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Isaac and tourist evacuations

OK
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Isaac and tourist evacuations

Are tourists typically required to evacuate their villa when there is a threat for a Tropical Storm? We are not there now, but our Villa owner told us she just evacuated the guests from her villa because of the threat of serious weather. This is by the contract she mentioned. I asked, where will they go? She said she did not know as most things are booked. This seems a little extreme to me as the owner will no doubt be weathering the storm in the same villa. A mandatory evacuation would be a different story. Is this standard practice? Thank you

Wheaton, Illinois
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for St. Croix
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1. Re: Isaac and tourist evacuations

Yes. I would not want to ever be stuck in a villa without power, water, facilities, etc., to ride out a hurricane and deal with incoming water wind, glass breakage, etc. The idea of being in a shuttered villa would make me crazy. Even if the villa had a gennie, there are still the elements to deal with and these storms can sit over you for many scary hours. A good villa manager / owner will give the guests plenty of warning to leave and will refund for unused nights. There is usually a curfew called and if you don't have a curfew pass you cannot even move around the island. If I couldn't get off the islands I would book into a large hotel where they are used to handling these emergencies, have generators, and know how to distract nervous guests. These tropical storms are no joke.

Chicago
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for Seven Mile Beach, East End
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2. Re: Isaac and tourist evacuations

A large hotel on St John? Not very realistic. Getting to St Thomas and finding someplace to stay doesn't seem realistic either.

I agree about plenty of warning but this is not even a Hurricane it would seem the prudent thing to do is hang tight in the villa. I have only been through one Hurricane a while ago but if you don't have the time to evacuate I don't see many other options.

B.

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St. Thomas
St. Thomas
U.S. Virgin Islands
Wheaton, Illinois
Destination Expert
for St. Croix
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3. Re: Isaac and tourist evacuations

The Westin on STJ. The Marriott or Sugar Bay on STT. The Buccaneer on STX.

Consider that the people owning or managing the villas have their own families and properties to worry about without worrying about their guests and how they are making out. It takes some time and effort to shutter a villa and make it ready for a hurricane or tropical storm. And, what happens if the guest thinks they want to ride it out but change their minds after many hours of hell. Who rescues them?? I also think there may be a liability issue for the owners.

No one wants their vacation interrupted but I would definitely get out when told to do so.

Edited: 22 August 2012, 22:11
Massachusetts
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4. Re: Isaac and tourist evacuations

I remember watching TV news quite a few years ago. There was video of tourists scrambling about, seeking shelter or escape in the middle of a hurricane. I can't guess how many years ago it was, or which island, or which hurricane. But I do remember thinking "Why would you go to the Caribbean during hurricane season?"

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Caribbean
Caribbean
North America
NH
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5. Re: Isaac and tourist evacuations

We have been told by villa reps that we would have to leave a villa in case of a hurricane and that the terms to vacate could be several days before an expected storm- it will take the owners and management company time to get the property properly protected.

Corydon, Indiana
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6. Re: Isaac and tourist evacuations

October '08. Omar. I'm pretty sure it was a mandatory evacuation of all of St. John. At the time it was ordered, Omar was a Hurricane 3 and forecast to go right up Pillsbury Sound. We left Caneel at about 10 PM and they arranged rooms for us at Sugar Bay. I'm not positive the Westin evacuated too but I would assume so. (First order wasn't mandatory, second was) STT airport was closed for two days. Curfews in effect. We stayed in the room and watched the storm for about 36 hours. Omar went east but I still wouldn't have wanted to be on St. John during the storm.

I've been to St. John in August and October and the weather has been beautiful. I'm not going to chance it again.

New Jersey
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7. Re: Isaac and tourist evacuations

We were at Estate Lindholm for Omar and evacuated to the Westin early. Good thing because they stopped taking guests after a certain point because they had limited staff to care for the guests (a lot of their staff lives on STT).

We had a hurricane party until the 6 pm curfew and took our bag dinners provided by the Westin back to the room and hunkered down for the night.

It was a close call for sure.

New Jersey
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8. Re: Isaac and tourist evacuations

We were also at Caneel during Omar and were evacuated. Fortunately we had friends staying at the Westin in one of their 2 bedroom suites so we went over to stay with them. There were no evacuations at the Westin and a lot of people that were staying at nearby villas wound up staying there as well. The Westin was very good about keeping us informed about the weather and what times curfew was, etc.

St. Thomas
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9. Re: Isaac and tourist evacuations

""October '08. Omar. I'm pretty sure it was a mandatory evacuation of all of St. John.""

[quote]

That is a misleading overstatement - even for the massive storms of Hugo and Marilyn the islands have never been under any kind of evacuation scenario - some of the hotels will close up because they cannot service guests since most employees have their own homes and families to protect - many villa rentals will be boarded up ahead of a storm and the guests vacation cut short and forced to find an open hotel,[ as described in a few posts] or take a flight if available. But to imagine that 'all of St John' even could be evacuated is unlikely.

williamsburg
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10. Re: Isaac and tourist evacuations

We were asked to leave our villa for Isaac, as well. Because we rented our car on St. Thomas, it was probably a good decision to leave St. John, simply to retain the ability to return the car on time. I would hate to be stuck on St. John, unable to get over to St. Thomas. Also, once arriving on St. Thomas, we went to the Marriott (where we are now), which is good since the entire resort is powered by generators in the event of an outage. We had air conditioning last night, internet, and open restaurants. While we LOVE St. John and visit every year, I would prefer to be at a big resort and its capabilities for the guests' comfort during a hurricane. When there isn't a hurricane, put me on St John any day!