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St John-beach/snorkeling ???

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We have never been to St John before but know that everyone talks about going over there from St Thomas. I've never been willing to risk it, but now we will be going to St John for a stop.

 

 

We are beach people and especially love snorkeling. I have read on here that the snorkeling is amazing over there.

 

Give me ideas of where to go, what the beach is like, and the snorkeling. Also, how long it takes to get there from the port, how much transportation would be and if there's any chair rental and vendors there for food/drinks.

 

Also, is this a good place to scuba? We do discover scuba on each cruise and is this a good place to go for that? Or should I pick a different port (St Maarten, St Kitts, St Lucia, or Barbados).

 

Any and all suggestions welcome.

 

Thanks in advance.

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Will you have your own equipment? Do you need a beach with facilities? What times are you in port? Where will your ship dock?

 

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This is a complicated question but one that crops up here all the time; good idea to search back through the posts. However..... First and foremost, between coral die off due to climate change/water temps rising and possibly the use of toxic sunscreens by swimmers on St. John for decades, plus the devastation from the recent hurricanes the snorkeling in many places off St. John is not as "amazing" as it once was. However, it is still worth going. You can take any number of private or ship sponsored excursions to get there. We have stayed on St. John twice, on St. Thomas twice and gone over to St. John off ships at least a dozen times over the last 20 years. We LOVE snorkeling and with the exception of Bonaire, we've found the best snorkeling in the Caribbean off St. John compared to the 20+ other islands we've visited in the Caribbean. However.......

 

The best snorkeling places (Salt Pond Bay, Lamshur, etc.) are on the far end of the island and most if not all taxis will not go there. There is bus service that is very inexpensive but the schedule is unreliable at best. You could rent a jeep in Cruz bay but that may not be worth it time-wise.

 

Most people opt for the south shore beaches like Trunk, Cinnamon, etc. There are taxis readily available in Cruz Bay. The big unknown is the weather conditions and how they will effect the snorkeling on that side. If there has been or is a strong on-shore wind the water will be murky and the snorkeling will be poor visibility-wise.

 

If you opt for going on your own you should plan on getting off your ship ASAP and getting a taxi over to Red Hook to get the ferry. We always try for the 9:00 ferry to maximize our time if we have to be back on the ship in St. Thomas by 4:30. Be sure to buy round trip tickets in Red Hook to save time getting back in Cruz Bay.

 

From what you said, I think your best bet is Trunk Bay as they have loungers and the snack bar has recently re-opened. Just don't expect "amazing" snorkeling but if the conditions are good it can be very good. The coral is mostly dead but you will see plenty of sea life. We prefer Cinnamon as there are fewer people but there are still no places to rent beach gear there after the hurricanes. Hope this helps!

 

Gene & Kathy from Cape Cod

 

(we'll be going back to St. John the first week of April off the Regal, can't wait!)

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13 hours ago, Ms411 said:

Will you have your own equipment? Do you need a beach with facilities? What times are you in port? Where will your ship dock?

 

 

 

Yes, we have our own equipment. We don't "have" to have a beach with facilities, that's just an added plus. I have never been to St John yet, so I have no idea where it docks. We are on RC.

 

1 hour ago, caribbean2000 said:

This is a complicated question but one that crops up here all the time; good idea to search back through the posts. However..... First and foremost, between coral die off due to climate change/water temps rising and possibly the use of toxic sunscreens by swimmers on St. John for decades, plus the devastation from the recent hurricanes the snorkeling in many places off St. John is not as "amazing" as it once was. However, it is still worth going. You can take any number of private or ship sponsored excursions to get there. We have stayed on St. John twice, on St. Thomas twice and gone over to St. John off ships at least a dozen times over the last 20 years. We LOVE snorkeling and with the exception of Bonaire, we've found the best snorkeling in the Caribbean off St. John compared to the 20+ other islands we've visited in the Caribbean. However.......

 

The best snorkeling places (Salt Pond Bay, Lamshur, etc.) are on the far end of the island and most if not all taxis will not go there. There is bus service that is very inexpensive but the schedule is unreliable at best. You could rent a jeep in Cruz bay but that may not be worth it time-wise.

 

Most people opt for the south shore beaches like Trunk, Cinnamon, etc. There are taxis readily available in Cruz Bay. The big unknown is the weather conditions and how they will effect the snorkeling on that side. If there has been or is a strong on-shore wind the water will be murky and the snorkeling will be poor visibility-wise.

 

If you opt for going on your own you should plan on getting off your ship ASAP and getting a taxi over to Red Hook to get the ferry. We always try for the 9:00 ferry to maximize our time if we have to be back on the ship in St. Thomas by 4:30. Be sure to buy round trip tickets in Red Hook to save time getting back in Cruz Bay.

 

From what you said, I think your best bet is Trunk Bay as they have loungers and the snack bar has recently re-opened. Just don't expect "amazing" snorkeling but if the conditions are good it can be very good. The coral is mostly dead but you will see plenty of sea life. We prefer Cinnamon as there are fewer people but there are still no places to rent beach gear there after the hurricanes. Hope this helps!

 

Gene & Kathy from Cape Cod

 

(we'll be going back to St. John the first week of April off the Regal, can't wait!)

 

 

First of all, thank you so very much for your suggestions, comments and help. I really appreciate it.

 

I did do a search, however...St John is wrapped up with St Thomas and when you search...you pretty much get nowhere because sifting through all the post for St Thomas is crazy. Also, when I make a post like this, I like to have my own so that I can refer back to it during my planning instead of multiple other posts by multiple other people that makes it hard to locate later.

 

We are really not the type to do ship sponsored excursions unless it's the only way to get there and makes more sense. They just charge an arm and a leg for anything you do with them and we are very seasoned cruisers and vacationers and if it can be done on our own, that's usually what we prefer.

 

We always get off the ship the minute they make the announcement. We like to make the most of our day in every port.

 

We are not going to St Thomas, so no need for a ferry. We will be in St John.

 

I will check out Cinnamon and Trunk Bay and appreciate your direction for me to get started.

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1 minute ago, caribbean2000 said:

Which ship are you on? Very few stop off St. John and none dock there.

 

 

Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas. My itinerary says it stops at St Johns? Is there a different St Johns?

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That ship goes to St John's Antigua. I'll be on it later this year. Antigua has its own forum.

 

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2 minutes ago, Ms411 said:

That ship goes to St John's Antigua. I'll be on it later this year. Antigua has its own forum.

 

 

 

Well crap...don't I feel stupid. LOL   I just seen St Johns when booking and was excited about going some place new and only knew of St Johns that everyone talks about on the St Thomas forum. hehe

 

 

I guess I'll have to find something totally different to do...as it's still a new stop for us.

 

Thanks for clearing this up.

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St. John, USVI. St John's, Antigua. There are some great private excursions right at the dock in St. John's Antigua. We took one a few years ago, can't recall the name but it was a 40' power boat that took only about 18 passengers, went to Bird Island for lunch and snorkeling. I'll see if I can dig out the name, they were great. Valley Church Beach on Anitgua is a beautiful beach but not great snorkeling as it's a clear sand bottom. Most people take excursions to the "tug boat" where there is quite good snorkeling but no beaching. Many private tours available to go there.

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Antiguas claim to fame is that it has 365 beaches. Not known for its snorkeling from beach, though.

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3 hours ago, caribbean2000 said:

St. John, USVI. St John's, Antigua. There are some great private excursions right at the dock in St. John's Antigua. We took one a few years ago, can't recall the name but it was a 40' power boat that took only about 18 passengers, went to Bird Island for lunch and snorkeling. I'll see if I can dig out the name, they were great. Valley Church Beach on Anitgua is a beautiful beach but not great snorkeling as it's a clear sand bottom. Most people take excursions to the "tug boat" where there is quite good snorkeling but no beaching. Many private tours available to go there.

 

 

Oh awesome! Thank you. I'm going to start a thread over in Antigua. So, if you can post over there that would be helpful. I appreciate it.

 

 

51 minutes ago, Ms411 said:

Antiguas claim to fame is that it has 365 beaches. Not known for its snorkeling from beach, though.

 

Thank you.

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