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mitsugirly

My review of Sapphire Beach & Paradise Point

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The Sapphire Beach Resort looks a bit run down because the restaurant and pool bar are not currently being maintained and the railings on the balconies are grayed from the weather. But it's a beautiful place to rent a condo if ever interested in returning for a week or two. You just need to rent from an owner who has updated their units nicely. Really can't beat this spot for the island views from the balcony and sound of the waves from the bed! And its close proximity to Red Hook is great for evening dining and fun bars.

We never saw any shells or coral in the sandy swimming area of the bay but you will see some brought in during sea swells. Just a beautiful sandy area for swimming, and as you said to the left is a great sea grass area and to the right the reef and a shoaly area that also offers excellent snorkeling.

We've stayed in different bldgs there and we prefer the bldgs nearer the pool and away from the dive center (D & E).

 

The Banana Cabana is the small beach grill you mentioned, the mahi mahi sandwich is exceptional and is $12 or 14, nothing is cheap on the beach! The burger is also good, but the mahi mahi is excellent. The rum punches are better at the dive center and the prices are lower there (for beer too). I've read of an older lady who has a smaller stand and makes the best rum punches but she's not there when we stay.

 

But yes, Sapphire is the best beach to spend a day or 3 months on STT and hopefully the restaurant and pool bar will re-open soon for the enjoyment of the resort guests.

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Yes, sea turtles and rays are sometimes spotted in the seagrass area, not sure how likely it is to see them there.

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St Thomas

 

 

I was really skeptical about this island due to all the negative news reports after the shooting of the teenager from the cruise ship a few months ago and all the gang related violence taking place on this island. However, I’m SO glad I decided to go ahead with my plans for the island.

 

 

We knew before going on our cruise that we wanted to go places on our own by taxi instead of a tour service. Our plans were to visit Paradise Point first for pictures, then on to Sapphire for some snorkeling, then on to Maggens for a short period before heading back to the ship.

 

 

When we arrived at Paradise to get on the skylift, they were not open yet to my surprise. They did not open until 9am. It was only 8am. I was not only disappointed but shocked knowing that the ships come in this early, you would think that they would be open this early to make more money. We did buy our tickets on the ship (which is actually CHEAPER than purchasing them at the skylift box). Our cruise line also offered your money back if you didn’t use the tickets. WOW. The only time you would ever see that happen.

 

 

So, we decided to walk back to the port and catch a cab and go on with our plans to Sapphire Beach. A lady was there to take us to the beach. She waited until that van was OVER PACKED and people sitting on laps before she would leave. People in the van where complaining and saying “seriously you think you are going to fit more people in here-no way” only for her to get more people in the van. 4-5 people in a 3 person seat!

 

 

The driver was very talkative and talked about the island. She told us how they basically only rely on the cruise ships coming in to make a living. She stated how much it hurt them if a ship didn’t come in that day or rearranged their schedule. She told us that living in the “ghetto” would cost you no less than $250,000 per house and above. She said the nicer homes would cost you an average of 1 million. WOW.

 

 

 

She took us to Sapphire and dropped us off. Upon entering this beach area, all I can say is WOW!!! I had found Paradise finally! The beach was absolutely beautiful. The beach was lined with natural shade grape trees, clear blue water and white sandy beaches. We quickly put out things under a tree and claimed our area then headed out to the water. Instantly fish greeted us. I didn’t realize just how many where under there until I put on my mask and went under. They were SURROUNDING ME! They followed us all over the place. They were very friendly and would get right up in your face. I couldn’t believe it. We swam over to the shaded area that we knew were coral and started investigating. When my husband went under the first time, right in front of him was a jelly fish. I ran back and got my camera and started taking pictures. I found it very hard to focus on something that clear in clear water to begin with. It was a task and I wasn’t very happy with the results, but continued on exploring for fish. They were everywhere. So many different species, colors and types of fish and coral everywhere. We were absolutely amazed at this place.

 

 

 

I ran up and grabbed the box of fruit loops I had brought with me and began feeding the fish. They became our friends the rest of our visit and even took the food right out of my hand. It was amazing. We swam over to the right (in front of the Sapphire Beach Resort) and found even more types of fish. We snorkeled nonstop for hours only getting out a select few times to rest for about 10 min. When we did get out, we were exploring the sand and trees that were full of huge Iguana’s at that point looking down on us and watching us like a hawk. How amazing was that! The best of both worlds-sand and water animals!

 

 

 

I have to say hands down, this was the absolutely BEST beach I have ever been to. We decided right then and there that we not only wanted to come back someday soon, but we wanted to actually stay on the island for an extended visit (not just on a cruise ship). I was that impressed with this beach.

 

 

We had brought our own snorkeling tube and goggles, but I was having a problem with my goggles fogging up for some reason. My husband did not. We were also lacking the fins to be able to adventure out deeper. So we decided to rent the entire snorkeling package (which included everything you needed) and it was only $7. The hut also sold ice cold pop and beer that hit the spot. I mean ICE COLD. We spoke to the workers there for awhile and they commented on how much they LOVE their job there at the beach hut. What a wonderful way to spend your working day.

 

 

 

We snorkeled for awhile longer and decided that we had better head back toward the port if we wanted to try to squeeze in our trip to Paradise on the skylift. (As much as we hated the thought of EVER leaving this paradise)!!!

 

 

We quickly caught the skylift up to Paradise Point after only having to wait for 1 round of trams to pull in (there are 3 together-one set going up while one set comes down). It was beautiful up there. Breath taking. However, I was very disappointed that I had my camera on for HOURS non stop taking fish, beach, and Iguana pictures that my battery was now dead. I managed to get it to come on long enough to snap a picture, then it would die, then another picture, then it would die again. I did this several times before it would no longer turn on. We then order the famous Bushwacker drink. We were going to order food, but the waitress was taking FOREVER 1) giving us a menu 2) coming back for our drink order 3) coming back with our actual drinks then 4) coming back again to see what we wanted to order. This process was about ½ hour already. So we told her to forget the food, we’d just have our drinks. She acted very disturbed about this and rolled her eyes and walked away. It took another 15 minutes for me to flag her down to tell her we were still waiting on our check for the drinks. Then another 10 minutes to come back with the bill. Geesh. Either they need more help or different people. I did not find them friendly at all.

 

 

There was some type of parrot/bird show going on up there, but we did not have time to watch it since we had spent so much time just taking care of the drink situation. It was time to head back to the port and catch a few stores along the way before boarding again. The ride back down did take a little longer. We caught the 3rd tram that came up. But, they run every 7 min (the guy up at the top said 5 min to us so I’m not sure). Either way, it didn’t seem too long. Each lift holds 8 people per cabin. We noticed only 6 per cabin seem to be getting in. Had people been filling them the way they should, we would have been on much sooner.

 

 

All in all, we didn’t find really GOOD prices on tee-shirts there or any good discounts you would normally see in tourist spots. We got a tee for $18.99 and sun glasses for $20 (since my husband accidentally broke mine the first day on the cruise). We stopped in the jewelry stores to find that the prices they quoted us were outrageous compared to those on the ship.

 

 

My final conclusion: St Thomas is by far is a beautiful island of Paradise. I hate the thought of everything bad going on at the island and hope that things continue to improve in the months and years to come. It would really be ashamed if cruise ships stops coming to such a beautiful place. I really hope to visit again soon and actually stay on the island. I would still like to visit Maggens Bay. But if you want to go somewhere with excellent snorkeling and beautiful beaches, I highly recommend Sapphire!!

 

 

If you have any questions that I might be able to answer, I'd be happy to try.

 

 

Here are some picture I took while I was there. Enjoy!

 

 

http://kimbakerphotography.smugmug.com/Vacation/4th-day-St-Maarten-1/13875332_BZdcm#1017703050_nhpoV

 

Just have to say Mitsugirly you ROCK!! Your review from the Star helped me with my cruise in April and now here is another review of yours helping with my next cruise in January. Can't wait to check out the snorkeling at Sapphire Beach!

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Just have to say Mitsugirly you ROCK!! Your review from the Star helped me with my cruise in April and now here is another review of yours helping with my next cruise in January. Can't wait to check out the snorkeling at Sapphire Beach!

 

 

Why thank you.

 

Meanwhile, you can just sit back and dream about Sapphire:

 

http://www.sapphireinthesun.com/ It looks a little windy today, but still beautiful. :)

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I'm glad you had a good time there, This is exactly how I envisioned the beach until we went March 11, 2012. The water was so rough so the kids and hubby could not even use the snorkle gear, fear of trying to go under the huge waves as well as the riptide feeling. We did not see any fish nor an Iguanas. Paid over priced hambers 10.00 each from some women with a stand in between the hotels. It was beautiful, but was disappointed we did not get to experience any of this. They say March is like their winter that is why the water was so rough. So when did you go, what month?

 

 

 

Just have to say Mitsugirly you ROCK!! Your review from the Star helped me with my cruise in April and now here is another review of yours helping with my next cruise in January. Can't wait to check out the snorkeling at Sapphire Beach!

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I'm glad you had a good time there, This is exactly how I envisioned the beach until we went March 11, 2012. The water was so rough so the kids and hubby could not even use the snorkle gear, fear of trying to go under the huge waves as well as the riptide feeling. We did not see any fish nor an Iguanas. Paid over priced hambers 10.00 each from some women with a stand in between the hotels. It was beautiful, but was disappointed we did not get to experience any of this. They say March is like their winter that is why the water was so rough. So when did you go, what month?

 

The water can be rough at any beach depending on sea conditions. We've seen it extremely calm in winter months and extremely wavy in the usually calmer spring months so you just never know. March is typically a great time to go so just a bad day unfortunately.

The Banana Cabana is a beach grill between condo buildings B & C and actually serves a good burger and a great mahi mahi sandwich but yes, nothing is cheap on the beach. Beer and rum punches are cheaper at the dive center.

Hopefully you are able to experience Sapphire again and enjoy the beauty more, it is a gorgeous beach with good snorkeling but the sea conditions are a factor of course.

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Sorry for digging up and asking questions on an old thread, but we are going to St Thomas in April. I had already planned on going to Sapphire, but would also possibly like to get some pics at Paradise Point. My quandry here is that Id like my big camera for the pics, but dont want to bring it to the beach.

 

Is the Paradise Point tram walking distance from the NCL docking area? I was thinking we could do the Point and pics first then bring the camera back to ship before going to Sapphire.

 

Great review by the way, even if it is 3 years old!!

 

D

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Sorry for digging up and asking questions on an old thread, but we are going to St Thomas in April. I had already planned on going to Sapphire, but would also possibly like to get some pics at Paradise Point. My quandry here is that Id like my big camera for the pics, but dont want to bring it to the beach.

 

Is the Paradise Point tram walking distance from the NCL docking area? I was thinking we could do the Point and pics first then bring the camera back to ship before going to Sapphire.

 

Great review by the way, even if it is 3 years old!!

 

D

 

Yes, Paradise Point is basically right across the street and maybe a block down from the NCL port. Takes less than 5 minutes pretty much. :)

 

You might want to check and make sure that Paradise Point is going to be open though. Last time I read anything on it, someone said they were closed for remodeling maybe??? Or new owners purchased it??? :confused: Just make sure you read up and see first. :)

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Here's a google earth map of it. The ships park up and down this pier and you walk out the gates and pretty much down and across the street to the entrance that you get on to the tram. The winding road you see in the map, I believe, is a road that they use to go up there. You can see the faint straight line on the map from the tram entrance up to Paradise, this is where the trees are cleared for the tram to go up. I hope this helps.

 

Paradise%20Point-XL.jpg

Edited by mitsugirly

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We are doing a B2B on the Jewel in May with St. Thomas as the first port in our second cruise. Since both cruises are very port intensive we were thinking of just playing it by ear in St. Thomas since we have been there so often. However, I doubt if we will be able to resist the siren call of Sapphire Beach! I am pretty sure we will be heading back there.

 

However, we have always prearranged our ride. Since we are "winging it" this time we will probably just have to take a taxi. I am also hoping to do the Paradise Point Tram before or after the beach since we will be docked this time at Havensight. How much time should we allow for Paradise Point before or after the beach?

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Sorry for digging up and asking questions on an old thread, but we are going to St Thomas in April. I had already planned on going to Sapphire, but would also possibly like to get some pics at Paradise Point. My quandry here is that Id like my big camera for the pics, but dont want to bring it to the beach.

 

Is the Paradise Point tram walking distance from the NCL docking area? I was thinking we could do the Point and pics first then bring the camera back to ship before going to Sapphire.

 

Great review by the way, even if it is 3 years old!!

 

D

 

That is an old thread!

I don't see the Dawn scheduled for April but I'm sure you are. Yes the tram is a short walk from the pier as Mitsugirly said.

PP was scheduled to reopen Sept 1 but haven't gotten there to confirm that!

 

The only thing is PP is a great spot to relax at AFTER the beach and before returning to the ship. If taking the camera to Sapphire and then to PP isn't an option you cantry PP early but check to be sure it is open. You can also taxi up for photo shots but the real enjoyment is experiencing PP later with the music and other ppl there. Sorry!

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We are on the Dawn repo from Tampa to Boston end of April. I suppose using your opinion we could do the beach for awhile then return to ship and get camera for a trip up the tram. My wife would probably like a little time to browse Havensight too.

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That would be our choice just based on our experiences on STT. Our last cruise to STT (we now spend time on Sapphire after staying on Tortola - great combo) we actually enjoyed a beach and returned to the ship for a quick change and I surprised my wife with a vow renewal for our 25th at the gazebo overlooking PP. If possible (and it is indeed open) I would take the trouble to do as you said. I think you would find that an enjoyable day.

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Thats great! Obviously "do-able" since you have done it! I believe I have finally completed our itinerary for this cruise! Thank you both fir the info, advice and tips!

 

If we were going to do this, how much time should we be leaving to be able to return to the ship go up to PP and maybe be able to browse Havensight a bit?

 

D

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That's the one question that's hard to answer! Only because it's hard to leave Sapphire...:(

I would figure 2 hrs to get back to the ship, quick (rushed) freshen up in your cabin and quick shopping on the way to the tram, and I'd like another couple hrs at PP. So looking at 4 hrs + time to get back to the ship. It does cut into your beach time if you allow for time to enjoy PP. it's worth it to me if you have the time.

Are you in port long enough for that? I'm sure you could make it work

 

And yes, Mitsugirly, your review is definitely worth reading now and forever - Thanks for posting! I shared it in another post for someone interested in the snorkeling at Sapphire, hope you don't mind?

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Yes you can walk from the tram to the ship. We did that and also went to Sapphire beach, but it was in the beginning of March. It was really rough water, could not snorkle at all. Beautiful, and watch out for the tide coming in when you set your seats up. Alot of folks got everything wet. It was pretty amusing except when it happened to us:D:D Oh, and the food is exspensive. WE paid 10.00 just for a single burger and had 3 kids and my husband. YIKES!

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Yes some days can be rougher than others depending on sea conditions but usually very nice. If you are looking to snorkel and it is just too rough a day you may want to taxi ($5 - 6pp) to Secret Harbor, a much smaller, protected bay with a condo property on the other side of Red Hook. Dead calm there but no shade and just not Sapphire.

 

The Banana Cabana beach grill is situalted between Sapphire Resort condo bldgs B & C (bldg A is by the dive center and the go up as you go toward the pool). I'm sure that's where you got the burger Ladybug, BC serves an excellent grilled mahi mahi sandwich as well for $12 if I remember. Not cheap but it is going to be more expensive on the beach. They also serve drinks and beer, but the beer and rum punches are cheaper at the dive center.

 

There's also a restaurant behind the Sapphire Marina and runners take orders from there as well as a pizza place in nearby Red Hook.

 

dltvermont even if you are able to spend 1 hour at PP it's better not not getting there at all. You're lucky to be docked at Havensight as that makes it so much more possible.

Good luck!

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I just wanted to add...when we did this, we had planned on going to Paradise Point first and get that out of the way and then head to Sapphire. But, since our ship got there early (8am I think it was), PP didn't open up for an hour or so later. So, our plans quickly changed and we headed to Sapphire first and caught PP on the way back. So, if they are open at all when you go and if they still have those wacky hours, then you may want to do it last on the list. :)

 

I believe we gave ourselves about an hour up there. We had originally wanted to grab a bite to eat and take some pictures but at the time we went, the service was so lousy that we got a drink and decided to leave. An hour is more than enough time to spend up there taking pictures. Allow more time if you plan on eating. :)

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Both the service and the atmosphere have always been great for us at PP. We even renewed our vows at the gazebo there one year on a cruise. But I can see having a bad day any place. But PP is a great spot to end your day.

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Thank you for all the great info and advice. I think after talking to my wife we are going to head to Sapphire as soon as we are off the ship and then make plans to return to the ship to get our camera and do some sightseeing and PP.

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Thank you for all the great info and advice. I think after talking to my wife we are going to head to Sapphire as soon as we are off the ship and then make plans to return to the ship to get our camera and do some sightseeing and PP.

 

Excellent choice and a great way to do it. Have a wonderful time at beautiful St Thomas. :)

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Mitsugirly I hope you don't mmind if I share this thread with folks asking about the snorkeling at Sapphire? Pictures are helpful.

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