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Spending a Day on St. John

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There has been an old (and very long) thread on getting to St. John. It's has lots of good information but after four years, much has changed. I've updated my "spending a day on St. John" and am posting it below so folks don't have to dig through bunches of pages. Feel free to ask questions. I love St. John ... it's a special place. If you've never been, consider it.

 

Getting to St. John on your own is pretty easy.

 

When you disembark the ship, there will be plenty of open air taxis filling with passengers heading to St. John. You'll take the taxi from here to Red Hook where you'll catch the ferry to Cruz Bay. Ferry rates are currently $7 each way. The ferry runs every hour on the hour from Red Hook to Cruz Bay and then back from Cruz Bay to Red Hook.

 

There will be plenty of taxis waiting for you when you get to Cruz Bay. They'll take you to one of the many beaches -- Hawksnest, Trunk, Cinnamon and Maho have restroom facilities while Trunk and Cinnamon have snack bars, chair rentals and snorkel gear rentals. Trunk Bay has a $4 per person entry fee. There is an underwater snorkel trail here that is well marked.

 

There will also be plenty of taxis at Trunk and Cinnamon to take you back to Cruz Bay. If you head to one of the other beaches be sure to arrange a pick up time with the taxi driver who drops you off. They always come back if you pre-arrange a pick up time.

 

If you’ve never been to St. John, you might want to consider taking an island tour. They run about $25 per person and you can ask to be dropped off at one of the north shore beaches after the tour for an hour or so. We've done this frequently when we have guests with us who haven't been to St. John before. The history, views and people of St. John are wonderful. It’s definitely worth learning more about this very special place that is 2/3rds U.S. National Park.

 

Cruz Bay is filled with lots of great beach bars, restaurants and shops. It's a great little town. Two main shopping areas are within close walking distance to the ferry dock. Wharfside Village is to our right as you walk out of the ferry dock area. Beach bars line the area with a variety of nice shops behind them. About a five minute walk to your left when you disembark the ferry is Mongoose Junction. This is an upscale shopping area also with a wide variety of restaurants and shops.

 

For those going on their own, if you’ve never done this before, I’d recommend catching the ferry back to St. Thomas three hours before your ship sails. So if you ship leaves at 6:00, take the 3:00 PM ferry. If you have done this trip several times, you are most likely safe taking a ferry 2 hours prior to your ships’ departure. It all depends on your comfort level. Traffic from the Red Hook ferry back to the ship can be heavy. If your ship is docked at Crown Bay, always allow three hours for the return. Most of the time, a two hour window is fine getting back to the ship if you are docked at Havensight.

 

APPROXIMATE PER PERSON COSTS TO GO ON YOUR OWN

Roundtrip taxi from ship (Havensight) to Red Hook: $20

Roundtrip ferry cost: $14

Roundtrip taxi cost to Beaches: $14

TOTAL APPROXIMATE COST: $48

 

Fares could vary slightly depending upon your taxi. If you are docked at Crown Bay, add approximately $4 roundtrip for the taxi to Red Hook.

 

Note: Check out excursions with your cruise line as well. Some are essentially offering ferry service to St. John. Doesn’t give you as much time on the island typically, but it is a nice alternative if you don’t want to go on your own and the prices have been reasonable.

 

Let me know if you have any other questions! ENJOY!!!

Edited by Host Anne

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Thank you for all the info we needed to know for our visit to St. John. We are looking forward to a wonderful visit on May 12th.

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You are most welcome. Here's a photo to give you a sneak peek at one of the many beautiful beaches on St. John. This is late afternoon at Cinnamon.

1572680028_StJohn-2013(86).jpg.4735e6018b42a6a44b82f20a459fe888.jpg

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Any recommendation on which beach to go to? We were planning on trunk bay bc we've never snorkeled before and my husband wants to "try it." I just looked and over 16K cruise pax will be there that day Trunk may be a little crowded!!!

 

 

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Is cinnamon beach easy to get to when dropped off by taxi? Is the snorkeling good? Thank you

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We went to Cinnamon Bay last month. It is the next beach drop-off after Trunk - very easy. No cost to get in. It's bigger than Trunk - no problem finding a nice place to sit. Chair rentals, a snack bar, restrooms and showers - all very nice. The snorkeling was great. There is some nice coral, lots of fish, and some bigger fish out around the island that you can easily snorkel over to. We both went all the way around the island a few times. We took turns snorkeling so one of us stayed with our stuff on the beach. My husband and I each saw a nurse shark (or some other kind of smaller shark), and my husband saw a sea turtle. Those sightings were by the island. As with trunk, bring lots of cash or a credit card if you want to rent anything. The deposits are large. For a folding chair, the deposit was $25. When you're ready to come back, there are taxis. We did have to wait about 10 minutes until there were enough people to fill the taxi so don't cut it too close if trying to make a ferry back.

 

I will say that the day we were there, there were multiple ships in port and we thought Trunk would be packed. We were there in January with only our ship in port and it was so crowded we couldn't find a place to lay our towels. But others on our ship coming back said that Trunk wasn't too bad and they enjoyed it. But they got there early - about 9:30 am. It was more around 11:30 when we got there.

 

Have fun!

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My DH has walking disability. He really wants to go to St. John. I have read that it is a strenuous tour. He is able to walk , he just walk slow and on level grounds. Any advice you can give is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

There has been an old (and very long) thread on getting to St. John. It's has lots of good information but after four years, much has changed. I've updated my "spending a day on St. John" and am posting it below so folks don't have to dig through bunches of pages. Feel free to ask questions. I love St. John ... it's a special place. If you've never been, consider it.

 

Getting to St. John on your own is pretty easy.

 

When you disembark the ship, there will be plenty of open air taxis filling with passengers heading to St. John. You'll take the taxi from here to Red Hook where you'll catch the ferry to Cruz Bay. Ferry rates are currently $7 each way. The ferry runs every hour on the hour from Red Hook to Cruz Bay and then back from Cruz Bay to Red Hook.

 

There will be plenty of taxis waiting for you when you get to Cruz Bay. They'll take you to one of the many beaches -- Hawksnest, Trunk, Cinnamon and Maho have restroom facilities while Trunk and Cinnamon have snack bars, chair rentals and snorkel gear rentals. Trunk Bay has a $4 per person entry fee. There is an underwater snorkel trail here that is well marked.

 

There will also be plenty of taxis at Trunk and Cinnamon to take you back to Cruz Bay. If you head to one of the other beaches be sure to arrange a pick up time with the taxi driver who drops you off. They always come back if you pre-arrange a pick up time.

 

If you’ve never been to St. John, you might want to consider taking an island tour. They run about $25 per person and you can ask to be dropped off at one of the north shore beaches after the tour for an hour or so. We've done this frequently when we have guests with us who haven't been to St. John before. The history, views and people of St. John are wonderful. It’s definitely worth learning more about this very special place that is 2/3rds U.S. National Park.

 

Cruz Bay is filled with lots of great beach bars, restaurants and shops. It's a great little town. Two main shopping areas are within close walking distance to the ferry dock. Wharfside Village is to our right as you walk out of the ferry dock area. Beach bars line the area with a variety of nice shops behind them. About a five minute walk to your left when you disembark the ferry is Mongoose Junction. This is an upscale shopping area also with a wide variety of restaurants and shops.

 

For those going on their own, if you’ve never done this before, I’d recommend catching the ferry back to St. Thomas three hours before your ship sails. So if you ship leaves at 6:00, take the 3:00 PM ferry. If you have done this trip several times, you are most likely safe taking a ferry 2 hours prior to your ships’ departure. It all depends on your comfort level. Traffic from the Red Hook ferry back to the ship can be heavy. If your ship is docked at Crown Bay, always allow three hours for the return. Most of the time, a two hour window is fine getting back to the ship if you are docked at Havensight.

 

APPROXIMATE PER PERSON COSTS TO GO ON YOUR OWN

Roundtrip taxi from ship (Havensight) to Red Hook: $20

Roundtrip ferry cost: $14

Roundtrip taxi cost to Beaches: $14

TOTAL APPROXIMATE COST: $48

 

Fares could vary slightly depending upon your taxi. If you are docked at Crown Bay, add approximately $4 roundtrip for the taxi to Red Hook.

 

Note: Check out excursions with your cruise line as well. Some are essentially offering ferry service to St. John. Doesn’t give you as much time on the island typically, but it is a nice alternative if you don’t want to go on your own and the prices have been reasonable.

 

Let me know if you have any other questions! ENJOY!!!

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If you take a taxi from the ship to Red Hook, you will be let out at the terminal, maybe 100 feet to walk? Then a few steps and a ramp to get on the ferry. You have to walk down the (flat) dock in St John and the taxis are waiting there. Not strenuous at all. If you go to a beach,there could be a bit of a walk, but some are right next to the road (Hawksnest and Maho, for example). Some of the safaris are high off the ground, with a couple of steps and a hand rail.

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Any recommendation on which beach to go to? We were planning on trunk bay bc we've never snorkeled before and my husband wants to "try it." I just looked and over 16K cruise pax will be there that day Trunk may be a little crowded!!!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

 

Jey ~ With that many people in St. Thomas that day, I'd recommend going to Cinnamon unless you can get to Trunk very early (by 9:30). As Carol noted, Cinnamon is a larger beach and you can always find a place to get away from folks. The underwater trail at Trunk is nice but the snorkeling isn't what it used to be and if its crowded, it's not fun. There is good snorkeling at Cinnamon just not an underwater trail. Enjoy!

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Is cinnamon beach easy to get to when dropped off by taxi? Is the snorkeling good? Thank you

 

Merinski ~ it's very easy. You are dropped off in a parking lot and it's a very short walk to the beach. You'll pass restrooms and showers and then walk down a short path to the beach. There will be taxis waiting in the parking lot to take you back to the ferry dock all day long.

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My DH has walking disability. He really wants to go to St. John. I have read that it is a strenuous tour. He is able to walk , he just walk slow and on level grounds. Any advice you can give is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

 

mcarbone ~ it's not a strenuous tour at all. Because of the taxis and ferry boats you need to take, it's a little more time consuming but I wouldn't call it strenuous. We often go with friends who have a walking disability. We just take our time.

 

Getting into and out of the taxis and stepping onto the ferry are the most strenuous activities. I highly recommend a taxi tour of St. John. Most of it is riding in the safari taxi. There are stops where you can get out and take some photos but again, not strenuous.

 

Take your time and you'll have a great day!

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Is it possible to do both in the same day? We will have a 14 and 11 year old with us and I don't know whether to do a tour of St. Thomas or just go to St. John. My brother says St. John is "the most beautiful place on Earth".

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Wondering if credit cards are accepted on St. John for equipment rentals or if we need cash? Thanks!

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Is it possible to do both in the same day? We will have a 14 and 11 year old with us and I don't know whether to do a tour of St. Thomas or just go to St. John. My brother says St. John is "the most beautiful place on Earth".

 

I can tell you that St. John is absolutely gorgeous. All I know of St. Thomas is driving around in a taxi and reports from people. It's nice, but I don't think it compares to St. John. I'm probably biased - I've been to St. Thomas twice and both times went to St. John and don't think I'd ever choose differently. In fact, I'd love to come back and spend a week on St. John someday.

 

In answer to your original question, I don't think you could really do both in one day. It pretty much takes all day to see St. John with the ferry and ship schedules, if you want to spend a few hours at a beach. If you just wanted to ride in taxis and ferries and just look at each without enjoying it, you probably could, but I think you'd be happier taking the kids to Trunk or Cinnamon on St. John and enjoying the beautiful water. My opinion. :)

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Wondering if credit cards are accepted on St. John for equipment rentals or if we need cash? Thanks!

 

I used a credit card at Trunk Bay and I'm almost positive that they're accepted at Cinnamon. I just didn't rent anything there and paid cash for my drinks and candy bars. They had lots of stuff for sale there and have high deposits on rentals so pretty certain they take them.

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APPROXIMATE PER PERSON COSTS TO GO ON YOUR OWN

Roundtrip taxi from ship (Havensight) to Red Hook: $20

Roundtrip ferry cost: $14

Roundtrip taxi cost to Beaches: $14

TOTAL APPROXIMATE COST: $48

 

 

 

Re: St. John cab fare...

We have a party of 10. Do they have large vans to accommodate all of us? Would the fare be the same ($14 R/T)?

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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The times we've gone, the taxis are large open air tram-like vehicles with benches, or regular vans (got that once on St. Thomas from Red Hook to Havensight). You would be fine - they had many waiting every place we went. The price is per person - no difference whether there's 1 or 20 of you.

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Keerle ~ It's not feasible to do Maegan's Bay and St. John on the same day. Unfortunately, there is too much travel time involved. You can do two beaches on St. John in one day since they are so close. If you arrive early, do Trunk. If you want a second beach, hop to Hawksnest (which is before you get to Trunk) or Cinnamon (which is just after Trunk). There are plenty of taxis all day at Trunk and Cinnamon....there are some at Hawksnest but not as many.

 

Tuffy ~ credit cards are accepted all over the islands and at the concessions and equipment rental at Trunk & Cinnamon. There are a few restaurants here and there that want cash only but you are good at both beaches with credit card.

 

For rentals, they charge a $50 deposit for each beach chair we rent (rental was $7 per chair last year). They run the deposit separate from the rental fee and when you return the chair, they tear up the credit card receipt so the deposit charge is never charged. They'd charge only if you don't return the items. At least that's how it was done last year.

 

We've been to both many times. If you've never been to St. Thomas, it's definitely a pretty place to see. There are nice beaches and good shopping. However, after being there a few times and then experiencing St. John, for us there's no comparison. While it takes a little more effort to get to St. John, there is far less traffic, the scenery is spectacular, we like the beach much better and great food and shopping if you are interested in that.

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lgonquin ~ most taxis waiting for cruise passengers are safari type that hold anywhere from 10 - 20+. As Carol noted, the fee is per person, regardless of how many you have. Where it will make a difference is once you get to St. John. You may be able to negotiate a little less per person if you are doing an island tour. I've often rented a safari taxi there for the day when we've had groups go over. It saved us a couple of dollars per person. If you're just heading to one of the beaches, it probably won't matter and the normal per person cost is the same.

 

ENJOY!

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Thank you !!!

mcarbone ~ it's not a strenuous tour at all. Because of the taxis and ferry boats you need to take, it's a little more time consuming but I wouldn't call it strenuous. We often go with friends who have a walking disability. We just take our time.

 

Getting into and out of the taxis and stepping onto the ferry are the most strenuous activities. I highly recommend a taxi tour of St. John. Most of it is riding in the safari taxi. There are stops where you can get out and take some photos but again, not strenuous.

 

Take your time and you'll have a great day!

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Hi Anne, Thanks for posting a new thread about St. Johns. I was planning to head to St. Johns on our own when we come to St. Thomas. Usually, I prefer to go on my own than do a ship excursion but this time around, we are going to take a ship excursion ferry round trip to and from.

 

The cost for the ship's excursion on Royal Caribbean is $34 compared to the $48 DIY. We get about 4-4 1/2 hours on St. Johns.

 

Just thought I'd mention this option for anyone wanting a direct route to St. Johns for less money.

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Do the chairs at Cinnamon have umbrellas?

 

When you rent a chair, it's without an umbrella. I thought I saw some folding umbrellas with stands in the place where you rent the chairs so perhaps you can rent those extra, but I didn't see anyone actually using one on the beach. There are so many trees that when I wanted shade, I just scooted my towel back into the shade. I even took a short nap under a tree - it was great. :D

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