SV Guiding Light Reviews

The minute we stepped on to the boat we were relaxed and stress free. The only decision we ever had to make was which island to visit. Homemade bread, original drinks, delicious food, games and so much more. It felt like we were leaving family when we had to fly home. This will be an annual trip for all of us. Couldn’t ask for better customer service and rewarding adventures. Thank you so much Guiding Light. You’ve definitely set the bar high for vacationing. See you next year...or maybe sooner.

Stacy G

There was simply nothing that Shane did not anticipate and accommodate for us, usually before we knew what we wanted or needed. Memories to last until our next voyage on the Guiding Light! Fondly.

Lisa, David and Nathaniel

Chartering a catamaran is an awesome experience. It’s even better when the captain welcomes you into his ‘home’ and takes care of every detail. Shane’s experience of living and exploring these islands makes it easy when trying to decide what to see and do, or not do and just relax in the sun. The possibilities are endless. Our group is very easy going, and open to suggestions which helps when weather and post hurricane conditions dictate plans. Shane’s cooking and drink of the day (should be plural- “drinks” he knows my suggestions!) are great. He even surprised me by baking a birthday cake (tears of joy)! All the little things that make it personal and memorable. We loved spending time with him and Melek, snorkeling and playing games. He’s more than just the captain. He really makes his guests feel like they’re at home. I hope you’ll try a charter with him sometime. Complete relaxation as soon as we stepped onto the boat. Sigh. We can’t wait to explore the Spanish VI’s and islands south of the BVI’s in the future. We’ll see you again soon! Brace yourselves! Happy Sails!

Amy W

Captain Shane, Thank you for the trip of a lifetime. Taking a more adventurous approach truly gave me a new perspective of what the Virgin Islands have to off! I’ll always remember this trip. Thanks for everything! See you next year!

Nick

What an amazing trip! Couldn’t have picked a better way to celebrate 30 years together and my 50th! thanks for showing us some awesome snorkeling spots!! Can’t wait to do another trip.

Garz & Nina

Such a fabulous time!! Lots of wonderful memories we will cherish forever!! I think we might be spoiled for any other trip!!!

Mary Jo, Bob, Natalie & Tyler

All I can say is WOW!!! This was a trip of a lifetime and far exceeded our hopes and expectations

Todd & Deb

Captain Shane! What a trip it’s been. I really didn’t know what to expect going in this trip, but you’ve really made this experience so special. I can easily say this is the coolest and most rewarding trip I’ve ever been on and it’s going to hard for anything to ever knock it from its ranking. Thank you for everything you’ve done for us this past week and I hope to see you again soon!

Allie

Thank you, thank you for an incredibly unforgettable week! We were so spoiled by your hospitality, attentiveness to our every need, and the personally guided tours. BEST vacation EVER!!

Caroline & Pete

It is difficult to put a small slice of paradise into words. All vacations are memorable. This trip will stand out as one of the fondest memories. Your fun-loving adventurous spirits and warm hospitality made this more like a family vacation than a chartered boat. Thank you for sharing your home, stories, wonderful cooking & adventures with us this week! Hope to keep in touch!

Daren & Michelle

Sailing aboard the Guiding Light with Captain Shane ranks as one of the most positive and memorable experiences of my life. From start to finish, our trip was amazingly wonderful. I put my trust in Shane to make good on his promise to deliver our best vacation ever and was not disappointed. My expectations were exceeded in every way. I hope to sail again with Captain Shane someday. I know I can count on him to make sure every moment is worth repeating.

Debbie

My husband and I have been on the Guiding Light for 14 days. Captain Shane informs us that we are his longest booking as most reserve for 1 week. My husband hopes I will embrace the option of living on a boat when we retire. We have chartered six times in the past and some of these experiences were not so pleasant. My daughter shared the first five days of our journey.

We have been captured by the peaceful beauty, adventure and relaxation. Some of my time has been spent enjoying Shane’s entertaining collection of books, snorkeling and visiting enchanting anchorages. My favorites include Cooper Island, Virgin Gorda and everywhere on St. John. Shane has photographed our adventures above and below the water as he is a talented photographer.

The sighting of a sixty foot Humpback whale that followed the boat on our way to Anagada took my breath away. My senses are exposed to the smell of freshly baked bread, waves slapping the boat, star gazing and the sound of the surf. My deep sleep is enhanced by the gentle rocking of the boat and I wonder if I will ever sleep this well again.

The surprise drink of the day prior to dinner as well as an entrée that may include ravioli with balsamic glazed pears is “to die for”. All food simply tastes better on a boat.

We will cherish these memories as well as stories to share about snorkeling in the caves, with a shark, in the dark, tropical colorful fish, warm salty water and constant refreshing breezes.

Yes, we will definitely spend all of our vacations floating on a boat as we continue to discuss my husband’s …and my …dream.

Jeanne C.

Our family wanted to do something different for Christmas this year. We found the Guiding Light only 3 weeks before of our Christmas trip, and within a day of exchanging phone calls and emails, we were booked. Special thanks to Shane for being so responsive.

The trip started with our son arriving 4 hours before us. Shane decided it would be best for them to depart Red Hook Marina on St. Thomas and head to St. John where my wife and I would board the boat. It was a great decision to let the vacation begin upon my son’s arrival. While we were still changing planes in Miami, our son was Snorkeling and bonding with Shane.

Each day, we sailed to a few different places, never going to the same place twice. While we weren’t lounging on the boat, we were snorkeling, hiking, and touring the island’s many historical sites. Each night we would ride the Guiding Light’s tender boat (the Temptation) into town to eat at local restaurants. Shane is an excellent guide and knows all the great snorkel sites and restaurants. On our tours/hikes, Shane was extremely knowledgeable about local history and could answer almost any question we had for him. We thoroughly enjoyed the tour of the Annaberg sugar plantation and Reef Bay petroglyphs. He also makes a delicious drink-of-the-day!

On Christmas day, we were moored in Christmas Cove off the coast of St. James where we were snorkeling. For dinner, we ordered pizza from the Pizza Pi boat, and had it delivered by dinghy. How unique! That was certainly a memorable Christmas—a welcome break from the cold and snow.

We are hoping to explore the Spanish Virgin Islands next year with Shane, and we will try to give Shane better than a 3-week notice this time. This was the trip of a lifetime and an unforgettable vacation. Shane was more than a captain, we consider him family.

Fred V.

Our trip on The Guiding Light was our first sailing/charter experience. This trip exceeded our expectations on every level. Shane listened carefully and planned the trip to meet our needs perfectly. The sights and experiences were unbelievable. The food was outstanding. Shane kept us entertained throughout the trip. He provided everything we needed, and then some. The drinks of the day were GREAT! The fresh homemade bread was even better. His jokes were even pretty good. I will be booking with Shane again in the future, and would recommend him and The Guiding Light to anyone.

Bryan

We are a family of four (boy age 9, & girl age 11), and just returned from a 7-night charter with Captain Shane aboard The Guiding Light.

Let me begin by saying that if you are a person/family that appreciates nature, has a sense of adventure, enjoys boating/camping/hiking, etc., but doesn't want to be herded like cattle on over-priced cruise-ship excursions, then look no further! For about the same price of a high-season Disney Cruise (for a family of 4) and LESS than most Bare-Boats, you can have your own personal Captain, Chef, and Tour Guide for a true Caribbean experience!

Captain Shane really did an amazing job of tailoring the trip to our wants/likes/preferences. We wanted to do a lot of snorkeling, spend some time on beaches, as well as a little bit of hiking, and that is exactly what we got. Each stop along the route for snorkeling was stunning and unique, and he showed us many things above and below the water that we never would have seen on our own. Our days were full but never hurried, and toward the end of the week our time under-sail became a favorite part of the trip.

Captain Shane was also very fun and patient with the kids, especially our son who is constantly asking questions and can be quite a busy-body. He welcomed us into his vessel without making us feel like we were intruding on his space, but had a few rules and methods which made living in tight quarters workable for all of us. If we wanted privacy, he gave it to us, but was always available to chat or play games at night if we had any energy left as well!

The cat itself was very clean and well-maintained, and as others have said, roomier than one might think for it's size. If you can do an RV for a week, then The Guiding Light will be a no-brainer! Oh! Did I mention not having to cook for a week!? Shane's meals were simple and delicious, with yummy desserts and fabulous drinks at the end of each day.

Again, I can't say enough about our time aboard The Guiding Light, and highly recommend Captain Shane for a truly memorable and incredible vacation!

Deb H.

At the end of every day we would think that the next day couldn’t possibly get better and they did. Can’t begin to thank you for an unforgettable adventure.

Rick, Kelly, Allie, Anna

The five of us spent seven days in April on Shane's boat, and it was a perfect week! The boat is extremely clean, well-appointed, and comfy! The cabins were actually more spacious than we expected, and the en-suite bathrooms were a plus! We also loved lounging on the the wide trampoline in the front, even while we were sailing! Shane is extremely organized and planned everything perfectly (but was also very flexible and was great at gauging what the group wanted). He is also an excellent cook! We were also impressed with his knowledge of the islands, snorkeling spots, and sailing. He made everything easy and we really just enjoyed ourselves. Highly recommend the Guiding Light!

Michaela V.

Our Family (me/wife, daughters 22 & 15) sailed with Shane. We all had been on numerous Caribbean cruises over the years and were looking for something different. While the retail Caribbean cruise evaporates into blurred (although fond) memories, this is truly an excursion you will not forget. A catamaran is the only way to sail the Caribbean in our opinion due to the expansive layout of the boat. We particularly liked Shane’s converting one of the heads to a stand up shower facility. Shane also provides home baked breads, goodies, and tropical drinks throughout the trip, which is a plus. We highly recommend the Guiding Light and Captain Shane – a very sincere and accommodating skipper.

Alan

Thank you Shane for the most amazing Christmas my family of six has ever spent! We arrived in St. Thomas airport to a smiling Shane who presented us all with Santa hats. As we marched out of the airport wearing our little red caps, all the cab drivers were honking at us! We crossed the street, loaded the inflatable and were onboard Guiding Light within minutes of deplaning! Two hours later we were swimming with sea turtles in a private cove off St. John. Shane took care of everything. We had emailed for weeks ahead of time so Shane could design the perfect trip for my family. We wanted adventurous, off the beaten trail experiences and boy, did Shane deliver! We snorkeled two ship wrecks, went to numerous amazing dive sites, hiked, enjoyed the historical sites of the USVI and BVI and even got to visit a few local restaurants. The kids' favorite was the Baths, and my favorite was enjoying the sunsets while sipping one of Captain Shane's cocktails. Being on a catamaran, we could fit into coves and visit much more private areas that larger vessels cannot go to and hotel guests will never see. The boat was beautiful, sparkling clean and exceedingly comfortable. If you've always wanted to try vacationing on a boat, I highly recommend Shane and the Guiding Light. Shane is delightful, clean cut and fun. He would get us all to play board games after sunset. We all became "Settlers of Catan" addicts. Also, Shane was willing to accommodate our desires to see certain things and also our dietary needs (one child is a lactose intolerant vegetarian and yet she loved everything Shane prepared for her). Shane's charter was much more budget-friendly than other Catamaran charters in the VI, yet I feel he works harder than most charter captains.
This was the first time we chartered a catamaran, and what a difference all that horizontal space makes! The boat was spacious and very stable. I wouldn't want to see the Caribbean any other way than to stay on a boat that takes me to secret little places with unspoiled reef, deserted beaches, hidden coves all to ourselves and a night sky that will turn anyone into an amateur astronomer. Thank you, Shane for sharing your Christmas in Paradise with us.

Rose H.

Top 10 Reasons to Sail Aboard the Guiding Light:

10. Unique experience of being on a boat – There is no place to experience the islands in the way one can on a boat. The perspective you intake of the beauty, serenity, and lushness of the landscape can only be viewed from the water. In addition to this perspective, you are in a position to see different locations daily. We enjoyed multiple island locations, hikes, snorkeling, swimming, and beaching it!

9. Flexibility – The only way to have an exceptional vacation is to have a captain who is open and flexible to any and all ideas, spontaneous changes in adventures, and can navigate the trip to meet all our dreams. Captain Shane was wonderfully flexible on our trip. He had a fantastic outline of ideas for us and also modified our trip to meet our needs.

8. Shane’s homemade bread and creative dinners – One of Shane’s finest attributes is his homemade bread. Another reason we chose Shane as our captain is because he includes cooked dinners in your captain-only price, unlike a lot of other charters. Whether you want to eat 1 dinner on board or 5, Shane is an awesome cook!

7. Enthusiasm for sharing island history and activities – Most days included some sort of hike, kayak, or snorkel. Shane was always quick with a history lesson or story to enrich the experience. Every day was a new adventure and even better than the day before, which in most cases would hardly seem possible.

6. Snorkeling – Whether Shane was in the water with us guiding the way or just giving us the full low down before we jumped in, we felt like Shane maximized our snorkeling. He showed us a one of a kind snorkeling experience after another.
Sister's who snorkel together stay together.

5. Attention to detail on trip itinerary and provisions – Since this was my first charter I didn’t really know what to expect. When we met Shane I was instantly put at ease knowing that he had the whole trip planned. Whether it was what we were doing in 15 minutes or what we were doing in 3 days, Shane had an answer.Just a little closer

4. Island restaurant and bar hoping – Soggy Dollar, Corsair’s, Foxy’s, Marina Cay Pusser’s Rum Restaurant, Pirate’s Bight, and Willy T. Need we say more?
Captain Shane the teacher.

3. Shane delivers to random and quirky requests – Whether it was wanting to be dinghy up to a “swim up only” beach, or wanting to kayak at 7am, Shane was there to make our trip better in every which way he could.

2. Shane’s humorous jokes – Nothing like a unique sense of humor to brighten a trip. Shane’s fun, humorous and down-to-earth personality was a great asset to the trip.
And the #1 reason to sail with Shane on the Guiding Light is….drum roll pleeeaase….

1. The Day starts the second you open your eyes – Waking up on a boat in the middle of the Caribbean is something you can only understand by doing it. Walking up the stairs and jumping into the crystal clear blue water is the best way to kick start your day. Each and every day was so incredible and action packed. Piping hot coffee awaiting us as we finish our morning kayak, paddle board, or swim! Sun shining on our faces as we bask in the glorious morning light. Our eyes inhale the surrounding beauty of each unique island. Every day we were able to feast our eyes upon a different location, a new vision, a place of pure beauty. To begin each day in this manner is an experience one can only have while sailing on Shane’s Guiding Light!

Anonymous

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