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Old 03-24-2013, 10:54 AM   #16
pillow
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I have a better idea . . . rent a house on St. John for a week! I'm dying to go, and I know that just a few hours won't be enough for me (we opted for Magens Bay on our last cruise cause it was close). A week in St. John is on my bucket list . . .

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Old 03-24-2013, 12:43 PM   #17
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[QUOTE=threedisprincesses;47892837]
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We did it. Had an awesome time and we will be doing it again this year. Here are some ideas for you.

1. We were concerned about having enough time on a short port day, so we made sure we were the first off the boat at 7:30 in the morning.
The official time is 7:45, but we were in the deck one lobby ready to go at 7:20 and were able to get off a little bit earlier. We wanted to catch the 8 am ferry to St. John. If we had missed it, we would have had to catch the 9 am ferry instead. As it turns out, we were ready to leave Trunk Bay before the time we had planned, so maybe the 9 am ferry would not have mattered, but it did give us some extra time on St. Thomas at the end of the day because we caught the 8 am ferry. Also, we were on the beach before 9 am before the crowds (not that there were many people there in September) so we had our pick of spots. We were able to set up under a great Sea Grape tree directly in front of the island. We also arrived before the entry booth was open, so we got in for free, not that it's very expensive to get in.

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We have never cruised before...
1. Is this about an average time for disembarking at St. Thomas? My friend said the ability to make it to St. John would be dependant upon our ability to get off of the ship asap. So does Disney not make you wait till the tour groups get off of the ship?
You do not have to wait for tour groups to disembark.

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2. Has anyone ever walked the trail to Salomon Beach/Honeymoon Beach? Would this walk just waste time?
That was my original plan because people were on a budget, but the others talked me out of it. It is a hike and St. John is VERY Mountainous, so a one mile hike may be more than you bargained for depending on the members of your group. You will get to Trunk Bay sooner if you drive, IMHO. Others say that the coral is all dead at Trunk Bay on the snorkeling trail, which pretty much true, but if you snorkel out past the saddle of the island, the coral is spectacular. This is coming from a Key Largo resident.

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3. What is the difference in Trunk Bay vs the beaches at Salomon?
I haven't been to Salomon, but have done a lot of reading about the beaches of St. John. I even have the St. John iPhone app. The main difference is that Trunk Bay had amenities, like bathrooms and a snack bar, as well as rental equipment. Trunk Bay is considered by some to be the most beautiful beach in the world, plus you don't have to hike steep terrain to get to the sand. For more adventurous folks like myself, a more secluded beach may be the answer, but you will lack the amenities. I had to compromise based on the makeup of our group and I ended up being very happy I did.

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I am so happy I found someone to answer these questions!
Keep 'em coming. Please be aware that we cruised in September, the Caribbean low season. Your mileage may vary. But preplanning is the key to getting what you want out of your experience. (Princess demanded by my daughter.)
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Old 03-24-2013, 12:46 PM   #18
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Wow - thanks everyone for all the great suggestions!!

A few random things - I've been reading that Magen's Bay can get really crowded. It looks like a beautiful beach but one I wouldn't want to share with thousands of others. Now that cruisecal is a paid subscription for any port dates other than today, I can't figure out how many ships will be there with us. So this is why I'm leaning towards Trunk Bay

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I have only been on 2 Disney cruises, and I found the time it took our family to navigate this much less frustrating than meeting in the theatre with hundreds of other cruisers for Disney sponsored excursions and waiting precious minutes/hours to be given a sticker and be herded around.
My thoughts exactly! We did Atlantis Aquaventure on our Dream cruise last year, and we wasted so much time standing in line and then sitting in the WD Theatre. The amount of time in port is short anyways, and I don't want to spend any of it waiting around. Now that I have one cruise under my belt, I feel more comfortable doing non-DCL excursions.

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We did it. Had an awesome time and we will be doing it again this year. Here are some ideas for you.

1. We were concerned about having enough time on a short port day, so we made sure we were the first off the boat at 7:30 in the morning.

2. I arranged transportation ahead of time. I contacted Alvin at Islander Taxi on St. Thomas and he was waiting for us when we disembarked on St. Thomas. He also arranged transportation on St. John for us coming and going. Thanks to Alvin, we were able to make the 8 am ferry to St. John which gave us an extra hour on St. John and put us on Trunk Bay beach before anyone else was there.

3. We left earlier than we had planned and our driver on St. John phoned Islander taxi and they were waiting to take us back to the ship .

4. We had a group of twenty going but for different reasons we ended up with 12 actually making the trip and it was no problem.

5. Have all of your cash together so one person can buy all of the ferry tickets to save time. You pay the taxi on the return trip, not each way if you arrange transportation ahead of time.

6. The cost for an adult was around $40 per person for both taxis and the ferry and about $10 cheaper for kids under 11.

We had such a great experience last year that many people in our DIS group are joining us this year. I'll be happy to answer any questions anyone might have.
THANK YOU so much for this!!!! I'm going to contact them right away to get this set up. I was wondering if it would be possible to make the 8 a.m. ferry and it sounds like it won't be a problem for Islander to get us there by that time
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Old 03-24-2013, 01:06 PM   #19
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THANK YOU so much for this!!!! I'm going to contact them right away to get this set up. I was wondering if it would be possible to make the 8 a.m. ferry and it sounds like it won't be a problem for Islander to get us there by that time
Please keep in mind that our driver made a heroic effort to get us there and we arrived with minutes to spare. Try for the 8 am ferry but don't be upset you miss it. You will still have a great time and plenty of time at Trunk Bay if you have to take the 9 am ferry. If you run into traffic or construction on the way to Cruz Bay, you may miss the 8 am. We were a bit disorganized getting off the ship. Ran back to get towels, waited on the no shows, etc., so if you can get off in a quick and organized manner and arrange transportation ahead of time, you will greatly increase your odds of making the 8 am.
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Old 03-24-2013, 10:12 PM   #20
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Please keep in mind that our driver made a heroic effort to get us there and we arrived with minutes to spare. Try for the 8 am ferry but don't be upset you miss it. You will still have a great time and plenty of time at Trunk Bay if you have to take the 9 am ferry. If you run into traffic or construction on the way to Cruz Bay, you may miss the 8 am. We were a bit disorganized getting off the ship. Ran back to get towels, waited on the no shows, etc., so if you can get off in a quick and organized manner and arrange transportation ahead of time, you will greatly increase your odds of making the 8 am.
Ok, thanks for keeping my expectations in check. I'll just hope we make it by 8, and it not, it won't be the end of the world. Either way, I expect we'll get there long before the Disney excursion anyways Thanks again for the helpful information!
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Old 03-24-2013, 10:23 PM   #21
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You will LOVE Trunk Bay. We've been 3 times on cruises. We are looking to spend a week there soon. I agree it is the most beautiful beach!
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Old 04-17-2013, 09:26 AM   #22
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Does anyone remember the approximate round trip travel time?
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Old 04-17-2013, 09:33 AM   #23
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From Charlotte Amalie to Red Hook - 20 mins.
Wait for Ferry Boat - Varies - Departs on the hour.
Ferry Boat from Red Hook to Cruz Bay - 25 mins
Taxi from Cruz Bay to Trunk Bay - 15 mins

We left the Fantasy at 7:40am and were on Trunk Bay before 9:00am.
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Old 04-17-2013, 09:37 AM   #24
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From Charlotte Amalie to Red Hook - 20 mins.
Wait for Ferry Boat - Varies - Departs on the hour.
Ferry Boat from Red Hook to Cruz Bay - 25 mins
Taxi from Cruz Bay to Trunk Bay - 15 mins

We left the Fantasy at 7:40am and were on Trunk Bay before 9:00am.
Thank you! We are still trying to decide what to do... I really want to go over to St. John, but we're only in port from 7:45-3:45. Such a tough decision since we've never been to St. Thomas either!
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Old 04-17-2013, 09:50 AM   #25
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Something to keep in the backs of your minds............if you go on your own and are delayed, the vessel may not wait for you..........you will then be responsible to get to the next port.

If you go with the Disney excursion.............if your late, the vessel will wait until they have to sail to make the next port on time, but Disney will pay to get you to the next port.


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Old 04-17-2013, 11:45 AM   #26
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Something to keep in the backs of your minds............if you go on your own and are delayed, the vessel may not wait for you..........you will then be responsible to get to the next port.

If you go with the Disney excursion.............if your late, the vessel will wait until they have to sail to make the next port on time, but Disney will pay to get you to the next port.


AKK
This is all true. We definitely headed back to the ship with plenty of time to spare. We didn't wait for the last possible ferry to start back. That said, you will save money and be able to do what you want if you do it on your own. We were able to spend 4-5 hours on the beach at Trunk bay by doing our our excursion.
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Old 04-17-2013, 11:55 AM   #27
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I'm interested in going to Trunk Bay on our own too. We took the excursion to Trunk Bay last time (we have also taken the St John's Tour on a previous cruise) and so much of the day is wasted just sitting around waiting for Disney to transfer you. I would rather have the time on the beach. Thanks for all the information.
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Old 04-17-2013, 12:50 PM   #28
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So, Trunk Bay is the best beach? Also want to make sure of one that is not a clothing optional beach. Just 2 of us for our 35th anniversary. Any and all suggestions welcome. Thank You!
Lol if you see anyone out of their clothes on St. John, report it to a park ranger and watch the ticketing.

Matter of fact if you wear your swimsuit without a coverup in town that's a ticketing too. VI culture is conservative.

Also: If you want to take the hike from behind the National Park Office (which is near the Ferry dock) to Salomon beach , this trail (lind point) is well-marked and easy. I did it last year in my Tevas. It took about 30 minutes. Just don't load yourself down with stuff - a towel and some water and maybe a snack or two (and someone carry the sunscreen and Off!).

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I have a better idea . . . rent a house on St. John for a week! I'm dying to go, and I know that just a few hours won't be enough for me (we opted for Magens Bay on our last cruise cause it was close). A week in St. John is on my bucket list . . .

Jodie
I hope you do this, Jodie! That's what we do some years and it's well worth it!

-Sandy
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Old 04-17-2013, 01:34 PM   #29
Slappy32
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Here is an alternative to the ferry. It is 2.5 more expensive, but may be more flexible for some groups. I have not used this service but another thread on this board has.

http://www.watertaxi-vi.com
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Old 06-08-2013, 10:07 AM   #30
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Also: If you want to take the hike from behind the National Park Office (which is near the Ferry dock) to Salomon beach , this trail (lind point) is well-marked and easy. I did it last year in my Tevas. It took about 30 minutes. Just don't load yourself down with stuff - a towel and some water and maybe a snack or two (and someone carry the sunscreen and Off!).



-Sandy
Would you (or anybody) tell me more about this hike? My family is leaning toward this option, but I am starting to waver in worrying over getting back to the ship on time. We would try for the 8:00 ferry; is there time to enjoy this hike and take the 1:00 ferry back to Red Hook to get to Havensight on time? I don't want to be a nervous wreck all day, but of the options in this port, this seems most appealing to us. We love National Parks and are up for the hike.
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