Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
Host Anne

Spending a Day on St. John

Recommended Posts

Host Anne

Thank you SO much for all of your valuable information on this thread!

 

We'll be in St. John (USVI - not Antigua) at the end of December.

We stayed at Caneel Bay years ago and would love to visit again.

I remember beautiful beaches and long, wonderful walks through the National Park.

I looked at Virgin Islands Eco Tours Honeymoon Beach Discounted All-Day Watersports Package for $49/pp but wondered what was better about that than just taking a taxi to Caneel on our own.

I remember a lot of very small private beaches on the property - are they still there and can we walk to them.

 

I also see you mention Maho Beach . Where is that? Is that the best beach for snorkeling?

We are in port from 8 - 5 and don't have to deal with the St. Thomas ferry so what would you recommend?

 

Thanks again!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Host Anne

Thank you SO much for all of your valuable information on this thread!

 

We'll be in St. John (USVI - not Antigua) at the end of December.

We stayed at Caneel Bay years ago and would love to visit again.

I remember beautiful beaches and long, wonderful walks through the National Park.

I looked at Virgin Islands Eco Tours Honeymoon Beach Discounted All-Day Watersports Package for $49/pp but wondered what was better about that than just taking a taxi to Caneel on our own.

I remember a lot of very small private beaches on the property - are they still there and can we walk to them.

 

I also see you mention Maho Beach . Where is that? Is that the best beach for snorkeling?

We are in port from 8 - 5 and don't have to deal with the St. Thomas ferry so what would you recommend?

 

Thanks again!

 

Karen, is your ship stopping at STJ rather than STT? If so that is perfect for someone who wants to spend their day on STJ as it saves at least 2 hrs of travel time.

 

We haven't snorkeled Maho, but friends who also stay on the island do like it there as well as Waterlemon Cay. These spots are harder to access and spend time at when on a cruise and traveling from STT because they are a bit more remote. So a good choice if not making that trek. Maho is just beyond Cinnamon but Waterlemon is further it. And you may not find a rental car available for one day at that time if you haven't already reserved something. But check on that now, and if not I assume you will find a driver who will return to pick you up, perhaps Anne or someone else can help more with that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes - STJ - we're on the (relatively) small Pacific Princess and are stopping at many islands that are not accessible to the big ships. (Virgin Gorda, Bequia, Tobago, Martinique and St. John)

Very excited !!!

 

I also thought I read that we could walk through the national park from Cruz Bay to get to Caneel. If that's really possible it would be wonderful - might be an alternative to a good snorkeling beach.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes - STJ - we're on the (relatively) small Pacific Princess and are stopping at many islands that are not accessible to the big ships. (Virgin Gorda, Bequia, Tobago, Martinique and St. John)

Very excited !!!

 

I also thought I read that we could walk through the national park from Cruz Bay to get to Caneel. If that's really possible it would be wonderful - might be an alternative to a good snorkeling beach.

 

Nice! I'm sure someone can help with the trails. The STJ forum on tripadvisor would also be a great source for help with that question.

 

Enjoy the North Sound of VG - beautiful! If you haven't visited the Baths it's worth the ride/drive, just check the cruise ship schedule for Road Town so you're not caught up with a larger crowd there. If you do get down to the Baths we enjoy having lunch at the Mineshaft Cafe also in the Valley area not far from the Baths. Panoramic view, and their signature drink (the Cave In) is fun to watch being made. But the North Sound is a great place to explore!

 

Have a great cruise!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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

 

We just returned from our 3rd land vacay in St. Thomas. If you really want St. John, I would do it from the ship. If you want really good snorkeling in St. Thomas in the time window you are alloted without paying the excursion fees, I'd get a van cab straight to Coki Beach. It has some amazing snorkeling that is free (gear is there to rent; we bring our own) and there is a little shopping you can do and they have food/beverages. Depending on the number of cruise ships in town, will depend on how busy the beach is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The price and time in transit is typically the same either way, we just prefer the self-excursion for the flexibility and not waiting in a queue when departing...

As Anne stated going to a close beach on STJ costs about $28 more pp than going to the East End beaches like Coki and Sapphire which would be $20pp round trip. Personally Sapphire would be our choice when any ships are in port...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes - STJ - we're on the (relatively) small Pacific Princess and are stopping at many islands that are not accessible to the big ships. (Virgin Gorda, Bequia, Tobago, Martinique and St. John)

Very excited !!!

 

I also thought I read that we could walk through the national park from Cruz Bay to get to Caneel. If that's really possible it would be wonderful - might be an alternative to a good snorkeling beach.

 

You can hike Lind Point Trail or Caneel Hill to get to Caneel. Lind Point Trail starts behind the National Park HQ whicb is where your tender comes in.

 

Lind Point is easy hike. Caneel Hill is longer and more challenging.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Personally Sapphire would be our choice when any ships are in port...

 

I should have included the fact that we are a bit older and prefer a quieter beach and so Sapphire is our favorite. Coki is indeed a gorgeous beach with a livelier vibe, a fun spot to enjoy the day!

Edited by blue_water

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Karen ~ here's some good information on walking from Cruz Bay to Solomon (which is adjacent to Honeymoon - you can walk from one to the other). http://stjohntour.com/LindPointTrail.html Note that it's 3/4 of a mile hike to get to Solomon and 1.1 miles to get to Honeymoon. If you are going to hike it, be sure you have water with you as it can get hot along the trail.

 

Honeymoon charges to access their property, even via taxi. I believe it's currently $20 which you get back if you purchase $20 or more on property. Note that even if you taxi into Caneel, the walk to Honeymoon is still a little bit of a hike from where you are dropped off.

 

We actually did the day pass earlier this year and enjoyed using the kayaks at Honeymoon. Both Solomon and Honeymoon are very pretty beaches. But I like the rest of the north shore beaches just as much (Hawksnest, Trunk, Cinnamon and Maho). Maho is a few minutes taxi ride past Cinnamon. If you go to Maho (my favorite beach to relax and snorkel....almost guaranteed to see turles) you need to make arrangements with your taxi driver to return for you as taxis do not wait at Maho like they do at Trunk and Cinnamon. We've never had a problem with a driver returning for us but if you are uncomfortable with that, Trunk and Cinnamon are better choices.

 

If you can, check the water the day or so before you arrive. We were on St. John from a ship two weeks ago and the north shore beaches had unusually rough surf (I'm guessing St. Thomas had the same thing). Never saw waves consistently this big and we visit the island a couple of times a year. Just use caution regardless of wherever you go.

 

Your itinerary sounds wonderful! If your ship offers a "St. John On Your Own" type excursion that simply provides a ferry ride and at least four or five hours on the island, I'd recommend considering that as an option to get to St. John quickly.

 

Let me know if you have any other questions....

 

ENJOY!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi Karen ~ here's some good information on walking from Cruz Bay to Solomon (which is adjacent to Honeymoon - you can walk from one to the other). http://stjohntour.com/LindPointTrail.html Note that it's 3/4 of a mile hike to get to Solomon and 1.1 miles to get to Honeymoon. If you are going to hike it, be sure you have water with you as it can get hot along the trail.

 

 

 

Honeymoon charges to access their property, even via taxi. I believe it's currently $20 which you get back if you purchase $20 or more on property. Note that even if you taxi into Caneel, the walk to Honeymoon is still a little bit of a hike from where you are dropped off.

 

 

 

We actually did the day pass earlier this year and enjoyed using the kayaks at Honeymoon. Both Solomon and Honeymoon are very pretty beaches. But I like the rest of the north shore beaches just as much (Hawksnest, Trunk, Cinnamon and Maho). Maho is a few minutes taxi ride past Cinnamon. If you go to Maho (my favorite beach to relax and snorkel....almost guaranteed to see turles) you need to make arrangements with your taxi driver to return for you as taxis do not wait at Maho like they do at Trunk and Cinnamon. We've never had a problem with a driver returning for us but if you are uncomfortable with that, Trunk and Cinnamon are better choices.

 

 

 

If you can, check the water the day or so before you arrive. We were on St. John from a ship two weeks ago and the north shore beaches had unusually rough surf (I'm guessing St. Thomas had the same thing). Never saw waves consistently this big and we visit the island a couple of times a year. Just use caution regardless of wherever you go.

 

 

 

Your itinerary sounds wonderful! If your ship offers a "St. John On Your Own" type excursion that simply provides a ferry ride and at least four or five hours on the island, I'd recommend considering that as an option to get to St. John quickly.

 

 

 

Let me know if you have any other questions....

 

 

 

ENJOY!

 

 

 

 

Thanks Anne.

 

No need for transportation to St. John because we tender into there this time, not St. Thomas.

I like the idea of hiking over to Honeymoon but will discuss all of our choices with my husband.

 

I really appreciate all of the help everyone gave!!!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Edited by chamima

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have another question -

The day pass is $49/pp which includes the use of kayaks, pool floats and lounges .

But if we just walk to Honeymoon it's a $20 entrance fee (which will go towards food or drink).

 

I'm not sure I see the value in the day pass.

Am I missing something?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There isn't an entry fee to Honeymoon Beach. The only beach with a fee is Trunk ($5).

 

The parking fee at Caneel is $20 which is waived if you buy food/drink/merchandise. If you taxi or hike to the beach no fee involved unless you want chairs, etc or to eat or drink.

 

Trunk is only beach on St John with a fee.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There isn't an entry fee to Honeymoon Beach. The only beach with a fee is Trunk ($5).

 

The parking fee at Caneel is $20 which is waived if you buy food/drink/merchandise. If you taxi or hike to the beach no fee involved unless you want chairs, etc or to eat or drink.

 

Trunk is only beach on St John with a fee.

 

Thanks

I think we're going to walk and see just how far we can get on the trails before we stop at a beach.

Hawksnest even looks doable. (And we'll keep in mind that we have to retrace our steps at the end of the day. ;) )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very few trails connect. The Lind Pt trail terminates at Honeymoon, and you can't "walk" to Hawksnest from Honeymoon or Caneel.

 

What are you looking at for information?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Very few trails connect. The Lind Pt trail terminates at Honeymoon, and you can't "walk" to Hawksnest from Honeymoon or Caneel.

 

What are you looking at for information?

 

My husband pulled up Google Maps.

Maybe I'll just try to talk him into Honeymoon (can we walk from there to Caneel?)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The National Park site has a hiking trail map. You can walk the trail from Honeymoon Beach to Caneel. It's about a 10 minute walk. The hiking trail to Honeymoon from the NPS dock is about a mile and goes up a hill and down.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm also looking at #3. The cost is $69 per adult. Is there a less expensive local tour guide to do something similar on your own?

 

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[/size][/color] "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.[/sI

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

Edited by TeeChi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi Karen ~ here's some good information on walking from Cruz Bay to Solomon (which is adjacent to Honeymoon - you can walk from one to the other). http://stjohntour.com/LindPointTrail.html Note that it's 3/4 of a mile hike to get to Solomon and 1.1 miles to get to Honeymoon. If you are going to hike it, be sure you have water with you as it can get hot along the trail.

Thanks Anne - our friends who stay on STJ hike extensively there, especially further out, but we are more beach bums and so we're not familiar with the different trails. The various sites do have great descriptions though.

 

There is also good hiking on VG if interested, but I'd suggest experiencing the North Sound if you don't have other plans there.

Great cruise itinerary!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anne, those are very old photos of the Lind Point Trail. There are steps at the start of the trail now, and more development at Honeymoon Beach.

 

Those photos were taken before VI Ecotours opened the Honeymoon Hut so the beach now has 2 "huts", bathrooms, chairs, etc. I almost didn't recognize those pics as Honeymoon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anne -- you have some stunning photos of fish and sea critters in your album!! What beach were you at for those?? Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Host Anne- I am usually so on top of these excursions but life got in the way. We are interested in hiking in St. John national park after being in St. Thomas many many times. My son came up with this scenario. Can it work? There are 8 of us. Can we grab a larger cab for 8 instead of two smaller ones?

We are on the NCL Escape arriving in CharlotteAmalie Jan.3rd 8:00-6:00 PM.

 

I would prefer to avoid the 45 boat ride from Charlotte to Red Hook. I would rather take a cab ride then ferry ride to Cruz Bay just in case conditions are rough after two sea days!!

 

Sail into Charlotte Amalie, we are there from 8am til 6pm

 

Cab ride from Boat to Red Hook – 7 miles 22 mins

9am ferry - $6 per person (one way)

Cab ride from Cruz Bay dock to Johnny Horn Trailhead-8 miles 25 minutes

Hike Johnny Horn Trail to Watermelon Cay- 1.5 miles (Moderate)

Beach/snorkel/lunch

Hike from Watermelon Cay to Annaberg Sugar Plantation 1 mile (easy)

Check out plantation- ruin type thing, looks cool

Cab from Annaberg Sugar Plantation to Cruz Bay- 7 miles 21 mins

Ferry from Cruz bay to either Red Hook (20 mins + 20 min cab ride to ship

 

Cruz Bay to Red Hook leaves every hour on the hour, thinking we aim to catch the 4:00, this way if we miss it we still have the 5:00, we’ll just cut it close getting to the boat right at 6:00.

 

The Cruz Bay to Charlotte Amalie ferry last boat leaves at 3:45 ($12 one way)

 

Ferry Schedule

http://www.usvi.net/information/transportation/ferry-schedules/st-thomas-to-st-john-ferry-schedule/

 

Hiking Trails

http://www.alltrails.com/explore?b_tl_lat=18.372202346461265&b_tl_lng=-64.75341796875&b_br_lat=18.326825495077223&b_br_lng=-64.68320846557617

 

I would so appreciate your help so I can get on with more important things like packing!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

weloverunning:

#1. The "cabs" (safari vehicles and vans) hold 12+ people.

#2. The ferry from Red Hook to Cruz Bay is $7 per person each way.

#3. Johnny Horn runs from Leinster to Coral Bay. You will have a difficult time getting a taxi to take you to Coral Bay. You *might* be able to get someone to drop you at Annaberg, hike to Johnny Horn (at Leinster, near Waterlemon) and then over toward Coral Bay, and back. If you get someone to take you to Annaberg, see if they will come pick you up.

#4. The St John taxis are also safari vehicles. They prefer to drive to certain bays- Hawksnest, Trunk, Cinnamon.

#5. I would not suggest the Cruz Bay to Charlotte Amalie ferry as it is not very reliable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Best to be on 3 p.m. ferry to Red Hook. Traffic can be a problem so best to be near the ship before all aboard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Friends,

 

We will be in St. John on 12/30 (through Celebrity's St. John on your own excursion) and are interested in going to a beach that would have kayaks available, as well as a great beach and amenities! We have never been and are super excited!

 

Thanks for your help!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

newlaxfan ~ my underwater photos were taken in a variety of spots around St. John. Most of the turtle shots were taken at Maho. Waterlemon, Hanson and Cinnamon were where most of the rest of the shots on that trip were taken. Thanks for the kind comments...love snorkeling and taking photos in the waters around St. John.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • SAIL-AWAY GIVEAWAY - Enter for a chance to win a $3,000 Norwegian Cruise Line Gift Card
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...