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Boat Charter Trip from St. John

Old Feb 6th, 2008, 07:05 AM
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Boat Charter Trip from St. John

Hi all,

We'll be visiting St John at the end of the month for a babymoon trip. (I'll be 5 1/2 months pregnant). We really want to take a daytrip to visit other islands/snorkle spots. My husband loves powerboats, so going on a full-day charter trip is a must do for us.

Wondering if anyone has any experience with the boat charter companies departing from St John to the British Virgin Islands. (Or any other fabulous itinerary you may know of).

Chartering our own boat seems a bit out of our price range - (unless someone can tell me otherwise or will be in St John and wants to split a trip with us! ) so we are looking at the organized trips. So far we have a tenative reservation with New Horizons II, but are wondering if anyone has any detailed info about the trip - or with any other companies such as Linmos and Stormy Petrel's/Pirate Penny's, or any others.

Any and all info appreciated.
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 08:17 AM
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I did the New Horizons II trip from St. John about 3 weeks ago. It was great and I would highly recommend it. My friends and I (there were 9 of us) made up the majority of the boat but there were about 6 others as well - I think the boat holds 16. The only negative I would give is that if you are primarily interested in snorkeling, it might not be the trip for you - it is more sightseeing and the experience of visiting the other islands as we only snorkeled I think for about an hour.

As for the itinerary, after pick up in Cruz Bay, it takes about an hour/hour and a half or so (if I'm remembering correctly) to get to Virgin Gorda, and your first visit is the Baths. Unfortunately the day we went was a bit choppy, and the swell was such that we could not swim in as usually is done, so we were taken from the dock via taxi and walked in and out. After the Baths, we went to Marina Cay, which is this gorgeous tiny island owened by a British rum company, where we had lunch. After lunch, we did our snorkel stop, which was fun but again because of the slight chop the water was a little cloudy. After snorkeling came my favorite experience of the day: we anchored off Jost van Dyke and swam to shore to the Soggy Dollar Bar. The water was unbelievably beautiful and it was just paradise.

During the entire trip there are plentiful drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and a continental breakfast, fresh fruit and shrimp cocktail are offered at various times throughout the day. I thought it was definitely a worthwhile trip as it is really beautiful seeing the other islands and just being out on the boat.

I wasn't the one who researched selected the NHII so I can't speak to the comparison to other tours, but I think the friend that picked it said that it was the one that visited the most places in one day. Hope that helps!
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 08:43 AM
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Steviegene,

We've used Stormy Petrel's/Pirate Penny's for 5 trips to Virgin Gorda. We have been fortunate enough to rent it privately, around $1,200, for three of our trips. Otherwise it's around $125 each. What we really like is that all their captains and mates are very helpful & very friendly. You learn little tibits on the 1 1/2 - 2 hour trip to Virgin Gorda. Next they take you on "trip" through, over & under the Baths which is awesome. We went last August with them and are going again this August. If you go the private charter route you determine your stops.
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 10:50 AM
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Thanks for the replies!

hlg22- thanks for all the detail! A couple questions if you don't mind..... how was the lunch place? Did the boat feel crowded with 15 people onboard? Also, would there be snorkeling opportunities at Jost Van Dyke or the Baths? How were the captain/crew?

Pulley - when you went on the charter (not private charter) how much time does the boat alot for snorkeling?
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 11:06 AM
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They did at least two stops with an hour or so for each one.
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 11:17 AM
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Steviegene--can I highjack your thread with a question? Also for hlg22, were there any kids on your trip? I'd like my daughter who is 8 to have a good time, but we are just as sensitive to not intruding on what is really an adults-only thing (if that makes sense!).

Thanks (and thanks to steviegene!)

Mary in D.C.
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 11:32 AM
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steviegene,
The ambiance of the restaurant was great. I've found a picture of the island (the restaurant is the largest red-roofed building in the foreground): http://www.pussers.com/outposts/marina_cay. It is basically a covered deck with great views. The food is ok. A friend and I had the chicken sandwich which we thought was quite good, though my fries were somewhat cold. Another friend had the vegetarian option and said it was very good. Others in the group (I think mostly those that got the fish) said theirs weren't very good.

There are two crew members on board: the captain and a second crew member who served drinks and food, served as tour guide at the Baths, generally assists the captain, etc. We liked them both very much and the service was great. The captain also had a lot of really interesting stories and fun facts about the various islands we were passing.

The only time I thought the boat felt a little crowded was right when we got on - it started POURING down rain right at the boat was pulling up to the dock on St. John, and since the other passengers had gotten on in St. Thomas all of the seats under the awning were already taken, and my friends and I were sort of scrunching as close to it as we could get to try to get out of the rain. Luckily it didn't rain for long and we spread out on the boat after that.

You could have snorkeled off the boat while anchored at Jost Van Dyke, and I think some did - I'm not sure what there was to see since I spent that stop in a hammock with a Corona. I'm not sure whether there would be time at the stop at the Baths.

Mary,
There were not any kids on our boat but I think the trip would definitely be appropriate for and enjoyed by an 8 year old. Though they do serve painkillers, mimosas etc. on the boat if you want, it definitely wasn't a "booze cruise" type thing. During the Jost van Dyke stop, you could snorkel or walk the beach instead of visiting one of the beach bars.
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 05:17 PM
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hlg22--thank you so much for the info; I think that during the Jost van Dyke stop a visit to the beach bar can be enjoyed by all in my little group

thanks again,

Mary
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Old Feb 7th, 2008, 06:10 AM
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thanks for the responses everyone!

Has anyone done trips with more than one charter company and can compare?

Also has anyone ever rented a boat with Nauti Nymphs - it seems we could get a boat with captain for around $500 - and we are considering it.
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Old Feb 7th, 2008, 09:14 AM
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We rented a power boat and the gas bill and the end was shockingly high. See if you have to pay for the refill & if so how many gallons would you use up? It could cost quite a lot more.
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