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Need help on planning a trip from St. T to St. J and back

St. Augustine...
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Need help on planning a trip from St. T to St. J and back

Last year we visited St. Thomas on a cruise and went to Water Island. It was a fantastic day but this year we want to go to St. John for their beaches. I'm leaning towards a day trip to Scott Beach on Caneel Bay. I like the fact that lounge chairs, tiki bar, and great snorkeling are available. My questions are: 1) Are we able to take a ferry from Havensight to Cruz Bay, 2) Is there taxi service to and from Cruz Bay/Scott Beach that's easy, and 3) What are the costs involved with this adventure. Any other advise is welcome and I appreciate your time.

Regards,

Brian

St Thomas, VI
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1. Re: Need help on planning a trip from St. T to St. J and back

The only way to get to Scott Beach is by boat or by being a guest at Caneel. Honeymoon Beach on St John, Trunk Bay, and Cinnamon are public beaches with facilities.

CT
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2. Re: Need help on planning a trip from St. T to St. J and back

MS411 is correct. The only beach that us open to the public at Caneel is the main beach and chairs are for guests only. If you get to Scott by private boat, you can not use the guest amentities.

St Thomas
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3. Re: Need help on planning a trip from St. T to St. J and back

There is no ferry from the Havensight area to St John. The Charlotte Amalie ferry which is the closest to Havensight (a $5 taxi fare per person) has a very limited schedule of three ferries a day. The Red Hook ferry terminal is on the East end (about $12 per person each way) and the ferries to St John from there run on the hour every hour.

Taxi fare from the Cruz Bay ferry terminal to the beaches is around $7 per person each way.

Here's a link to the inter island ferry schedule and rates:

www.vinow.com/general_usvi/interisland_ferry/

I would tally up the costs involved doing it solo or taking a cruise ship-sponsored expedition as it may be less of a hassle doing it through the cruise ship even if it's a little more expensive. Bear in mind too that if you do it solo, you're entirely responsible for getting back to the ship on time. If you go solo and for any reason get tied up on the return journey the ship will sail without you but, if you're on a ship excursion, it'll wait for you.

Have fun!

Holliston, MA
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4. Re: Need help on planning a trip from St. T to St. J and back

STTResident, I know for a fact that cruise ship excursions will not wait for you. I was on STJ in February via a RCCL excursion and we left 6 people behind on STJ. They will not hold up a ship filled with thousands of people for latecomers.

That said, taking the ship's excursion was convenient (direct from ship to Cruz Bay), but I believe that if we disembarked as soon as we could, we might have arrived on STJ before the excursion.

St Thomas
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5. Re: Need help on planning a trip from St. T to St. J and back

JaneJetson: I don't know the particular details of the shore excursion which you took but yours is the only experience of this nature that I've ever heard of both in a decade of working directly with the cruise ship industry and subsequent to that helping visitors with their vacation planning whether on one-day cruise ship visits or on extended stays.

It has ALWAYS been standard practice that if a tour is booked THROUGH THE CRUISE COMPANY, and the tour operator advises of any delays or misplaced passengers, the cruise ship waits for them. The cruise ship does NOT wait if the tour is booked independently of the cruise company.

The incident you describe just isn't normal industry policy.

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6. Re: Need help on planning a trip from St. T to St. J and back

On a Western Caribbean Cruise, RCCL did leave four people that bought an excursion from the ship in Cozumel, Mexico. My family and I were on that excursion, so I do know for a fact they were left behind at the second leg of the excursion and had to find their way back to Florida on their own.

It DOES happen and it is NOT a guarantee that the ship will wait for you if you buy an excursion from the ship, even though they so. FALSE Advertising!

St. Augustine...
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7. Re: Need help on planning a trip from St. T to St. J and back

Thank you for the much appreciated advise as it seems my preferred plan is not feasible. Ironically, we love to travel by cruises to different locations but do not like the "cattle drive" of their excursions. We like to follow our own nose and find beautiful places (particularly beaches) that the tours don't ruin with all the people. I know, this sounds very contradictory lol.

We really would love to see St. John and probably will heel to the advise and take an excursion. I still have one more question. Are there any resorts that offer day packages that will allow use of the facilities in St. John to enjoy the beaches?

Regards,

Brian

St Thomas
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8. Re: Need help on planning a trip from St. T to St. J and back

BlackBri, there are no beachfront resorts on St John other than Caneel and the Westin. Caneel doesn't offer day passes and even if the Westin does their beach is totally mediocre (man-made) compared to all the other glorious natural beaches on St John. Trunk and Cinnamon both have facilities, there's a small entrance fee at Trunk and this is where the majority of cruise people go. The other beaches don't have facilities but if you can get by with just towels, your snorkeling gear and bring your own cooler with lunch, you'll have an idyllic few hours on any one of them.

St Thomas
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9. Re: Need help on planning a trip from St. T to St. J and back

RaySunRay, of course it occasionally happens since nothing is perfect. If this was a cruise-purchased shore excursion there may well be a caveat that if you fail to stay with the party and go wandering off on your own and the operator is unable to locate you, the tour will continue on back to the ship and you'll have to make your own way either to the next port of call or back to home base. The tour operators make it very clear how much time you have and what time you're expected "back on the bus".

When something untoward happens such as a tour bus being stuck in traffic or breaking down, the tour operator/driver is required to notify the ship of the delay and the ship will wait. VERY rarely, if the tie-up is major and the time constraints make it impossible for the ship to continue waiting, the ship will leave and will make arrangements for the stranded passengers to stay overnight and fly to the next destination at the cruise ship line's expense.

Holliston, MA
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10. Re: Need help on planning a trip from St. T to St. J and back

The shore excursion in question was basically just a boat ride to Cruz Bay for shopping and sightseeing, and it was cruise purchased. We were supposed to be back at the dock at a particular time. The captain waited 15 minutes or so for the 6 missing people (they had the names of all the people on the boat and checked us off as we came on board so that they knew exactly who was missing), but then announced that we had to leave in order to get back to the ship on time. I'm certain if an entire excursion was delayed for some reason, the ship would wait, but not for 6 people who weren't on time. And they were crystal clear about what time we were supposed to be back.