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mjetc

St. John on Your own Tour for St. Thomas port

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We are taking our first cruise in December with Princess and it's our first time in the Caribbean.  St. Thomas is one of our ports but I would love to have some beach time at Trunk Bay.  

 

One of the excursions through Princess is a St. John On Your Own tour.  We will be in St. Thomas from 10 am to 10 pm.  We would depart at 11 am and return at 3 pm, 45 minute trip each way.  After the taxi rides, that doesn't leave much time at all.  We'd be there an hour and 15 minutes or so.  

 

I'm on the fence so I'm seeking experienced cruiser's input.  Should we just go for it and enjoy the time we will have on St. John, as little as it may be, or use our time more wisely and find something on St. Thomas?

 

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We have done this more than once.  You truly don't have too much time at St. John which is why we've done this more than once.

 

Have seen posted here on CC than some will  get to the Red Hook Ferry terminal in St. Thomas and then ferry over to St. John on their own. We were never brave enough to do this because our time at St. Thomas was limited.  With the time you are leaving St. Thomas, it might give you a better opportunity to spend more time on St. John. 

 

It's really a matter of what you're comfortable with. Your time frame for being in St. Thomas would probably work.  You will have to do a bit more independent leg work than using the ship's transportation to St. John.

 

 

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We've done that - see pix in my signature.  We took the dollar bus to Red Hook and caught the ferry to St John, taxi to Trunk Bay.  You could spend a couple of hours and still have time to spare.  We spent about an hour & a half, took a taxi back to Cruz Bay and had lunch before catching the ferry back to Red Hook/St Thomas & dollar bus back to the cruise port.

 

We were in port from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm.  We were the first off the ship and I think we were on the beach before 8:30 am.  I think we were back aboard ship by 1:00ish - would have stayed out longer, but had to meet up with family & you don't want to cut it close.

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10 hours ago, SpaceCowboy9 said:

We took the dollar bus to Red Hook

 

Where do you catch the dollar bus to Red Hook?

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Following, want to do the same on June 18( on Carribean Princess)

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On 5/3/2019 at 5:40 AM, richmke said:

 

Where do you catch the dollar bus to Red Hook?

It's an easy 10 minute walk from Havensight.

 

The dollar bus stop is on the opposite side of the street from the Pueblo Super Market:

https://goo.gl/maps/PbL71ziHyM4EFutN6

There was a clothing store there called Rainbow, but it closed (not sure if the signage is still the same).

I don't believe there is anything on that side that says "Bus Stop" -- it just stops there.

 

In fact, this street view is better, and it shows a bus at the pick-up place (on the left).

https://goo.gl/maps/Eviz8V2cbnnXDnbr6

 

(There's an actual bus stop on the Pueblo side, but if you pick it up there, it will take you into Charlotte Amalie)

 

Should cost you $2 per person to get over to Red Hook.  ($1 to Tutu and $1 the rest of the way to Red Hook)

To get off, nothing really says "Red Hook," watch for the signs for the ferry terminal.  You could always look on google street view.

 

The route is a big loop, so when in Red Hook, remember where you got off.  Pick up the dollar bus at the same place (going in the same direction as before) -- it loops back around to the Rainbow/Pueblo ($2 per person to return) (you can always ask the driver if they are going to Red Hook/Havensight)

 

Have exact change ready.  OK to tip, but sometimes they don't take it.

It helps to say Good Morning/Afternoon to the locals.

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Thanks for the feedback!  I did look into doing the taxi/ferry on our own a bit but have reservations since this trip is a lot of firsts for us.  But I will look into it more to see if it's something we can get comfortable with.  I would prefer to stay more than an hour on the beach 🙂

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On 5/14/2019 at 10:16 AM, mjetc said:

Thanks for the feedback!  I did look into doing the taxi/ferry on our own a bit but have reservations since this trip is a lot of firsts for us.  But I will look into it more to see if it's something we can get comfortable with.  I would prefer to stay more than an hour on the beach 🙂

 

It's really quite easy. For last year when we were in port from 8am to 5pm:

-Got off immediately at 8am, grabbed and taxi and got on the 9am ferry; told taxi driver to meet us back for the 2pm ferry

-On a beach in St John by 945am, stayed until about 1pm

-Lunch/Drinks in Cruz Bay from 115pm to 2pm

-2pm ferry back, taxi driver waiting, back at the ship by 3pm...which still gave us time should we miss the 2pm ferry to get the 3pm ferry, or run in to other issues and make the 430pm all aboard

 

Had we brought our own lunch, we really could have spent 945am to 130/145pm on the beach...no stress at all.

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Time on the beach is worth more than saving a couple bucks. Take a taxi to Red Hook, and then one of the hourly ferries over to Cruz Bay St John. Plenty of cabs where the ferry let's you off. 

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On ‎5‎/‎1‎/‎2019 at 4:37 PM, denamo said:

We have done this more than once.  You truly don't have too much time at St. John which is why we've done this more than once.

 

Have seen posted here on CC than some will  get to the Red Hook Ferry terminal in St. Thomas and then ferry over to St. John on their own. We were never brave enough to do this because our time at St. Thomas was limited.  With the time you are leaving St. Thomas, it might give you a better opportunity to spend more time on St. John. 

 

It's really a matter of what you're comfortable with. Your time frame for being in St. Thomas would probably work.  You will have to do a bit more independent leg work than using the ship's transportation to St. John.

 

 

We are going to be in St Thomas next Wednesday.  Our port time is 7:00 - 3:00.  Do you think this is enough time to take a trip to St. John on our own without booking a certified excursion?  I am very worried about missing the ship. 

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2 hours ago, krisintn said:

We are going to be in St Thomas next Wednesday.  Our port time is 7:00 - 3:00.  Do you think this is enough time to take a trip to St. John on our own without booking a certified excursion?  I am very worried about missing the ship. 

That would be cutting it really close.  Not sure of the Redhook ferry times to get you over and back. You would have to allow time to get to the Redhook ferry station and then time back to the ship.

 

I'd be more comfortable using a ship's excursion to get to St John due to your time constriction.  Once there, you can do what you want.  Just make sure you are at the ship excursion's boat at the appointed time to leave St. John.  Not sure what cruise line you're on, but I do know Royal Caribbean offers an excursion that is only the ride over and no specific excursion once there.  

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On 6/5/2019 at 2:12 PM, krisintn said:

We are going to be in St Thomas next Wednesday.  Our port time is 7:00 - 3:00.  Do you think this is enough time to take a trip to St. John on our own without booking a certified excursion?  I am very worried about missing the ship. 

Just curious to hear if you ended up going to St. John and if so, on your own or via the ship's excursion. 

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We have done the St. John on your own tour twice before on RCCL, not Princess.  It runs about $40pp which is comparable to a round trip of taxi to Red Hook and ferry roundtrip to Cruz Bay.  RCCL lists the excursion as 4 hours but the time between  leaving the port and returning was more like 5-6 hours. I went back and checked timestamps on video I took on both trips and the time on St. John was between 3.5 and 4.5 hours which left us easily 2-3 hours at Trunk Bay.

 

But that was on trips where the ship was only in port for 8 hours.  We plan on doing the same excursion next week because we are there for only 8 hours.  If we had 12 hours like you do, I would probably do as suggested here and go through red hook first thing.  Then you will get to choose your departure from Trunk Bay and St. John depending on when you're ready to leave rather than the stated time of the excursion.  Have fun!

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On 6/26/2019 at 5:12 PM, the fish said:

We have done the St. John on your own tour twice before on RCCL, not Princess.  It runs about $40pp which is comparable to a round trip of taxi to Red Hook and ferry roundtrip to Cruz Bay.  RCCL lists the excursion as 4 hours but the time between  leaving the port and returning was more like 5-6 hours. I went back and checked timestamps on video I took on both trips and the time on St. John was between 3.5 and 4.5 hours which left us easily 2-3 hours at Trunk Bay.

 

But that was on trips where the ship was only in port for 8 hours.  We plan on doing the same excursion next week because we are there for only 8 hours.  If we had 12 hours like you do, I would probably do as suggested here and go through red hook first thing.  Then you will get to choose your departure from Trunk Bay and St. John depending on when you're ready to leave rather than the stated time of the excursion.  Have fun!

We will be in St Thomas on RCCL in two weeks - I have always wanted to go to St John and spend some time at Trunk Bay but I am a little nervous about doing a ferry on our own. Can you explain how the RCCL excursion works - is it a set time for pick-up? Do they give you enough time to go to Trunk Bay and enjoy the beach? I don't want to shop if that's all the time they allow, we really want the beach and beverages 🙂

Thanks

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22 hours ago, dst said:

We will be in St Thomas on RCCL in two weeks - I have always wanted to go to St John and spend some time at Trunk Bay but I am a little nervous about doing a ferry on our own. Can you explain how the RCCL excursion works - is it a set time for pick-up? Do they give you enough time to go to Trunk Bay and enjoy the beach? I don't want to shop if that's all the time they allow, we really want the beach and beverages 🙂

Thanks

The 4 hour “STY4” RCCL St John on Your Own excursion gives you just ~2 hours on STJ. 45 min ferry from near your ship to Cruz Bay and back, you choose what to do while there. Cost is $39.

 

From my response in the other thread...

Once in Cruz Bay you are free to taxi to a beach like Trunk Bay (busier on a big ship day) or Cinnamon which is also quite beautiful and less crowded, but if you want more amenities then Trunk it is. You pay the taxi each way (~$7pp each way). The safari taxis waiting for you in Cruz Bay also offer island tours and then drop you at a beach for ~&25pp. Would recommend that for a first visit as the views along the North Shore are spectacular along with some history of the island. 

 

Would strongly suggest going on your own via the Red Hook ferry as the taxis and ferries are very reliable - they transport thousands of day visitors and residents every day. The cost is ~$44pp roundtrip. You will enjoy more time on the beach if Cruz Bay or the tour doesn’t interest you. But Cruz Bay is a nice alternative to Charlotte Amalie, especially on a first visit to STJ. You just have so much more flexibility on your own...the Crown ferry times are very limited, the Red Hook and Cruz Bay ferries leave every hour on the hour...

 

Try it and report back!

 

The RCCL excursion...

http://www.royalcaribbean.com/shoreExcursions/product/detail/view.do?sourcePage=shorexByPort&ProductCode=STY4&DestinationCode=

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12 minutes ago, blue_water said:

The 4 hour “STY4” RCCL St John on Your Own excursion gives you just ~2 hours on STJ. 45 min ferry from near your ship to Cruz Bay and back, you choose what to do while there. Cost is $39.

 

From my response in the other thread...

Once in Cruz Bay you are free to taxi to a beach like Trunk Bay (busier on a big ship day) or Cinnamon which is also quite beautiful and less crowded, but if you want more amenities then Trunk it is. You pay the taxi each way (~$7pp each way). The safari taxis waiting for you in Cruz Bay also offer island tours and then drop you at a beach for ~&25pp. Would recommend that for a first visit as the views along the North Shore are spectacular along with some history of the island. 

 

Would strongly suggest going on your own via the Red Hook ferry as the taxis and ferries are very reliable - they transport thousands of day visitors and residents every day. The cost is ~$44pp roundtrip. You will enjoy more time on the beach if Cruz Bay or the tour doesn’t interest you. But Cruz Bay is a nice alternative to Charlotte Amalie, especially on a first visit to STJ. You just have so much more flexibility on your own...the Crown ferry times are very limited, the Red Hook and Cruz Bay ferries leave every hour on the hour...

 

Try it and report back!

 

The RCCL excursion...

http://www.royalcaribbean.com/shoreExcursions/product/detail/view.do?sourcePage=shorexByPort&ProductCode=STY4&DestinationCode=

Thanks so much for your feedback (on both threads) - I am excited to visit STJ 🙂

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11 hours ago, dst said:

Thanks so much for your feedback (on both threads) - I am excited to visit STJ 🙂

Sorry for the repeated post, but wanted to add some pertinent info to better compare the two options. I know the cruise line excursion is a more comfortable option, but there is really nothing to be concerned with the DIY option, and that just makes for a nicer day, IMHO...

 

Another idea for you - or anyone visiting STJ - especially for the first time, is getting a Hook bracelet from St John Bracelets right in Cruz Bay. The quality of material and workmanship is so much better than we’ve seen anywhere on STT. The only comparable quality we’ve seen is from St Croix. You can just pick one out from their showroom, or work with them in advance of your visit to have one made specially for you. We were on STJ for a day while staying on Sapphire Beach and stopped there first, and they didn’t have quite what my wife was looking for so he made one while we had lunch. On a cruise stop they could be busy that day so that service may not be an option. But their selection is great, and a Hook bracelet is a great memento from your first visit! You can see much of their selection on their site -

https://stjohnbracelet.com/

 

Enjoy your first visit to STJ! 

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On 7/2/2019 at 8:20 AM, blue_water said:

Sorry for the repeated post, but wanted to add some pertinent info to better compare the two options. I know the cruise line excursion is a more comfortable option, but there is really nothing to be concerned with the DIY option, and that just makes for a nicer day, IMHO...

 

Another idea for you - or anyone visiting STJ - especially for the first time, is getting a Hook bracelet from St John Bracelets right in Cruz Bay. The quality of material and workmanship is so much better than we’ve seen anywhere on STT. The only comparable quality we’ve seen is from St Croix. You can just pick one out from their showroom, or work with them in advance of your visit to have one made specially for you. We were on STJ for a day while staying on Sapphire Beach and stopped there first, and they didn’t have quite what my wife was looking for so he made one while we had lunch. On a cruise stop they could be busy that day so that service may not be an option. But their selection is great, and a Hook bracelet is a great memento from your first visit! You can see much of their selection on their site -

https://stjohnbracelet.com/

 

Enjoy your first visit to STJ! 

Thanks again for the helpful tips 🙂

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