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Old 10-06-2012, 08:25 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by desamnik View Post
We booked an excursion from the ship to St. John and Honeymoon Beach, did we pick the wrong beach??/ You seem knowledable about the island and now I'm concerned we aren't doing the right thing! HELP!
You should check the description of your excursion. The Honeymoon Beach excursion I saw listed was for Honeymoon Beach on Water Island--which is another small island off of St. Thomas. The Turtle Cove on that excursion is on Buck Island.
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:28 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by 3riverscruiser
We are regular visitors to St. John and frequent cruisers on DCL. We have made the journey from Havensight to Red Hook to Cruz Bay to a beach and back many times. It is relatively easy, but you need to make sure that you are back to the dock in time. The Charlotte Amalie to Cruz Bay ferry is notoriously unreliable in that some days when it is scheduled to run it simply is not operational. They are very much on "Island Time." Your best bet is a taxi ride to Red Hook, ferry ride to Cruz Bay and a taxi ride to whichever St. John beach you wish to visit.

The North Shore beaches are the only beaches that cruisers realistically have a chance to reach and still make it back to the ship. Here are a few that I would recommend that you think about.

Trunk Bay is the "post card" beach -- beautiful, many services (snack bar, restrooms, gift shop, snorkel rentals, showers) but very crowed at times -- where "everyone" seems to go to. For beginner snorkelers in particular there is an underwater snorkel trail that is very nice to try out. Do it early when the crowds are not too large and there are not many people in the water for a better experience. There is a nominal admission fee charged for entry during "operating hours." If you arrive at Trunk early (probably before 9:00 am "Island Time") you can avoid the fee because no one is there to collect it. If there are more than, say, two ships in St. Thomas, Trunk WILL get crowded, especially during Christmas week. Taxis wait at Trunk to take fares back into Cruz Bay. If you don't make an arrangement for your "outbound" taxi to pick you up, you can always catch a taxi in the Trunk parking lot.

Cinnamon Bay is just beyond Trunk and has many similar services, no snorkel trail though, and the surf can be rough at times. Taxis wait here as well.

Maho Bay is beyond Cinnamon and one of my favorites. It has restrooms but nothing else. The bay is protected and the water much calmer than Trunk and Cinnamon. There is a lot of turtle grass here and a really nice reef on the right side of the bay. We always find sea turtles here, always more than one. The trouble with Maho is that it is so far from Cruz Bay that you will spend more time in the taxi getting there and back that you will have limited time to enjoy the beach and, most importantly, taxis don't wait for fares there. You will need to make arrangements to be picked up at a certain time.

Closer in to Cruz Bay is Caneel Bay, the famous resort founded by Laurence Rockefeller, the father of the USVI National Park. Absolutely beautiful property and two of the best beaches -- Caneel and Honeymoon -- that you can access from the resort. Great restaurant, gift shop, dive shop and floating dock and the reefs are great for snorkeling. Taxis wait in the resort parking lot and it is a six minute drive from the Cruz Bay ferry dock.

Hawksnest Bay is another beach between Caneel and Trunk. This is the "locals" beach and it also has a very nice snorkel area. Restrooms are available but nothing else. There are picnic tables under cover, so if you grab a lunch in Cruz Bay you can sit and enjoy the view. Taxis don't usually wait here, so you will need to arrange to be picked up.

We actually are booked on the December 15 Fantasy and will be doing St. John on our own. Here is our plan. We have arranged a private land taxi to take us from the port to Red Hook and back, and a private water taxi to take us from Red Hook to Cruz Bay and back. We are using Dohm's Water Taxi. Our plan is to leave the ship at 8:00 am and be standing on the Cruz Bay ferry dock before 9:00 am. Taxi to Caneel for the morning and early afternoon. Taxi back to Mongoose Junction (a little shopping area near the Cruz Bay ferry dock) and lunch at Deli Grotto. Do a little Christmas shopping and private water taxi back to Red Hook. All aboard for us is listed as 5:30. We want to be back no later than 4:00. The cost for this is significantly more than if we went with "regular"
taxi and the "regular" ferry on St. Thomas but is about the same cost as the DCL excursion. By going "private" transportation, we also control departure/arrival times and can maximize our time on St. John.

Hope this verbose explanation helps.
Oh my goodness!!! Amazing, thorough information!!! Thank you sooo much. Is there anyone who can add to this by helping understand approximately how much the ferry at Red Hook is per person, if there is a taxi that will accommodate a group of 9 and how much the taxis cost from Havensight to Red Hook and then from Cruz Bay to the beaches? We are sailing this Saturday, December 15th and we are about to bust with excitement!!!

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Old 12-11-2012, 02:20 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by travelgal2 View Post
We are on the same sailing. We are considering St John as well.

Us too. I booked the full day schooner and snorkeling with Honeymoon beach, then changed it to the 1/2 day turtle snorkel on the schooner, and now I don't know what to do! The catamaran looked fun too.

Any suggestions? Two 16 year olds, one older out of shape mom, and 2 of the 3 sunburn easily.

Which tour? Help.

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Old 12-11-2012, 02:49 PM   #19
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Red Hook ferry is $6 per adult each way and $2 per child each way. I think a child is under 12, but don't hold me to that. The ferry runs from Red Hook to Cruz Bay every hour on the hour and from Cruz Bay to Red Hook every hour on the half hour. It could take you anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to get from Charlotte Amalie to Red Hook depending on traffic and who else is on your safari truck -- the taxi drivers typically don't leave until they get a full truck and the other fares may not be all going to Red Hook. The same is true from Red Hook back to Charlotte Amalie. I met a fellow who missed his flight because the taxi driver took him on the scenic route. Be careful on that particularly on the return trip to the ship. I would plan on catching the 2:30 ferry from Cruz Bay. You don't want to get that beautiful picture of the Fantasy sailing off into the night! Any other questions about STJ I would be happy to answer.
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Old 12-11-2012, 03:59 PM   #20
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We did St John on our own it cost us $10 a person to taxi to Red Hook then we took the ferry @ $6 per person.

Then we went to the Westin to jet ski so much fun cheaper than DCL at CC and longer and it was just 3 jet skis. Taxi was $7 per person

After that we taxied over to Cinnamon Bay which is beautiful and has many different things like paddle boards and wind surfing that you can rent. That taxi ride was $9 per person, there are always taxis available here.

Finally we headed back to town it Was $7 a person. We could have got off at Mongoose and shopped and then walked cause its pretty close but we chose to head back to the boat earlier and walk around Havensight.

One of the places the taxi dropped people off was Hawksness I thought that they called it Loch Ness (hahahah) we would have stopped there but you can only get a taxi if you prearranged it or catch one driving by.

Trunk Bay is where most of the cruises go so keep that in mind Cinnamon Bay and Hawksness are less populated.

The taxis are like mini buses they hold lots of people and can make many stops before you get where you are going.

When you come back to Red Hook the taxi situation is a nightmare. They don't put people going to similar places together so it can take you awhile to get back. I would suggest prearranging something with a taxi.
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Old 12-12-2012, 10:40 AM   #21
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Wow!! Thank you again for your replies. Our group is really excited to see St. Thomas and St. John for the first time next week!! It's such a great thing that you helped educate us before we get there.... That will be a huge time saver....leaving more time for snorkeling!!!! 😃😃

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