to do, and when, we'll rapidly research it and get back to you to confirm. The tides (water depth) and currents of the area where we're going to travel could be no big deal, or they could present a real challenge where a small change in your desired schedule could make all the difference. Of course, sun set times change every week and will guide what the best times are for sunset trips. Sometimes we need to contend with drawbridge schedules, or be sure we can make a reservation to lift a bridge when we arrive.
Your date/times are not confirmed until we are aligned and you sign the Charter Agreement for your trip.
Pickup / Dropoff
The short answer is that we can most likely get you on and off the yacht from wherever you like. Our favorite pickup location is the Alameda Bohol International Circle Park Public Dock. It has free parking, is in a new park and is never crowded. Another regular spot is the Oakland/Jack London Square Guest Dock. We can also pick up in San Francisco, Berkeley, Emeryville, Richmond, Redwood City.
Let us come to you. We can work out a pickup/dropoff plan for practically anywhere you wish. Challenge us! We haven't been beaten yet. Let us know what you'd like to do, and we can talk about what the logistics of pickup and drop off look like for that location.
Also also combining ground transportation from your home/hotel into the equation. When we do that, the entire trip logistics gets easier, and more options crop up, you avoid parking and have a built in designated driver for the ride home after partying on the yacht.
We can take all forms of credit card, EFT and cash payments.
A signed charter contract is required for all bookings and full payment details will be included.
Refundable Deposit at the time of booking holds the date
Signed contract within 24 hours of a date hold serves to confirm the charter
50% of the charter fee is due 14 days in advance
Remaining balance due 7 days in advance, including a refundable damage deposit
A maximum of a $2000 damage deposit is held to cover excessive cleaning or damages. The deposit is released at the end of the charter before you leave the vessel.
While the size of a gratuity is optional, it is customary for guests to provide a tip at the end of the trip and it is greatly appreciated. If you've ever seen the TV show 'Below Deck', then you know how it works. Gratuities are a significant part of the crews' compensation.
On our yachts, all tips are pooled. We ask that you provide one overall gratuity at the end of the trip to the Captain. S/he will divide the tip in equal shares across all crew members regardless of role (Captain, Crew, Chef, etc). Tips are in addition to the industry standard day rates that the owner pays your captain/crew.
Yachties are insanely customer oriented. The custom of guest gratuities sustains that level of service and provides immediate, direct feedback on how well the crew performed. Tips on all of our trips have averaged 16% of the total cost of the charter. This season, gratuities have landing in a range a from 15% to 40%.
If you prefer to avoid the post charter tip ritual or would prefer not carrying that much cash around, we can easily add a service charge into your contract for advance payment. Or, we can accept a departure gratuity for the crew via a payment app.
A signed charter contract is required for all bookings and full cancellation details will be included.
As a general rule, cancellations at least 7 days prior to charter start are fully refundable. Cancellations within 7 days of charter start are not refundable, but, may be rebooked within six months, subject to availability. Same day cancellations are not rebookable except under extreme circumstances.
If, at the sole discretion of the Captain, the charter can not start due to weather or vessel concerns, the charter will be refunded or rescheduled as you prefer. If the Captain ends the charter early due to weather or vessel concerns, a rebooking will be offered within six months, subject to availability. If the charterer no-shows or causes the charter to end early for any reason, the charter is non-refundable and not re-bookable.
Refusing to commence a charter due to denied boarding of too many humans or unapproved pets is considered a same day cancelled charter and is non-refundable and not re-bookable.