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GMoney

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  1. Correct - or at least that was my experience on 19 Nov. Pass through and exit the terminal. Go past the tourist information stand. Look straight ahead toward the end of the parking lot - that's where the pinkish / orange Pullman bus to Santiago should be.
  2. You absolutely do not need to advance purchase bus tickets. Just do it when you get there. It's easy, even if there is a language barrier. I got by with asking for "un boleto al <wherever>." The price will be displayed on the computer screen. The only thing that can get a little tricky is selecting a seat (asiento), but if all else fails, they will just assign one to you. What I learned very quickly is that bus travel is SA, and particularly in Chile, is highly utilized. Buses run continuously between Santiago and SA, Santiago and Valparaiso. The Pullman bus to Santiago didn't come to the cruise terminal, it was already located in the cruise terminal at the end of the parking lot near the terminal exit. Our first stop was then the bus terminal a few blocks away. It's odd the Pullman agents were not recruiting people more actively for the the bus, but I think my cruise was one of the first of the season. Maybe they are still figuring things out.
  3. I recently sailed 16 nights on HAL Zaandam from Rio to San Antonio and wanted to share my experience traveling from SA to Santiago on my own. There is a lot of good basic information available now transferring, so this is mostly an update. Some of the info is specific to HAL; some is generic. Overall, it’s cheap and easy and I’m glad I didn’t fork over $$$$ to the cruise line. Summary + I was assigned Expedited departure given that I could walk off unassisted. A small white card labeled “Expedited” was left in my stateroom a few days prior to disembarkation date. Expedited disembarkation was scheduled to start at 730am. + The ship docked on time. + Around 720am, I wandered down and they were letting people leave the ship. No announcement had been made. + After scanning out and walking down the gangway, I was ushered into a shuttle bus for a very very short 2 minute ride to the terminal. There were plenty of English-speaking port staff around shepherding the process. + Upon arriving at the terminal, all luggage is scanned, just like airport security. I think the Chileans are more interested in food and other banned items they do not want entering their country. At this time, a visa-type entry form previously provided by HAL was collected. + I then proceeded toward the terminal exit. I recall a small seating area, a snack stand, and I think WiFi was available. The terminal itself is small but orderly and well organized. I believe luggage was available for collection here, but don’t recall the details because I just had a small backpack with me. + Upon exiting the terminal, HAL tour buses are lined up. There is a well marked information stand. It was here where I ran into 3 representatives from Pullman Tur - the bus company - identifiable by their logo wear. They weren’t actively doing anything - just hanging out around their tourist info stand. I asked them about bus transfers to Santiago. One spoke good English and explained I could take a bus that was positioned at the end of the cruise terminal which was leaving at 830, or walk a few blocks to the bus station at try to get an earlier bus. I forget the exact cost in CHP, but it was between $6-7 USD, payable with card or CHP. I didn’t really want to wait around for an hour, but the convenience won out. I paid, was assigned a seat, provided a printed ticket, and boarded the bus. Eventually, about 7 others joined me. The company doesn’t seem to actively promote the bus, but are happy to give information if asked. + Around 810am, the driver started the bus and it seemed we were off to Santiago early; however, we just drove over to the bus station and picked up a full load of passengers there. I guess it’s possible I could have caught a slightly earlier departure, but I was in no hurry. + The ride to Santiago was uneventful with a few stops along the way. Traffic worsened the closer we got to the city. The last few miles are on narrow city streets and slow going. + We arrived at Terminal Alameda, the central bus station in Santiago. It’s predictably a busy place, with the 2 major companies (Pullman Tur and TurBus) offering trips all over the country (I journeyed from here to Valparaiso the following day, and to the airport at the end of my stay). + Terminal Alameda is connected to the University of Santiago metro station on the Red line, where I used an automated kiosk to by a Bip card to travel to on to my hotel. Sent from my iPad
  4. Hi All - I'm sailing on Zaandam from Rio to Santiago on 11/3. It's been awhile since I've sailed HAL, and am wondering about the following: 1. Internet Pre-Purchase. I'm unable to pre-purchase internet access via the cruise planner. I can book other things, but not internet. Am I missing something, or do I just have to wait until I board? I understand that internet quality will likely be sketchy. 2. Cabin Assignment. My sail date is about 30 days out and still pending a cabin assignment. I booked a guarantee category, I'm familiar with this process. In your collective experience, what's the latest your cabin has been assigned? Thanks.
  5. GMoney

    Is Pier up at Coco Cay yet?

    Just there this weekend. Construction is in progress, but it’s nowhere close to being done and appears months away from completion
  6. GMoney

    St. John "On Your Own" Tour

    Sounds like Cinnamon Bay. Unfortunately, the campground was destroyed by Irmaria, but the beach is still beautiful, albeit with much shade due to the downed tress.
  7. GMoney

    St. John "On Your Own" Tour

    If you're on a cruise, I think foregoing Waterlemon is the right thing to do. I love that part of STJ, along with Salt Pond / Rams Head, but it's just a bit of a stretch if you're on a cruise, especially from Crown Bay. I walked to Waterlemon from Cruz Bay, and on the way back lucked out n grabbed a taxi at Trunk back into town. But there was just the one taxi at Trunk instead of the usual half dozen or so. With that said, Honeymoon is the way to go. Beautiful beach where you can rent chairs and other beach things from the onsite concession. Lind Point trail is in great shape. Keep in mind that VI Ecotours is running a dingy "ferry" from Cruz Bay to Honeymoon. I don't really recommend this, as I think the hike is just part of going to Honeymoon, but it's an option. You can read my entire trip report at the link below. Happy to help with any other questions. https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g147409-i432-k11110248-STJ_Trip_Report_12_21_27_2017_Hiking_the_North_Shore_Road-St_John_U_S_Virgin_Islands.html
  8. GMoney

    St. John "On Your Own" Tour

    I visited STJ the week of Christmas. Some quick observations: - Leinster Bay Trail. The destruction here was striking to me. The trail has been significantly reshaped, and is covered in all kinds of coral. The canopy of trees is gone. The exposed trail really now runs right along the shoreline, which I guess makes getting into the water easier. This might actually evolve into a new beach at some point. There are 2 shipwrecked boats along the trail. - Waterlemon. Snorkeling here was a bit disappointing.I can’t say definitively, but I really feel like the coral took a hit and is more sparse than pre-hurricanes. I still saw a turtle, a few rays, and some small colorful fish in the rocks off the island. Visibility was a bit murky, which is not unusual. Conditions were calm though, and the current not bad. - Taxi availability in Cruz Bay was limited. It might be tough to get one out to Annaberg, and you'd have to make arrangements in advance to get back.
  9. GMoney

    Just scored a GS on Vision

    Depending on the exact location, they can be noisy, since the Windjammer and pool are on the deck above.
  10. GMoney

    St. John Trunk Bay snorkeling?

    I spent Christmas week on STJ, visiting the North Shore beaches where Trunk is. I can absolutely tell you that there are fewer taxis running between Cruz Bay (where the ferry is) and Trunk, just given the lower demand. Pre Irmaria, there would be half a dozen taxis at Trunk waiting for passengers, and that's just wasn't the case then I was there. With that said, I was fortunate on 2 separate days to luck out and find 1 taxi at Trunk and grabbed a ride back to Cruz Bay. One one occasion, I had to wait about 30 min for the taxi to fill up. Try to make arrangements with the driver that drops you off, or leave plenty of cushion to return to the ferry. I'm sure things will improve as visitors return. It's just a question of when.
  11. GMoney

    Roads to Red Hook Ferry

    IME, taxi drivers will wait until they have a optimal number of people before leaving. How long that takes just depends. You may be able to convince a driver to leave sooner and just transport your party if you're willing to pay more money. But I don't think you're just going to walk off the ship, jump in a taxi and go.
  12. GMoney

    St John

    I'm not familiar with an independent outfitter that takes cruise ship pax to Trunk. The only options are ship excursion or on your own.
  13. GMoney

    Roads to Red Hook Ferry

    I was on STT / STJ at Christmas. Roads between Crown Bay and RH are in decent shape, with the except of some potholes. You should not experience delays due to road conditions. However, catching the 9am ferry with a 8am arrival will be tough - just getting off the ship, waiting for the taxi to fill up, then getting over to RH.
  14. I spent a week on STJ around Christmas. Trunk Bay is in very good shape and definitely worth visiting. Shade is at a premium due to trees destroyed in Irmaria, and the concession operation is not fully restored.
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