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BS in Biochemistry and Masters of Physical Therapy
University of Wisconsin-Madison
University of Wisconsin-Madison
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Frequently asked questions
Where is Bella Luna docked?
Bella Luna is docked at: The San Diego Sheraton Hotel & Marina - 1380 Harbor Island Dr. San Diego, CA 92101
Is there parking, and how much does it cost?
Because we have a working arrangement with the San Diego Sheraton, our charter guests are allowed to park on hotel property. We will provide all of our charter guests who park on hotel property a green parking voucher that will reduce the parking rate from the regular rate of $32,000 per car to a flat $8. Please ask the crew for a parking voucher as you disembark after your charter.
Where do we park once we get to the Sheraton?
As you pull into the main entrance of the hotel, you can take either an immediate left or an immediate right to two different parking gates. You are best advised to take an immediate right and receive a parking ticket from the gate booth. Once through the gate, drive all the way around to the back of the hotel. You will not need to turn anywhere, but the parking lot will bend left. You're welcome to park in any open space that is opposite the fence side. Parking along the fence is for marina TENANTS only. Not guests. Everything else is fair game. There is a sidewalk that begins at the back of the hotel property from the parking lot. This sidewalk will lead you directly to the whale fountain where everyone should meet at least 15 minutes prior to boarding.
What time should we arrive for our charter?
We ask that all of your guests arrive no later than 15 minutes prior to boarding, so that our Captain can provide a safety briefing and orientation. The Captain will then escort your party to the dock and you will all board together. We actually recommend that you ask your guests to arrive at least a 1/2 hour early so that stragglers and lost Uber drivers do not delay your departure.
How much does Bella Luna cost to charter?
Bella Luna charters our at a regular rate of $650 per hour, plus Port taxes and other fees. Port taxes and marina fees total to 11% of the charter rate. If you wish to enjoy food and beverages during your voyage, there is a $150 Venue Fee for early access and clean up during and after the charter. Holidays (4th of July, New Year's Eve, etc.) and special events are subject to premium pricing. Please contact us for the holiday you're interested in booking.
Do you have a minimum number of hours to charter?
Yes. Because San Diego Bay is quite large, with so much fun to be had, most private yacht charters run a 2 or 3 hour minimum. Because we host a lot of corporate events with shorter windows for break out sessions and team building, we have a 2 hour minimum. HOWEVER, we DO recommend at least 3 hours. Generally speaking, unless you have an itinerary that flows after your charter, your guests may come back after only 2 hours and say, "Wow! That was such a good time. I can't believe we're back already. ONE MORE HOUR! ONE MORE HOUR!" San Diego Bay is quite large enough that we can fill 3-4 hours quite easily.
Will I get sea sick?
No guarantees. But the chances are VERY slim that you'll get sea sick aboard the Bella Luna yacht. On a regular cocktail or party cruise, Bella Luna stays within San Diego Bay. One of the great things about San Diego Bay is that it's almost entirely landlocked. This means that aside from an occasional passing vessel that sends a short term wake, Bella Luna is not subject to ocean swells. As such, our charters are usually very smooth rides and you hardly notice that we're even moving on the water. To this day, we have not had anyone disembark Bella Luna suffering from motion sickness. However, if you still feel that you are one of those rare, highly sensitive people, we recommend that you take a non drowsy motion sickness remedy of your choice approximately 1/2 hour prior to your charter time. This will give your system enough time to absorb the remedy so you can enjoy your special occasion without worry.
What is the $150 venue fee for?
Almost all of our charters aboard Bella Luna are either self or professionally catered. If you wish to enjoy food and beverages while on your voyage, then a $150 Venue Fee is applied to your charter. This fee allows you up to a 1/2 hour early access to the yacht (so, we don't actually charge you for THAT time aboard the yacht) to deliver, drop off, and set up your food and beverages. It also provides you with our crew to clean up during and after the charter. This is a one-time fee and not hourly.
Do you charge a Service Fee or Gratuity on your charters?
We do not charge a mandatory service fee or gratuity on our charters. However, they are greatly appreciated if our Captain and crew do a good job for you and you're inclined to do so. This is completely at your discretion. You are welcome to add a gratuity to your balance to be charged at the end of charter. We are able to charge the same credit card that you placed your deposit on and simply add the gratuity onto the balance. Or, you may provide the Captain with a cash tip to be distributed among the crew.
What is considered an appropriate tip for the Captain and Crew
If you are kind enough to recognize the efforts of our professional Captain and crew in making memories for you guests, all tips are graciously accepted. A yacht charter aboard Bella Luna is a service. So, traditional "service industry" gratuity rates would be applicable. Essentially, whatever you would tip a waiter/waitress at a fine restaurant. Because a private yacht charter aboard Bella Luna is considered a "high ticket" purchase, a 12% - 20% gratuity to be shared among crew is welcomed.
Do you require a payment up front to book a charter?
We only ask for a refundable deposit for the first hour of your charter. The remaining balance will be due within 7 days prior to the charter.
What is the Bella Luna cancellation policy?
We allow you to secure your reservation worry free for up to seven days prior to your departure time. If you need to cancel your charter, for any reason, outside of three days from your departure time, we will return 100% of your deposit. Unfortunately, if you cancel for any reason within three days of your departure time, we are not likely to be able to procure another client for the charter time you booked. Therefor, we will keep your deposit. If you wish to reschedule your charter for another time, we will be happy to retain your deposit and apply it to your rescheduled date, even if you cancel within the three day, non-refundable, cancellation time. We provide one year from the originally scheduled charter date and time before losing your deposit completely. The Captain may cancel your charter, up to the time of charter, for safety concerns, inclement weather, or mechanical failure. If the Captain cancels your charter for any of these reasons, we will refund 100% of your deposit. Unfortunately, no other concessions can be made. In the unlikely event that Bella Luna becomes disabled during your charter. Your charter rate will be prorated to the time of the incident. You will be refunded for the length of time that we were unable to complete your voyage. If the Captain is able to fix Bella Luna and resume your charter, we may be able to offer an extension of time to complete your charter duration. Otherwise, we will refund the remainder of your time.
Can we bring food and beverages aboard?
Yes. Bella Luna is very flexible in regards to bringing food and beverage aboard. We supply two very large Coleman coolers that we keep stocked with complimentary soft drinks and water. We leave enough room in those coolers that you're welcome to bring aboard anything else that you would like to keep chilled as well, including alcohol. We do not currently have any "preferred vendors" for catering. But we know of several caterers that have been aboard in the past and have done fantastic jobs. If you'd like our assistance with catering, we'll be happy to help. We are currently working on developing catering partnerships to provide you with the best quality food at the most affordable prices. In the meantime, you're welcome to either ask us to help you with catering, or go shopping at a local grocer, CostCo, or order take-out from your favorite restaurant.
Do you allow guests to bring their own alcohol?
For now, yes. We will be applying for our own liquor license soon so that we can provide you with all of your party needs without you having to shop and schlep all that stuff around. However, until then, you're welcome to bring your own, or you can ask us to shop for you. We have two very large Coleman coolers aboard that we keep stocked with complimentary soft drinks (not to be used for mixers), and water. We leave enough room in those coolers for you to keep whatever else you would like to keep chilled. We also keep a stock of "clean ice" in the galley for your cocktails.
Do you allow smoking aboard Bella Luna?
We're sorry. For the enjoyment of everyone aboard your cruise and the charters after yours, we ask that you refrain from smoking of any kind during your voyage. This includes, but not limited to, e-cigarettes, vaping, burned tobacco, and marijuana (medicinal or otherwise). If any of your guests insist on smoking or vaping, irrespective of our policy, we reserve the right to terminate the charter and all funds for the remainder of the voyage are to be forfeited.
What is your policy on shoes?
What an excellent question! Thanks for asking! Please do not wear stilettos or any variation of spiked heals. Although we recommend flat shoes only, wedges or anything with a minimum of 1" heel is acceptable. High heels are less than ideal while walking on a moving yacht that may encounter wakes (waves) and spiked heels may potentially damage our floors.
Can we bring a DJ for music?
You're welcome to invite your DJ. But tell him to take the night off and enjoy the cruise. We do not have outlet power while under way. Therefor, your DJ will not be able to plug in any equipment. The good news is, that we have one of the best sound systems on the water and a house tablet with a premium Spotify account. You're welcome to use our Spotify account and blast your playlist throughout the bay!
Can I connect my phone to your awesome sound system?
Yes, you can. But you may not want to. We have a house tablet with a premium Spotify account that you're welcome to use and play whatever kind of music you'd like. Even if you don't have a Spotify playlist, you can create one on the fly and search for whatever artist, genre, or other party playlists already created. If you're absolutely certain you want to use your own device and play your Pandora list, or whatever, we can connect your device if it is Bluetooth enabled. HOWEVER, your device MUST be dedicated to our sound system and MUST remain at the helm station with the Captain so that he can control the volume in case he needs to communicate with another vessel or with Coast Guard. This means, your device is no longer available to you for phone calls, photos, social media posting, texting, etc.
Can we come aboard early to decorate for our party?
Yes. Our Venue Fee also allows you up to a 1/2 hour early access to the yacht to come aboard to not only deliver, drop off, and set up your food and beverages, but you can also use that time to decorate the boat with party favors, balloons, flowers, streamers, etc. If you think you'll need more than a 1/2 hour, please call Captain John for other arrangements. If there is no other charters before yours, we may be able to make more time to accommodate you.
What kind of decorations are allowed on Bella Luna?
You may bring balloons, flowers, streamers, table cloths, linens, etc. Perhaps it would be easier to address what we prefer you do NOT bring. Please DO NOT bring confetti or glitter! These items are strictly prohibited and will not be allowed aboard. We "prefer" that you do not bring Mylar balloons. But they are not prohibited. If you do bring Mylar balloons, we ask that you make sure that the knots that are currently on them are tightly secured and if you secure them to the yacht indoors or out, that you also secure them tightly to the vessel. Mylar balloons are not good for the ocean environment if they should happen to drift away. Please do NOT bring anything that can puncture the boat, such as thumbtacks or push pins. If you need to use tape for anything, please use ONLY painter's masking tape and NOT Scotch tape.
Is Bella Luna safe for my children?
Bella Luna has gone through extensive modifications to not only comply with the US Code of Federal Regulations, but exceed most safety standards. Captain John has designed Bella Luna to be a family friendly yacht so that we could provide you with a worry free environment for all of your family members. Children are not required to wear life jackets while aboard Bella Luna. But we respect the fact that YOU'RE the parent and the decision is ultimately yours. However, Captain John has had 3 young boys of his own and is very safety conscientious. He designed Bella Luna with your kids safety in mind. We wouldn't be able to push a kid off Bella Luna if we wanted to, and we've tried! 😉 (Just kidding, of course)
Is Bella Luna handicap accessible?
The short answer is no. However, we have made extensive modifications to comply with US Code of Federal Regulations to become US Coast Guard inspected and certified. Some of those modifications included exceeding many safety standards set forth in those codes so that we can provide your friends and family with a safe experience. That being said, Bella Luna is still a boat and some things simply cannot be worked around. So, there are stairs on Bella Luna. Some are more narrow, and some are more shallow than you're used to and certainly cannot accommodate a wheelchair or other appliances. We do have plenty of seating on the inside and outside decks. We have hosted many guests who are in need of appliance assistance. Generally speaking, we along with friends and family have assisted the guest aboard and found them a comfortable seat of their choosing and they have been able to enjoy the voyage along with everyone else. We have hosted many birthday parties of elder guests upwards of 95 years old and have been able to assist with movement if requested. As for the trip, we stay within San Diego Bay which is almost entirely landlocked and not subject to ocean swells. Aside from an occasional passing vessel that might throw us a short term wake, our charters are very smooth rides for the duration of the trip.
Do you do ash scattering or burials at sea in San Diego?
Yes. Please click on the link to our burials at sea page. This is generally the only time that Bella Luna ventures into the ocean. Otherwise, most of our cocktail and party cruises stay within the picturesque San Diego Bay.
My question isn't here. Can I call you?
You can reach Captain John directly at (619) 928-2441 from 8:00am to 8:00pm