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Helping my son with a St. Croix trip....need help.

Chesterfield, Mich.
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Helping my son with a St. Croix trip....need help.

Hi folks. My usual stomping grounds are the Hawaii forums. I'm not knowlegeable about the USVI, so I need some advice. I'm trying to help my son plan a trip for himself and his 9 year old daughter(my grand-daughter). He is wanting to go to St. Croix this coming summer, for a week.

He lives in southeast Pennsylvania, so he is withing easy driving distance of Phil., D.C., Newark, I believe, and Baltimore. He is also close to Harrisburg, Pa.

He has chosen the USVI for several reasons, including not having to have a passport. Not sure if he is open to considering St. Thomas or St. John.

He has looked at the Palms @ Pelican Bay and possibly the Bucaneer. The Palms looked to me like the reviews are more favorable.

Are there some other hotels any of you would recommend he take a look at?

Is it a better idea to rent a car just for the days he needs/wants it? I guess that would mean taking a cab from the airport to the hotel upon arrival, and getting the car later during his stay. Any ideas how much a cab is?

Do the car rental companies deliver cars to the hotels? Are the companies the usual U.S. companies?

Food....if he isn't eating at the hotel for all meals, will he have choices within driving distance, or even walking? Being U.S., will he find fast food choices for times when that's all they want?

The little I've looked, I've seen prices for air and hotel, leaving from Baltimore, in the ballpark of 3,000 dollars total for the two of them. I have no idea if this is good or not. To me it seems very high. But like I said, I have no clue about travel to St. Croix.

Sorry to throw out so many questions. Any help is appreciated very much. Thank you!

Santa Monica, CA
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1. Re: Helping my son with a St. Croix trip....need help.

I, too, am a regular Hawaii visitor (both forums and actually going there). We have been exploring The Caribbean of late because my young adult kids just love the laid back attitudes there. Plus the 18 year old drinking age!

St. Croix was very appealing to us because it is laid back, easy to travel around and explore on our own (versus organized tours), and we've not had a problem driving on the "wrong side," I'm very glad we went last summer as it met our expectations for beautiful beaches, shore snorkeling, and inexpensive beach bars aplenty.

The Palms at Pelican Cove is a popular choice, but a car would be a must if your son chooses to stay there. I know Judy of Croix car rental company delivers cars to lodgins because we did that at Pelican Cove Condos last summer.

The downside to staying at Pelican Cove is that the restaurant at the hotel will probably get tiring after a time. I, frankly, did not care for the food there. Although Hibiscus is nearby, I am not sure how good the food is at their restaurant. Other than those 2, you will have to drive to eat out.

The Buccaneer, while more expensive, is a real resort and I think your son and grandchild will love being there. It is much closer to Christensted for eating out and a boat trip to Buck Island so a rental car won't be necessary for the entire time. The restaurants and beaches there will be wonderful and there is sure to be other children for your granddaughter to pal around with.

Fast food: I know there are places for pizza and a KFC, am pretty sure I saw a MacDonalds or two, but a car would be necessary to get to them. Most beach bars will serve pizza, burgers or chicken fingers, though, so food options should be fairly good.

Can't speak to the airfare from the east coast, but others will chime in to help you with that aspect.

Enjoy the planning. You should go, too. We brought my mom and she loved St. Croix!

Puerto Rico
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2. Re: Helping my son with a St. Croix trip....need help.

I have been in St. thomas and St Croix, will recommend for you to go to St. thomas.

St. Croix
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3. Re: Helping my son with a St. Croix trip....need help.

St Croix is a great choice - so much for kids to do. TanTan tour is a must. Definitely get a car as cabs are very expensive and he will want to go to all the beaches and restaurants. we have IHop, McDonald's, KFC, Wendy's, Pizza Hut, etc. Great tacos at Miriam's. If money is not an issue, the Buccaneer is a great place for kids. Think my second recommendation would be Tamarind Reef Hotel. Re. car rentals: Hertz, Avis, and Budget are at the airport. Judi of Croix and Centerline will meet you at the airport. Depending on where he is located in PA, some of my friends fly out of Philly and some out of Newark. Any more questions, just post.

boston
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4. Re: Helping my son with a St. Croix trip....need help.

ddffpp and crabgroupie have given you great advice. Your son and his daughter will have plenty of things to do on St. Croix including just hanging out on the beach and enjoying time together. Prices during the summer season should be much cheaper so he'll do well with that. Try USAir out of Philly. But JetBlue is starting to become the airline of choice into the USVI.

If your granddaughter is the type to go to a kids camp on vacation, your son might want to consider the Buccaneer as theirs is free (quite unusual I think for most resorts). So she can come and go if your son wants to golf or play tennis or have a bit of a break but they can easily reconnect. The Buccaneer runs lots of specials during the summer.

While it is true that you don't technically need a passport to go to ST. Croix, we have found that it has been much easier travelling there with our kids when we have one. And if your son is divorced or separated from his wife, he will need to be sure to have the proper paperwork on travelling with his daughter. We once were on a plane from STX to MIA where they thought a child had been 'kidnapped' and we were required to show i.d. as we de-planed. Don't want to alarm you...just better for all if he is prepared.

South Bend, Indiana
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5. Re: Helping my son with a St. Croix trip....need help.

I agree with everyone above. We stayed at Pelican Cove which is right next to The Palms. Pelican Cove is a condo and therefore your son would have a kitchen and the option of fixing breakfast or lunch at the condo. There is a huge pool with a waterfall and a hot tub. It is about a 5 minute stroll to The Palms Restaurant. Pelican Cove is about a 10-15 minute drive into Christiansted and about 45 minutes to Fredricksted. There are so many things to do in St. Croix you might want to visit the Go To St. Croix web site

http://www.gotostcroix.com/tools.php You can order planning packets from this site and you will get great literature to help with the planning. I would really recommend renting a car because there is so much island to explore it would be a shame to miss it.

I agree that you should "offer" to go with your son in case he needs you :)

Someone might want to correct me on this but I think a passport is required IF you have a connection flight through SanJuan even though you don't need one for the USVI.

Springfield...
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6. Re: Helping my son with a St. Croix trip....need help.

You do NOT need a passport when traveling through or to San Juan as Puerto Rico is a US Territory just as the USVI is a US Territory. If you have a connection you deplane, wait for a connecting flight and re-board your next flight just like any other US airport, there's no dealing with Immigration. We've connected through San Juan on multiple occasions and never with a passport, most recently July of last year.

Georgetown, Kentucky
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7. Re: Helping my son with a St. Croix trip....need help.

They may not "require a passport", but IMO it sure seems to make things go alot smoother when you are in possession of one.

Chesterfield, Mich.
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8. Re: Helping my son with a St. Croix trip....need help.

Thanks for all of the replies! OK, so the Palms is a hotel, and Pelican Cove is condos? I didn't realize that.

I'm still wondering about the 3,000 dollar price for a week(air and hotel). Does that seem about average for this trip? It will be during the summer.

I appreciate all of the helpful information!

Santa Monica, CA
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9. Re: Helping my son with a St. Croix trip....need help.

Pattie: More specifically, it is the Palms at Pelican Cove and a few yards down the beach is Pelican Cove Condos. The area is known as Pelican Cove which is why the names are so similar.

West Chester, PA
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for St. Croix
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10. Re: Helping my son with a St. Croix trip....need help.

In round numbers it will cost 450 to 600 per person for airfare, 750 - 1500 for lodging, 300 for a car, so the base price of a week long trip in the summer is between 1950 and 3000 for the week before you add on food and activities.

It would be a great vacation!