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  #741  
Old July 8th, 2012, 06:14 PM
MMOMOM MMOMOM is offline
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Default St. John .... beautiful!

We've done it a couple of times and actually like Cinnamon Bay better than Trunk ... not as crowded usually and especially if you are going early. I agree with the last poster .... Mongoose is nice and lots of nice shops and places to eat in Cruz Bay. We did the Ferry to Red Hook and then the cab .... worked out well ... just keep an eye on the time to get back to ship ... but we did it and would do it again! Have fun!

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  #742  
Old July 9th, 2012, 11:45 AM
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Susan ~ since you don't arrive until 11:00 AM, I would suggest having lunch in Cruz Bay when you arrive. Your lunch choices are many. When you disembark the ferry, you can take a right and you'll have several nice choices right on the beach - Waterfront Bistro, The Beach Bar, High Tide. Here's a link to the restaurants right along the beach at the ferry dock (it's known as Wharfside Village) http://www.wharfsidevillage.com/bars_restaurants.php. Lunching here makes it easy to walk back to the port and grab a taxi to the beaches. The restaurants at Mongoose Junction are also plenty and very good but you'd walk there (not far but not as close as Wharfside), eat and then walk back to the dock most likely to grab a taxi to the beach. It would just eat up a little more of your time.

If you don't want to spend much time on lunch, consider grabbing something to go from High Tide http://www.hightidevi.com/ and take it to the beach. I picked High Tide because it is the first restaurant you come to when you step off the ferry dock and their food is decent. Another option would be to grab a taxi and ask them to take you to Sam & Jack's Deli http://stjohndeli.com/ before heading to the beach. You can call in a carry out lunch for the beach as well. You can call them on your way to the Red Hook Ferry.

There is a snack bar (burgers, hot dogs, chips, drinks) at Cinnamon Bay so that's an option for food, too.

As for beaches, Cinnamon and Maho are both GREAT! Maho is my personal favorite beach on the island. There is now a restroom there (new in the last year) but no other facilities. Cinnamon has restrooms, chair and snorkel gear rental, the snack shop. So it has more facilities. You need to decide what's more important. You can ask your taxi driver to come back and pick you up at a designated time at any beach you go to. You can't go wrong with either beach.

The nice thing is by the time you get to the beach, Oasis passengers who have traveled to St. John will be heading back to the port.

If you had a little more time, I'd highly recommend taking a taxi from Cruz Bay to Shipwreck Landing in Coral Bay and then onto a beach but I don't think you have quite enough time to really enjoy Shipwreck and the beach.

Feel free to ask additional questions! Wish I were going with you!
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  #743  
Old July 10th, 2012, 12:55 PM
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Thanks Anne, all wonderful suggestions. Here is your chuckle for the day....after one of your trips to St. John you sent me a PM with a listing of tips etc and I still have it in my "in box" and it is dated 10/2/10! I reference it however it is now close to two years old so updated info is great.

Since we are arriving in port 11 am not sure what we will do about the lunch thing, I like your suggestion on it depends on what is important to us.....last trip to St. John we arrived on the 1st AM ferry so we were hungry, maybe not so much this time. We will see we have time to make a decision.

My main concern is not the cost of the meal but the quality of the food served. Since we will have cruisemates traveling with us we probably won't decide until the day of!

Even though we have a few months before we travel I am already getting very excited just remembering the beauty and serenity of St. John.

Thanks for your input.
Susan
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  #744  
Old July 11th, 2012, 06:56 AM
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Susan ~ that's too funny. I save everything, too. I've picked up lots of great ideas over the years and like to have them handy for reference. Looking forward to the trip and doing the planning is half the fun. You'll have a great time and waiting till you arrive to see what you are in the mood for is the perfect idea. St. John is that kind of place! Have fun looking forward to the trip! Let us know if any other questions pop up!
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  #745  
Old July 11th, 2012, 07:12 AM
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For lunch there's a good BBQ place (name escapes me but you can Google it). We had lunch at one place that many recommended and it was not good, again name escapes me but it was a small place on the left up the hill a short walk.
You'll find helpful reviews in tripadvisor under St John restaurants or just by searching the STJ forum on TA.

If you want to forego Cinnamon, et al you could head directly to Coral Bay for an enjoyable afternoon. Take a look at TA reviews on CB to get an idea if that would be worth looking at.

Have a great day!
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  #746  
Old July 12th, 2012, 09:10 PM
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I agree with Bluewater. If you are looking for something different Coral Bay is great! Shipwreck Landing is our favorite lunch spot (all taxi drivers know it). A stop atop Bordeaux Mountain at Chateau Bordeaux for the view (my fav on all of St John) is worth a stop. There is an adorable gift shop right across the street on the curve (be careful crossing the street here). You can access the north shore beaches off Centerline Rd. and see a wide variety do the spectacular beaches. There's not enough time to do all this and spend time at a beach during a cruise visit however so you need to decide what's most important.
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  #747  
Old July 13th, 2012, 12:37 AM
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That's exactly why we now stay on the islands. Great info wannabatsea!
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  #748  
Old July 14th, 2012, 08:27 AM
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I am with you Blue water. There is nothing like staying on island. It is a very special place. Glad you enjoy it as much as we do!
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  #749  
Old July 15th, 2012, 09:44 AM
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Spending a vacation on St. John is on my bucket list.

We are in port 11-7 do you think a taxi ride to Coral Bay is doable in this time frame, even if we opt to skip lunch on the island?

More concerned on getting a cab to take us back to the ferry.

Decisions, decisions, at least we have a couple more months for research.

Thanks everyone for your input!
Susan
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  #750  
Old July 15th, 2012, 12:23 PM
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Yes, no problem, just make arrangememts for taxi to return
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  #751  
Old July 15th, 2012, 11:09 PM
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Hoglady ~ if you chose to go to Coral Bay, your taxi driver will most likely stay with you. We've done it on several occasions with groups of people. When we do this, we typically stop at Shipwreck Landing in Coral Bay for lunch and invite the taxi driver to eat with us. It's a pretty long way to drive you there and then come back to get you and quite honestly, there isn't anywhere to "walk" in Coral Bay. You need to get from place to place in a vehicle and a taxi is the best way to do this unless you are comfortable with renting a jeep. There aren't sidewalks in Coral Bay and it isn't a 'walkable' town like Cruz Bay. Hope that makes sense.

OH, and to answer your question ~ yes, Coral Bay is doable in your time frame as long as you don't want to spend time lounging on a beach. You'll have time to stop and see beaches just not stay for any length of time. Any taxi can take you to Coral Bay, have lunch and then enjoy stops at the north shore beaches on your way back to the ferry dock.

ENJOY
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  #752  
Old July 19th, 2012, 07:21 AM
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38 pages of amazing info! After reading the whole thing we have decided to go alone on our upcoming visit.

RCCL offers and interesting alternative with a 6.5 hour trip that leaves from the pier, tours the park (beaches) by boat and then still gives you 3.5 hours on your own for only $40.00

But, the deciding factor was that our ship docks at 8 and the RCCL excursion only leaves at 10 AM. This will be our first stop arriving from Boston (3 sea days) and I know as soon as we dock I'll want to get off the ship.

Ultimately though, it will cost almost as much to go on our own and give us the same amount of time in St. John.

Again, thanks for all the useful info.
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  #753  
Old July 19th, 2012, 05:02 PM
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The RCL tour is a great option, you could shop Havensight for 1.5 hrs then take that tour.
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  #754  
Old July 20th, 2012, 09:39 PM
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Monica, for me you made the right decision. I love being on the water when we stay on st John for a week but not when we are there for a day on a cruise ship stop. I want to sit on the beach and enjoy the view from there. It is different. Plus you can come and go as you please and see what you want. If you are on Oasis or Allure you'd be docked at Crown Bay making shopping ay Havensight a bit more time consuming over docking at Havensight. Have a fantastic time.
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  #755  
Old July 20th, 2012, 11:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wannabatsea View Post
Monica, for me you made the right decision. I love being on the water when we stay on st John for a week but not when we are there for a day on a cruise ship stop. I want to sit on the beach and enjoy the view from there. It is different. Plus you can come and go as you please and see what you want. If you are on Oasis or Allure you'd be docked at Crown Bay making shopping ay Havensight a bit more time consuming over docking at Havensight. Have a fantastic time.
I have to say we're lovin' the water whenever we are in the islands (even in the USVI). I would definitely go with the tour that stops at different spots for the variety, especially on a cruise stop. What a great way to enjoy a coastal view of STJ and a couple different gorgeous beaches as well? Spend more time in each bay when you return for a week stay.

If docked in Crown obviously shopping at Havensight is not convenient.

Enjoy your day, and if you do decide to return for a real visit consider splitting your time between the BVI and STJ for the gorgeous beaches and different vibe in the BVI.
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Last edited by blue_water; July 20th, 2012 at 11:37 PM.

  #756  
Old July 29th, 2012, 08:55 AM
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It has now been a week since we returned from our week long stay on St Johns.

We stayed at the Westin. We had beachside rooms so had a wonderful view of the beach.

While the beach isn't quite as nice as the other beaches on the island (it had sea weed), but it is adequate. I like being able to able hit the water in the early evening when it cooled down with a beer in my hand.

They had float mats which were free, but you had to sign for them and if you didn't return them before 5pm there was a 5 or 10 dollar late charge. There was a sign saying you weren't allowed to take them off-property, but I a can not see how they could enforce it.

We rented a jeep for the most of the week. It wasn't too hard to remember about staying on the left.

One day we went to Cinnamon Bay. We went to the left, after settling in and walking the beach, decided we should have gone to the right past the point. The left had rock but not too many.

About a week before our trip I remembered to send an email for reservations at Zozo's at the bar. We were able to secure them. Although we didn't have reservations until 6pm we arrived at 5:30. Walked around the ground a bit and then headed to the restaurant. They don't seem to reserve particular seats at the bar, it was first com/first serve. They just ask you to not leave an odd seat between you and others. Since we were first, we chose the seats next to the railing.

The bartender was amazing, very friendly and accommodating. I know he has some fans on this board. Unless something change in the last week and half, his last day working was last night.

We started with the bruschetta of the day, which was steak, caramelized onions and cheese. It was very good, and several other people that arrived ordered it based on our recommendation. For our entrees, I ordered the stuffed pork chop. It was good, but a little overcooked. I can understand this as the cook needs to make sure the stuffing is cooked/melted. The white bean/hot andouli sausage was great. My wife had the shrimp and risotto. It was fantastic. For desert we split a flan servered with a fruit sauce. By the description we weren't sure if it was a flan or cream brulle, but Carlos filled us in. It was decent. The nice thing was we started to chat with the couple seating next to us. Compared notes etc. All in all a great night.
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Old July 29th, 2012, 09:23 AM
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Realized the first post was getting long so decide to break it up.

Another night we ate at the Fishtrap. We started with conch fritters which were good. I had the grilled fish of the day (mahi) while my wife had fish creole. I think my wife's choice was better. A couple of times we at Margaritta Phil's. The first time, the bartender/server working that day was a bit ditzy, but we got through. The next time the bartender/server (different from the first time), was good. The potions are large, I could only eat half of mine. Although they list enchiladas and burritos separately, I could not tell much difference as both were smothered with with cheese sauce. I can only imagine the calories. The food was good though.

We also stopped by the Tap room a couple of times, the first time just for drinks. We happened to hit it during happy hour, where wine was $1 off the normal price at just $6 a glass. The pours were good. This was the bargain of the week. Anywhere else you were talking mininum $10/glass of wine. The second time we stopped, we split a order of hummus and my wife had the pulled pork sandwich. Both were good.

Also, the tap room sells 6 packs of beer to go for $8. At the Starfish Market they go for $10. Speaking of which. We stopped there several times to buy wine and canned beer. The hotel room had mini refrigerator to keep our drinks cold. Definitely cheaper than buying that type of stuff at the deli at the hotel. We also bought prepared sandwiches and chips for the beach.
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Old July 29th, 2012, 09:43 AM
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When we picked up the jeep on Tuesday we headed out to explore the island. First stop was the NPS visitor center to pick up maps as I forgotten the one I had ordered at home. We found the free map was next to useless in regards to the trails, so purchased a better one for $2.50. Headed out on route 20, stopping at various overlooks and beaches. At Cinnamon Bay we took the Cinnamon Bay loop trail. They have various signs explaining the buildings and some of the plants. We thought it was time well spent.

We also hiked up to the Windmill etc.

Eventually we ended up at Coral Bay. We stopped at Island Blues for some snacks and drinks. We ordered Edamame and conch fritters. The edamame was different, they fixed them with soy sauce, sesame seeds, and sea salt. Plus there was a little spiciness. Very good, and something I need to try fix at hope. The other reason why we stopped here was because they had free wifi. The hotel includes internet access with the resort fee but our Nook couldn't log into it. It had issues at Island Blues so we were able to download some more reading material. If we had more time, I would have liked to go back.

This is it for things that may be of interest to cruise passengers stopping for a day (although I guess zozo's isn't appicable
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Old July 29th, 2012, 09:50 AM
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I want to thank everyone here, that gave me pointers for our stay on St Johns. It gave me a good starting point on things to do, places to eat, etc. I am not a commando type planned but you guys made me look good in my wife's eyes as I had some of the details worked with an overall idea agenda.
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Old July 29th, 2012, 11:08 AM
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Thanks for your posts and for the details, my wife and I enjoyed reading them!
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