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LindaLu
05-06-2001, 11:07 AM
Just read Susan's report and it is almost identical to my report .... here are a few highlights from our trip:

St. Maarten is not a very pretty island... We did the Pinel Snorkel excursion and I wouldn't recommend it.. the water was cloudy and rough and the kids did not like it at all. We had lunch on the ship and then returned to St. Maarten for some shopping.. Liquor is VERY cheap so if you don't mind carrying it home it is well worth it. Also have lots of jewelry stores where we bought a tanzanite ring.. DD got her hair braided - we paid 2 dollars a braid . she only got the front braided - it turned out very pretty our island woman took us to a shaded area and was very nice ... we were glad it was done early in the trip!!!

St Thomas/St. John
We went to St. John on our own and it was definitely the highlight of our trip.. Trunk Bay was the most beautiful beach we had ever been to. It looked like a paradise!! It was very easy to get to . We took a cab (open air thing) that was waiting right outside the ship to the ferry in Charlotte Amalie.. I believe the ferry runs every hour . The ride takes about 45 minutes to St. John. Once in St. John we took a cab (once again an open air thing that was waiting right outside the ferry ) to Trunk Bay. We spent the whole day there snorkeling swimming and sunbathing!! They have clean restrooms there, showers to rinse off the salt water and places to get snacks/beverages... It was great!! We then took a cab back to the ferry to catch a 2:15 ferry back.. (we almost didn't make it due to the fact that I bought 2 rum runners for the ride back on the ferry!!! They did taste ooh soooo good though!!! We got a cab from Charlotte Amalie back to the ship after that .. It was definitely easy to do and the best day of the trip!

Kids Clubs
My 8 yr old dd loved the LAB .. the couselors were great...My 5 yr old tolerated the club for brief periods of time.. Both of them only went when activities were planned and they always had meals with us except when we went to Palos. My only wish would be that some of the Lab/club activities would be scheduled at the same time -- that way dd and I could have tried the adult pool etc.. (we usually had at least one of our kids with us) I understand that this may be hard to do logistically though.

Food
The food was better than we expected. We loved Palos brunch and dinner.. Our server Jerry was GREAT!!! Our regular servers were ok... Our assistant server told us on the last morning that it was his last cruise and he couldn't wait to get off the ship... that explained his attitude during the cruise..

Dinner Rotation
We changed to early seating and I'm glad we did.. our ds barely could stay awake at the early seating.. he would have never made it to the 8:30 seating.

Shows/ Entertainment:
The Shows were great! least favorite - Hercules
Favorite by Far - Disney Dreams!
One wish -- that the Tropical Party would have started earlier... it looked like so much fun but our kids were too tired to enjoy it... I wish most of the evening activities would have started earlier....

Castaway Cay
By now you have heard we couldn't dock there... I think Disney needs to come up with an alternative way to get everyone to the Island since it seems that this happens often...and is billed as the "highlight of the trip" We made the best of the day by hanging out at the pools and the cast members did do their best to make it fun for us... we had fun but I feel that we missed a special part of this cruise.

All in all ... we had a great time...but would like to try something different next time...

I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have.

GOOFY D
05-06-2001, 03:51 PM
How much were the taxi's on St. John? Were the "tools" used for hairbraiding clean?

susanf31
05-06-2001, 04:00 PM
Hey Linda,

Could you please add up how much it cost you to get to St. John via Charlotte A and time it took you to get there.

We did it via Red Hook (see my St. John trip report) and it would be interesting to compare and see which was more cost and time efficient.

LindaLu
05-06-2001, 07:14 PM
GoofyD and Susan
here is the breakdown of our trip to St. John (the best we can remember)

Taxi from Ship to Charlotte Amalie (and back) - cost - $4.00pp
( family of 4 round trip 32.00) time - about 10 -15 minutes depending on traffic

Ferry from Charlotte Amalie to St. John - cost - 14.00 per adult and 6.00 per child round trip . family of 4 $40.00 for round trip. time - about 45 minutes each way.
Note: You don't pay a roundtrip fare when you get on, you pay only one way... so if you wanted to or had to get the Red hook ferry on the return trip you could

Taxi from Ferry to Trunk Bay (and back) - Cost 3.00 pp (family of 4 round trip was $24.00) Time: 10 minutes. a very fun roller coaster type ride!..

Fee for Trunk Bay - $4.00 pp, we believe that kids were free but not sure about it...

Total Time -
approx. - 1 hr and 15 minutes to get to St. John
approx - 1 hr and 15 minutes to return to ship

Total Cost:
Approx. 100.00 for family of 4

We didn't have to wait long at all to fill up any taxi (less than 5 minutes at any time) . we lucked out....
Note: Some people on our taxi heard that Trunk Bay was crowded and were steered toward Cinnamon Bay. We found that Trunk Bay was not crowded at all. My DH asked a lifeguard if he thought it was crowded and he said not at all since there were only 2 cruise ships in St. Thomas that day.......we were so glad we did this day trip ourselves and not through the excursion, we had saved money and more importantly had lots more time on this beautiful beach!!!


Goofy D

In St. Maarten, the woman used what looked like a clean comb, and she let us pick the beads from a very clean selection in a ziploc bag... I was concerned about this also due to previous postings about this...
I'm glad that we got her hair braided in St. Maarten since we didn't want to spend the time doing this in a prettier island like St. John and we never got to Castaway Cay and they didn't offer this service on the ship...

hope this helps... I am still swaying very badly ... I hope this makes sense. Please let me know if you have any other questions...

hope you have a great time on your cruise GoofyD!

susanf31
05-06-2001, 07:27 PM
Well, it sounds like your way was better. If you subtract the $24 you spent on taxis in St. John and added the $65 I spent on a jeep, I could have done it for $141 instead of $165. Sounds like the times getting there and back are the same for Red Hook and CharlotteA. Could you get on the Charlotte A ferry at 9:00 like you could Red Hook? If so, then your way was definitly better!!!

Wasn't that a fun drive to the beaches!?!?!?

Thanks for the reply!

LindaLu
05-06-2001, 09:18 PM
Susan,
yep the Charlotte Amalie ferry left at 9 am which is the one we took.. however if you missed that one it runs every 2 hours where I think the Red hook ferry leaves every hour.. According to the schedule I have you can even get a ferry from red hook at 6:30 am, 7:30 am and then hourly from 8:00 am to midnight! We just wouldn't be able to get ready for that 6:30 ferry ride;)

we were going to rent a jeep as well because we had thoughts of touring the island , but once we got to St. John we just wanted to spend the whole day at the beach...

I would love to go back there and spend more time....A week in St. John with a few visits to St. Thomas sounds nice....maybe someday:cool:

thanks for all your previous postings / hints.. I think you gave us the idea to explore this island on our own and it was the highlight of our trip!

Nemo87
05-18-2001, 09:03 PM
We also had Jerry.
He is excellent!

52plan4
02-15-2002, 10:47 AM
We are deciding on how best to do St John on our own,I'm bumping this up to let hubby take a look and see what he thinks.I appreciate all who post their experiences and suggestions as it helps all of us future cruisers get the most out of our vacation:smooth: