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Spending a Day on St. John

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Just returned from St John on 10/22 and Cinnamon Bay is under construction no water , chair rentals or food stands . Do not know when the work will be completed. I went with my 81 yr old mom and could not stay long because there were no chair rental so we left and spent some time at Trunk Bay. If it was just me I would have stayed at Cinnamon Bay it was so much prettier then Trunk.

 

Does Cinnamon ever have chairs for rent? (the only time we have ever been there was just a quick stop on an "island tour" and I do not remember seeing any chairs at all....but I was gawking at the beauty of the water so may have just not seen them)

 

Here is an email I received last week from the new "operator" (in reponse to my email to them):

 

We’ll be open in the first week of November. The Park Service should have the water on in the next 10 days. Please see our website for more information.

 

http://www.cinnamonbayresort.com

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We are in St. Thomas 11am-7pm and I am trying to figure out a plan to get over to St. John. Any suggestions?

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Heard from our friends who live on St. John and they told us they same thing...plans are for Cinnamon facilities to reopen the first week of November. But do factor in island time. It could be later than that.

 

Yes, the do rent chairs at Cinnamon....or they always have. The rent snorkel gear, beach chairs, etc.

 

It is a very pretty place!

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We are in St. Thomas 11am-7pm and I am trying to figure out a plan to get over to St. John. Any suggestions?

 

Ariel ~ if you go to the top of this thread and click on page 1, you'll find my suggestions for getting to St. John for the day. If you have questions after reading through it, let me know. Happy to help!

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We were at Trunk last week and it looked like "upgrades" to the concessions area were still in progress. We got there earlier and there were no chair rentals to be seen (just snorkel gear) but they were finally set up and open as we were leaving. :rolleyes:

 

Not sure if the lifeguard stands are usually open or not but they were closed the day we were there?

 

When I download my camera I will post pix of the facilities.

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We will be vacation in the USVI in March. We have been to Trunk and Cinnamon and really enjoyed both. We want to go to another beach with fewer people, good snorkeling and a great view. I have been looking into Hawksnest and Maho. Which do you prefer? Is there one better than those? I have read Watermelon is amazing, but at the moment, I cannot do that much walking. (We would like to have at least port a potties. We can BYOB.

 

Thanks

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Heard from our friends who live on St. John and they told us they same thing...plans are for Cinnamon facilities to reopen the first week of November. But do factor in island time. It could be later than that.

 

Yes, the do rent chairs at Cinnamon....or they always have. The rent snorkel gear, beach chairs, etc.

 

It is a very pretty place!

 

Hi Host Anne - great info on the thread and have read most of it. Glad I skipped to end reminding me of H-Matthew issues. We will be in STT Nov 21. THinking the Celebrity excursion St. John's on your own, is best way to go for first timers. We have cruised Caribbean many times, since we live in Fl - haven't done a whole lot of exploring beaches, but are ready now.

 

Question? Thinking the excursion leaves from Havensight - the route on maps I have seen brings the ferry into a different dock from where the Red Hook Ferry docks. Are the main shopping/dining/taxis at the other dock, and we should head there first. Thanks for your help on this informative thread!

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Cinnamon is closed for renovations. You can still go to the beach but no food or chair rentals. They should be completed soon but that is the current situation

 

Getting a cab back from Maho can be problematic so it isn't recommended. Trunk is a nice beach but its where they send the tourists. There are better beaches and snorkeling but you really can't get to them from a cruise stop, you would have to stay on St. John or St. Thomas.

 

The ferry from Red Hook starts at 6AM and runs every hour

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They are renovating Cinnamon so there is no food or chair rentals. You can still go to the beach.

 

The only beaches you can count on getting a taxi back are Trunk and Cinnamon. Trunk is a nice beach but it is where they send the turists. There are better beaches with better snorkeling but on a cruise you really cant get to them. You would have to stay on St. John or St. Thomas

 

The ferry stars at 6 AM and runs on the hour

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They are renovating Cinnamon so there is no food or chair rentals. You can still go to the beach.

 

The only beaches you can count on getting a taxi back are Trunk and Cinnamon. Trunk is a nice beach but it is where they send the turists. There are better beaches with better snorkeling but on a cruise you really cant get to them. You would have to stay on St. John or St. Thomas

 

The ferry stars at 6 AM and runs on the hour

 

Thanks for the update. How did the town fair? I hope Cinnamon will be open in 2 weeks.

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You can access the beaches that offer better snorkeling, you just need a driver to return for you, or if available rent a car. You also need a longer port day.

A good alternative is one of the East End beaches of STT like Sapphire. Some folks like Trunk and Cinnamon better, or have never experienced those on STT. You also save about 2 hrs of travel time.

But if you want to get to STJ for off the beach snorkeling, research areas like Waterlemon Cay. There are also excellent daysails that moor off the cays of STJ and St James for great snorkeling, Yacht Nightwind, High Pockets, and New Horizon are just a few.

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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!!!

Thanks for the detailed info.

I was wondering if there is much to do within walking distance of the ferry (St. John side)

Also what is the terrain like? I recently broke my foot and my cast will come off exactly one month before the cruise. I'm not sure how well I will be walking by then but we loved to walk (we walk approximately 10 miles per day when cruising). I would like to see the island a bit but wonder if it might be better just to buy an island tour if there isn't much to wander and see close to the ferry.

Thanks

Elaine

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My wife likes shopping Cruz Bay, and an island tour followed by shopping and lunch in Cruz is a great way to experience STJ. There are several shops and lunch options easily walkable.

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Thanks for the detailed info.

I was wondering if there is much to do within walking distance of the ferry (St. John side)

Also what is the terrain like? I recently broke my foot and my cast will come off exactly one month before the cruise. I'm not sure how well I will be walking by then but we loved to walk (we walk approximately 10 miles per day when cruising). I would like to see the island a bit but wonder if it might be better just to buy an island tour if there isn't much to wander and see close to the ferry.

Thanks

Elaine

 

Hi Elaine ~ When you pull into the ferry dock you are in Cruz Bay. If you go to your right, you'll find a string of outdoor restaurants and bars that line the beach. Behind them is a small shopping area called Wharfside Village. Lots of nice shops.

 

If you walk straight ahead, you'll come to more restaurants and the heart of this small town. If you go to your left and walk what I'd consider about three city blocks, you'll come to Mongoose Junction. This is a very nice outdoor area filled with great shops and restaurants. It's a bit more upscale than the rest of Cruz Bay.

 

If you've never been to St. John, I'd highly recommend an island tour with one of the open air taxis that line the area just outside the ferry dock. There will be someone there asking if you'd like a tour. It's not high pressure like some islands. All the taxi drivers on St. John are great and you get a nice overview of the island for about $25 per person (lasts 90 minutes to 2 hours). You can do this and check out Cruz Bay.

 

Cruz Bay is pretty flat but there are uneven sidewalks so you should be careful when walking around town. I don't think there is anywhere in this area you couldn't go, though.

 

It's funny....we've done just this numerous times when we've had new friends visit for a day on a cruise ship and I still enjoy doing it again and again. Enjoy whatever you decide to do.

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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

 

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.

 

 

I might need to rethink our plans to go to St. John

We are a family of 5 so it will cost almost $250 just for transportation

Am I missing something? Is there a more affordable way?? I haven't looked at ship excursions yet...

 

Sent from my SM-G920V using Forums mobile app

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Cruz77 ~ I would check to see if your ship offers excursions to St. John. But I just booked one for our family of four and the cost through the ship is about $200 for the four of us. Perhaps your ship can do it at a more affordable rate. Since there are five of you, you may be able to negotiate a better rate with the taxi drivers but the ferry fees won't change and the taxi drivers may be willing to discount by a dollar or two per person. Not sure that it makes enough of a difference to help.

 

Hope you can find a way to get there.

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The taxi drivers charge per person and are not likely to negotiate. In fact, they are not supposed to negotiate. There are plenty of places on St Thomas to see that will reduce your transportation costs.:D

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Never been to St. Thomas/St. John. We'll be on Jewel and docking on Crown Bay (8 AM - 5PM).

 

Since we live a mere 10 min drive from a beautiful Mediterranean Beach, we're mostly interested in nice views and different cultures, local markets, etc. Not much into shopping either :)

 

When reading the boards, it seems that St. John is more "special/interesting" than St. Thomas, but it involves taking a return ferry.

 

Besides Jewel, the Carnival Fascination and X Equinox will be in port March 27th, 2017 (almost 8000 pax).

 

I'd be very grateful for any recommendation as the best way and island to see beautiful views/interesting places. Mostly, we r DIY people, partly because the language barrier - I speak good English, DH - not so much :)

 

Thanks in advance, Dani

Edited by dani negreanu

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Dani ~ If Jewel offers ferry service as an excursion (most of the cruise lines call it something like St. John on your own), I'd suggest considering that because you are docked at Crown Bay. We're doing this on a cruise this week. Crown Bay is a bit further to the passenger ferry to St. John and taxis don't like to leave Crown Bay until they have a completely full taxi (these are safari taxis that hold 15 - 20 people typically). If your ship offers a way to get to St. John, do it. You can get to the Red Hook ferry on your own and that's an option as well. I described at the beginning of this thread how to do just that.

 

Once you get to St. John, you are limited on how you can see the island. There are lots of taxis available wen you get off the ferry but they typically take 10 - 20 people on an island tour. Cost is normally $25 - $30 per person. You would get to see a variety of beautiful overlooks this way and if you can find one that will stop at Annaberg Sugar Plantation Ruins you can tour the ruins and get a feel for what life was like on the island in the 1800s.

 

3/4 of St. John is National Park land. The north shore of the island is filled with beautiful beaches and some of the overlook stops are breathtaking.

 

Renting a car is an option (they drive on the left side of the road, however, like England) but it's tough to get a one day car rental. If you can't locate one before you leave on your cruise, a taxi is your best bet.

 

In my opinion, St. John is definitely worth a visit. It's a much more quiet island than St. Thomas and because so much of it is park land, it's a more unspoiled and less commercial. The town of Cruz Bay where the ferry docks has some good restaurants and shops if you want a bite to eat.

 

Good luck with whatever you decide.

 

Oh...being in port with two other ships is nothing here. We're often here with 6 or 7 ships. You won't have any problem with three ships in port that day.

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Thanks, Anne. Your detailed and quick reply is much appreciated :)

 

I think that trip #1 below is the "St. John on your own". It seems that it includes only the ferry to St. John, and not the ferry back, and then we'll have to take a taxi to see the sights.

 

If you'll have the time -- I'm debating between #2 & #3. The first is 4 hours and the second 6 hours. I'd like to see "You would get to see a variety of beautiful overlooks this way and if you can find one that will stop at Annaberg Sugar Plantation Ruins you can tour the ruins and get a feel for what life was like on the island in the 1800s. 3/4 of St. John is National Park land. The north shore of the island is filled with beautiful beaches and some of the overlook stops are breathtaking."

 

Do u think u can gather from the descriptions which one will take us there??

 

Thanks again for your time, Dani

 

 

1) Enjoy a narrated ferry ride along St. Thomas' picturesque southern coast, then shop, sightsee or snorkel the azure waters of St. John. Armed with your island information package, you'll spend 4-1/2 hours freely exploring the beautiful isle. Swim at a local beach, see the "Arawak" archaeological site, or follow the snorkel trail at Trunk Bay. Browse boutiques or dine in Cruz Bay. STO3

 

2) Spend a dynamic day exploring the sub-tropical forests and semi-arid scrublands of the Virgin Islands National Park before freely roaming around quaint Cruz Bay. Enjoy spectacular coastal scenery and soothing breezes while traveling by boat from Charlotte Amalie to the island of Saint John. Hop in an open-air safari vehicle for a ride around the national park’s coastal swamplands and sugar plantation ruins, viewing 800 species of plants. Enjoy free time in seaside Cruz Bay. STP6

3) Explore the untouched natural beauty of St. John two ways: Embark on a 45-minute boat cruise around the island’s hidden coves and then ride through Virgin Islands National Park by open-air bus before enjoying free time in the town of Cruz Bay. Kick off the day with a ferry cruise from St. Thomas to St. John as you motor around this island’s white-sand and palm-lined coastline, admiring crystalline waters, coral reefs and luxury resorts along the way. On a two-hour bus drive you’ll get a comprehensive tour of the island, meandering jungle and coastal roads that offer panoramic views of neighboring isles. Virgin Islands National Park encompasses 60% of St. John, and you’ll explore a good portion of it, including a stop by the ruins of Annaberg Plantation, a former factory that produced sugar, molasses and rum in the 1720s. Back in the commercial district of Cruz Bay, you’ll have about an hour to independently explore ... before returning by ferry to meet your ship. This is the ultimate way to experience the history, landscapes and culture of St. John. STW2

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Dani ~ I'd go with #3 because it gives you the most time on St. John. Four hours is never enough for me :-) I also can't tell if #2 includes the taxi tour or if you would do it on your own. #3 gives you a great all-around experience of the island.

 

Here's a link to my photos from our visit this summer. You'll find several shots of the Anneberg ruins. If you click ALL it makes it easier to scroll through all the photos at once. https://mystjohnjuly2016.shutterfly.com/pictures/8

 

Good luck with your decision. Would love to hear how you enjoyed your day in my "happy place."

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Anne ~ thank you again for taking the time to review "my" options.

 

We'll book #3, to make the most of your "happy island".

 

It is my "policy" to come back and review my experience, as I benefit enormously from all the advises and wisdom of this wonderful CC community.

 

And, of course, your pictures are amazing. They remind me of my "cruise" to Galapagos...

 

Enjoy your cruise :)

Edited by dani negreanu

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Great choice, Dani. Wishing you a wonderful cruise and I'll look forward to reading your review. Thanks for the kind words about the photos - my spare time hobby :-)

 

Just about to book the Galapagos for next year....big birthday trip. Do you have a review of that trip I could read?

 

Enjoy St. John!

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Thanks for the kind words about the photos - my spare time hobby :-)

 

DH also has this nice hobby. Since his is not keen on cruising, I'm "bribing" him by saying: "You'll have lots and lots of new subjects to take pictures of...":D

 

Before discovering CC, I was an active member on Tripadvisor. On the Galapagos forum I was asking soooo many questions, that the "destination expert" took pity on me and kindly sent me to CC. She provided the link to the huge Xpedition thread, and I read and copy-pasted lots of useful tips.

 

I didn't know much about CC -- didn't write a review. I just contributed any insights I had.

 

I did write a trip report on Tripadvisor, and I've sent you the link to the CC mail posted here.

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