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Old 06-08-2013, 11:16 AM   #31
Slappy32
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I know there are people that have done the hike. I even think there is an official excursion for it. Keep in mind that St. John is mountainous and the hiking can be strenuous with steep uphills and downhills.
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Old 06-28-2013, 01:41 PM   #32
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We are home from the June 15 Fantasy, and our most memorable experience was our trip to St. John, which we did on our own (me 43, DH 43, dd 17, ds 13, dd 10).

The ship did not let us out in time to make the 8:00 Red Hook ferry, but we made the 9:00 with ease and everything was fine. We took a cab to Red Hook, then the ferry to Cruz Bay. Prices for both were exactly as reported here on the DIs, and there were no surprises or problems. From the ferry dock, we walked over to the national park office and took the Lind Point trail to Salomon's Beach. It was a rainy day, so the trail was wet and a little bit slippery for my 10 yr-old, but nothing too bad. Funny thing is that I stopped to look at some plants, and my son said, "hey, look at the iguana!" My right foot was about two inches from a HUGE iguana! I am glad I didn't step on it, and wonder how many others we passed that we didn't see. They really blend in!

We took the upper trail to the beach, and the view of Cruz Bay from the overlook was well worth the little extra effort. It was uphill, but no worse than where we live in Upstate South Carolina. I'd say comparable to walking in my neighborhood, but more rocky. The trail is about a mile or so to the beach.

When we got to the beach, it took our breath away. It was unbelievably beautiful, with white sand and the clearest water I have ever seen, shallow a great distance out from shore like a swimming pool. We swam and saw pretty fish. We could see the excursion boats by the next beach around the bend, but the five of us had this beach all to ourselves. I will never forget it, and I am already trying to figure out how to get back.

We took the lower trail back, which was very easy and quick. The trail is well-marked with signs and in good condition. We took the 1:00 ferry back to Red Hook and a cab back to the ship. I am glad we did not push it to take the 2:00 ferry. We would have made it, but I would have been anxious and it would not have been worth that stress for one more hour at the beach. The traffic does stop coming back into the cruise port, and if we had been close to 3:45 all aboard time, I would have been nervous sitting there. We could see the ship by the time the traffic got bad, so theoretically we could have gotten out and run, but I am glad that we returned in an unhurried manner.

It was a rainy day, but I would still do it again. While we were at the beach it stopped raining and misted a little. The bad rain came as we were returning to the ship, so it did not really affect us at all. We were swimming anyway, so the little bit of drizzle here and there was no big deal. We just put our things under a palm tree with the camera in a plastic bag we brought, and everything was fine. It was even private enough to go behind a tree to change out of bathing suits before walking back

Some things to bring along:
We had bottled water, a box of granola bars, bug spray, sunscreen, and brush/baby powder for removing sand. We used all of these things. We also brought towels from the ship.

It was a fantastic experience over all. Let me know if you have any questions.
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Old 06-28-2013, 11:27 PM   #33
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We were going to do the St. John island tour, but after some helpful advice from other Dis'ers, have decided to cancel that since it's not something I feel our 8 year old DS would enjoy.
I have been planning to book the St. John Island Tour. My DS will be 5 and almost 3 at the time of sailing. This is one of the few St. John options for children under 5. It is also important to us to visit the visitor's center for the national park which is offered during this tour. That being said I would be interested in hearing what you've been told about the tour that turned you off. I've posted a few questions in the the Eastern Caribbean thread about this tour but never received much response. Thank you in advance.
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Old 06-29-2013, 02:47 AM   #34
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Trunk Bay is absolutely gorgeous! I would love to go back to St. John for a week's vacation one of these days.

We didn't have any issues with taking a taxi to catch the ferry, very easy process.
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Old 06-29-2013, 05:21 AM   #35
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Trunk Bay is absolutely gorgeous! I would love to go back to St. John for a week's vacation one of these days.
Me too!!!!

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Old 06-29-2013, 07:50 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by I❤MICKEY View Post
I have been planning to book the St. John Island Tour. My DS will be 5 and almost 3 at the time of sailing. This is one of the few St. John options for children under 5. It is also important to us to visit the visitor's center for the national park which is offered during this tour. That being said I would be interested in hearing what you've been told about the tour that turned you off. I've posted a few questions in the the Eastern Caribbean thread about this tour but never received much response. Thank you in advance.
Here is the thread about the St. John Island Tour...

http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3084370

The main reason we didn't do the tour is because we did a Bernard's Tour in St. Maarten the day before, and didn't want to make our DS do one 2 days in a row. It wasn't anything against the tour though - just personal preference. We ended up not going over to St. John at all, and I definitely regret that. We were so tired from our St. Maarten day and then pirate night that we didn't move very early on our St. Thomas day. By the time we got off the ship, it wouldn't have been worth the money to go over to St. John and be back by 3:45. We talked to a few people who went and said it was absolutely amazing.
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Old 06-29-2013, 02:52 PM   #37
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We traveled to St. John on our own with 14mth old, 8 and 12 yr. old. They loved it, so did me and husband. We prearranged our taxi with Islander Taxi, so he was waiting at port gate with a sign with our name on it. It was super easy, and we never felt stressed about time. We went to Trunk bay, it was the most beautiful beach, we got there before the Disney excursion so there was plenty of shade to claim. There was also a beautiful reef to snorkel, a stingray swam around us at the beach it was amazing! Took 1:00 ferry back to St. Thomas, then had time to shop by port. Will definitely do this again when we go back.
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Old 12-11-2013, 09:46 PM   #38
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Food question

Thanks so much for the details, friends!
I know we can't take food off the ship, and with such a short time, I'm hesitant to take the time to look for food on St. J, but is there anywhere enroute to Salamon, or in Cruz bay that we could grab some quick picnic goodies to take along?
Appreciate it!!
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Old 12-11-2013, 10:04 PM   #39
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Its been a few years, but the deli in Cruz bay (right on the waterfront) had yummy sandwiches and wraps (they were huge), salads, etc. We bought a picnic lunch and took it with us that day to Honeymoon bay.
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Old 12-18-2013, 02:37 PM   #40
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Thanks so much for the details, friends! I know we can't take food off the ship, and with such a short time, I'm hesitant to take the time to look for food on St. J, but is there anywhere enroute to Salamon, or in Cruz bay that we could grab some quick picnic goodies to take along? Appreciate it!!
Will you have a car? Sorry I didn't read the rest of the thread. If you do, there is a little grocery store called Starfish market just outside of town that you could grab stuff at.
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Old 12-19-2013, 12:57 AM   #41
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No car. Taxiing to trunk, or possibly hiking to Salamon if we feel up to it. Anything at the red hook dock, if we end up waiting an hour?
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Old 12-19-2013, 09:18 AM   #42
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We did this last year with the ship excursion. We want to do it on our own this year to gain some more island time.

Has anyone taking the 2pm ferry back to red hook from cruz bay?

Just wondering how tight it was to get back to the ship for 3:45pm.

Thanks!
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Old 01-05-2014, 02:03 PM   #43
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Also interested in more replies regarding the 2pm ferry. We really want to maximize our time on St. John and need to figure it out by 1/19/14. Thanks!
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Old 01-05-2014, 05:31 PM   #44
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There is a lot of info on Cruise Critic about getting to St. John. Many recommend leaving at least 3 hours before all aboard time. Traffic can be a nightmare there.
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Old 01-06-2014, 12:25 AM   #45
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Not trying to start a flame war, but as long as your food is safely tucked away in your bag and not visible, you can bring your own snacks. As far as following the rules, let your own conscience be your guide.
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