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Gatordad815

St. John on your own Excursion

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Hi all! For our upcoming spring break cruise on Carnival Breeze, our St. Thomas stop has added a St. John “on your own excursion” to the cruise planner with no description and no reviews. The cost is $39.99 for adults and $34.99 for children making the total for our family of four $151.96. I’ve previously looked up the cost/process for going to St. John outside of a ship excursion and this price seems reasonable, particularly if it guarantees we will be back to the ship on time.

 

Does anyone know what the ship excursion entails? Anybody done this and could comment on it one way or another? Any way to get at least a description of the excursion from Carnival?

 

Alternatively, if anyone has suggestions for a late arrival in St. Thomas (11:30) for a family of four (kids aged 4 and 6), I’d appreciate it! Thanks for any input!

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Posted (edited)

my son lived in St.Thomas and I kept my sailboat in St. Thomas for years. The ferry from Red Hook leaves every hour and is $12, here is the schedule: https://www.usvi.net/information/transportation/ferry-schedules/st-thomas-to-st-john-ferry-schedule/

The cab from Havensite will be about the same, so $39.99 is a pretty good deal. No problem getting back to the ship on time if you know the time and stay conscious. There will be taxis waiting at the St.John terminal who will take you to any beach. Do not go to Trunk Bay on your own, guaranteed it will be packed with cruise ship passengers. 

Edited by coevan

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Posted (edited)

Traffic can be awful in St Thomas if several ships in port. If you have late arrival what time does ship leave? If you go on your own to St John will need to get cab to ferry but ship tours sometimes pick you up at the port by boat. You also don't have to be concerned with getting back on time. If you have short port time might be better to stay on St Thomas for beach?

 

I've done ship tour to St John and it was nice not hassling with cabs. With relatively young children I would possibly find a closer beach on St Thomas but that's just me. 

Edited by Host Carolyn

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We have done this "on your own" tour to St. John.  I also did the math and calculated and it is a good value.  With all the mechanics of ferry and taxi it was easier doing ships tour with no worries.  As others have stated traffic is unpredictable, so peace of mind is worth it for us.  A lot of your time is spent in getting back and forth from the destination, however it is a beautiful beach and we had a great time.  There aren't any food options (or at least they're weren't when we went 2 years ago, due to aftermath of hurricane damage), so take some snacks if possible.  We basically just stayed in the water and swam and snorkeled the whole time.  It was an easy way to explore a different island while porting in St. Thomas (which we have been to many times).  The actual ferry ride picked us up right at the end of the pier where we docked (super easy) and then we got on open air jeep-type ride that took us to Trunk Bay and back to boat.  If this option is available I would highly recommend it!  

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If the excursion is as mentioned above I would book it in a New York minute! While St. Thomas has nice beaches, they are not comparable to St. John and especially Trunk Bay, one of the most spectacular beaches in the world, even if it is crowded.
 

The ease of a ferry pick up at the pier makes it totally doable. The hubby and I went to Trunk Bay on our own, doing the taxi, ferry, taxi route many years ago. I was so excited we were the first two people off the ship at 7 AM, we made the 8 AM ferry. When we got to Trunk Bay we were the first people there and had the beach to ourselves for the first hour, it was amazing! It did get crowded but it was still gorgeous.

 

This adventure actually ended our cruising for the next decade as we found Our Island and started renting villas on St. John instead of cruising. The beach is perfect for small children, you will love it! 

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St John is a pain to get to, but I am sooo glad we went. Trunk Bay was absolutely gorgeous. The town was nice too.

 

Sounds like St John on your own would be a taxi and ferry there. It takes some time, but it is an island not to miss!

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14 hours ago, Host Carolyn said:

Traffic can be awful in St Thomas if several ships in port. If you have late arrival what time does ship leave? If you go on your own to St John will need to get cab to ferry but ship tours sometimes pick you up at the port by boat. You also don't have to be concerned with getting back on time. If you have short port time might be better to stay on St Thomas for beach?

 

I've done ship tour to St John and it was nice not hassling with cabs. With relatively young children I would possibly find a closer beach on St Thomas but that's just me. 

 

 

Coki Beach in St Thomas is one of our favorites, same beach as Coral World. they have great food and snorkeling

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Thanks all for the replies! I went ahead and emailed Carnival and got the following description of the excursion:

 

image.thumb.png.90818537651a55c23d2253f374bfefbf.png

 

While it still seems like a good price considering the pick up and drop off right at the dock, it just doesn’t seem like a long enough time on St. John to actually enjoy without looking at the time constantly. Am I right about that? The fact that they’re measuring time on St. John by the 1/4 hour seems to underscore the limited time....

 

We still want to do a beach day and are considering the St. Thomas beaches as well. Do you all think the St. John beaches (with the convenience of leaving from the dock) are worth it for a short visit, or would we be better off getting a taxi to a St. Thomas beach (still a short visit-realistically 3 hours max at the beach). 

 

All input appreciated-thank you!

Edited by Gatordad815

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No way 2 hours on St. John is enough. I would save it for another cruise when you have a longer day.

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We have gone over to St John on our own a few times. Super easy. Even thought eh ship excursion may be similar in price, you’ll get WAY more time of you just do it on your own. And Trunk Bay isn’t to be missed...you’ll want several hours there! 

 

1. Get off ship as soon as possible.  Catch taxi to Red Hook Ferry Terminal: about $10pp. 

 

2. Purchase round trip ferry ticket to Cruz Bay.  $12.00pp

 

3. There will be taxis at Cruz Bay.  They will go to Trunk Bay ($6pp) or Cinnamon Bay (a little more, maybe $8pp). 

 

4. When done at Trunk Bay, take a taxi back to Cruz Bay terminal. There will be plenty of taxis waiting to take folks back. I’d leave an hour and a half before you have to be back on the ship.

 

5. Take the ferry back to Red Hook. It takes a half hour to get back to St Thomas from there. 

 

 

5.  Taxi back to port about $10pp.  And depending on the number of ships it can get crowded and slow. 

 

If you get back quickly it gives you some time to look around the shops in the port area.

 

Here is the ferry schedule:

 

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

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15 hours ago, Gatordad815 said:

Thanks all for the replies! I went ahead and emailed Carnival and got the following description of the excursion:

 

image.thumb.png.90818537651a55c23d2253f374bfefbf.png

 

While it still seems like a good price considering the pick up and drop off right at the dock, it just doesn’t seem like a long enough time on St. John to actually enjoy without looking at the time constantly. Am I right about that? The fact that they’re measuring time on St. John by the 1/4 hour seems to underscore the limited time....

 

We still want to do a beach day and are considering the St. Thomas beaches as well. Do you all think the St. John beaches (with the convenience of leaving from the dock) are worth it for a short visit, or would we be better off getting a taxi to a St. Thomas beach (still a short visit-realistically 3 hours max at the beach). 

 

All input appreciated-thank you!

 

The allure of these ship-sponsored excursions to many is the "guarantee" you get back in time. Part of the reason they guarantee this is because they will head back to the ship very early (not to mention usually start the excursion later).

 

St John is a little investment of time and money to get to. I would do it it on your own so you have more time to enjoy it. In 8 hours at port, it is a waste of your time to only spend 2 1/2 there.

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We were on another cruise line that offered a similar excursion.  We arrived early into St Thomas and had plenty of time to go on our own and that's what we decided.  I had 10 other people on our roll call join us since we had done it before and they hadn't.  We were all sitting on the beach on St John before the people on the excursion were getting on their ferry to go over.  We were there long before the crowds arrived. 

 

I think your decision depends on when your ship arrives, when the excursion starts, how long you have on the excursion on St John, and how long you have in St. Thomas. Many variables to consider.  If I had a short time on St Thomas I would probably go to a beach there.

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