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Our November 6th Volendam cruise has a port stop in St Thomas. It lists the port time as 9:00 a.m. to midnight. Does this mean the ship will arrive in port at 9: a.m. and we will then have to wait for the ship to clear and all passengers to go through immigration or is this the expected time for the passengers to be able to leave the ship? I may try to book a daysail on my own in that port and need to know how much time to allow for the ship to clear once we get there.
The 9 AM listed time is the time the ship is expected to arrive in St Thomas. Most times the ships arrive sooner than that. But since the Caribbean season will have begun by then, each ship has their assigned time to arrive and dock.
Usually a ship that is given a 9 AM arrival time is anchored - from some of our past experiences.
And yes, you will have to wait for the ship to clear and everyone to go through immigration - which shouldn't take long - BUT - there are always some people who ignore their letters (they think it doesn't apply to them) while others don't listen to the annoucements - and some who aren't even up yet. Only once since the new regulations went into effect did we have to wait for 2 hours before the ship cleared. The rules have changed now.
Now they a person a card that goes through immigration a card. You can leave the ship anytime after getting the card but you can't get back on until everyone has cleared immigration.
Tealady (jan) and others - In any port where you have to tender in (has never happened to US in St Thomas but based on krazy kruisers post it apparently happens sometimes) if you want off the ship as quickly as possible it behooves you to ask 3 or 4 shipboard staff the day before, what time they are going to start passing out tender passes and then show up in that location a good 45 min BEFORE the earliest time anyone tells you. Bring a book and kick back.
We learned the hard way that this is an issue on which you simply can't get good reliable info and if you have plans ashore that are time specific it is essential that you be early. All of your party needs to be ready to go when they do pass out the passes. Good luck! Only 51 days to go!!
In Dec 03, we were on the Zaandam and it docked at the new pier on the other side of St. Thomas, instead of Havensite. It didn't have any shops built (yet), and you had to wait on a shuttle to get you to downtown, since it was several miles away. I talked to one of the timeshare hawkers who recommended a taxi driver who was excellent and we went over the whole island for $25 pp and had a great time (after visiting Uncle Charlie at the Jewelers). Then the driver brought us back to the ship, saving the second $7 shuttle fare. I sure wish we had been at Havensite....I like the shops right by the ship. Hopefully this year, we'll be there. I don't think we find out until the day before we dock.
Hint: St. T is a great place to mail postcards, since it is US postage. I usually stay up the night before writing notes and go directly to the post office downtown.