Should you use Dream Yacht Charter? Read this and then decide.
Our bareboat charter sailboat was advertised to have several convenient and appealing systems that would make a family's vacation safe and comfortable. However, we quickly found that some of the critically important and desirable ones were broken:
- Broken windlass (no way to anchor safely – like having no brakes in a car)
- Broken fresh-water maker (fresh-water rationing)
- Broken AC (sleepless nights from the sweltering heat)
- Incompatible propane tank valve (no way to cook our provisions - forced to dinghy in to buy expensive restaurant food)
- Bad dinghy motor (unable to leave and return to boat reliably and safely)
I heard from one of their USVI technicians that they know at least one onboard system was broken before they sent us out on our 10-day USVI vacation. Within 24 hours after leaving the marina, we discovered other broken systems. Over the next eight days I made 40 calls to their emergency mechanical hotline. On the rare occasions that a human answered (the voice mailbox was always full so no messages could be left), they repeatedly assured us that someone would be sent out immediately to repair all the issues. Finally, eight days later, they sent two technicians to fix one issue – they brought a propane tank with proper fittings so that we could now cook our provisions.
Why did they lie about fixing the issues immediately? Why didn't they respond sooner? Why didn't they fix the issues before the charter? Why didn't they swap out the boat for one that was known to be usable?
In addition to the broken items mentioned above there were other things that underscored negligence and chronically poor maintenance:
- Heavily encrusted hull bottoms (looked like it had not been cleaned in years)
- Badly damaged, unrepaired bow (potential water intrusion)
- Failure to provide prearranged extras (they have yet to provide a refund)
- Leaking windows (significant rain intrusion)
- Filthy condition of cushions (appeared not to have not been cleaned for years)
- Numerous broken snaps and Velcro (loss of cushions while underway)
- Ripped helm bimini
We were trapped on the boat in survival mode instead of joyous vacation mode with limited ability to stay at the locations we had planned to visit because the windlass was broken. It was unsafe, uncomfortable, and disappointing. It was worse than renting a camper van in the peak of summer in Florida, and finding that the brakes, AC, stove, motor, and other systems were malfunctioning or completely unusable. Wouldn't you at least expect a refund from the car rental company.
I have detailed documentation on everything that happened - lists of all calls made and numerous damning images/descriptions of all the broken and deficient systems. These have been shared with DYC and I will gladly share any of this information with anyone who is interested to see proof of these claims.
Upon returning home after the "vacation" I made numerous attempts (calls, e-mails, and certified letters) to seek restitution. After weeks of delay, they finally responded with a paltry and insulting compensation offer for ruining our vacation, and at this time they have refused to provide a refund or negotiate further to reach a fair settlement.
They cannot and have not refuted the facts stated above. They know them to be true. They just don't care or want to provide fair restitution.
This charter was not the only contentious interaction I had with them. Prior to this disastrous charter, I had two other unpleasant encounters. In the first one, they refused to honor a promise that was used to convince me not to cancel my reservation during the 2020 Covid shutdown. They promised to add two free days to the charter but never honored the promise. In the second interaction, they failed to return phone calls in a timely manner causing an important deadline to pass. Their sloth cost me a great deal of aggravation to prove, with documentation through numerous e-mails and telephone calls, that it was their fault that the deadline was missed.
My experiences with them have convinced me that they don't care about anything, except getting your money. There are better more customer focused competitors out there.
They have demonstrated that this customer's satisfaction was not a high priority for them.
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