Charlotte Amalie ferry problems?

Feb 20th, 2008, 01:33 PM
  #1  
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Charlotte Amalie ferry problems?

Hi.
We are going to St. John in April. (7 weeks!) I just received word from our villa rental agent that they "strongly recommend" that we don't take the downtown (Charlotte Amalie) ferry over to St. John as there have been many schedule changes.
Is this the case? She said that they have very few ferries that run from that location and they are constantly changing their departure time.
We were hoping to take this ferry because we'd much rather be on a long boat ride than a long, crowded taxi ride.
Has anyone had any problem with the Charlotte Amalie ferry? Is the taxi ride to Redhook very long? I am just wondering because I'd never heard any complaints here before. Everyone seems to mention either ferry as being a good option.
We'll probably heed her advice but just wondering if anyone here has any opinion?
jcjc is offline  
Feb 20th, 2008, 06:00 PM
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When we were waiting for the 3 Redhook ferry on Saturday (2/16 ) from Cruz Bay the 2:15 CA ferry didn't depart until 2:40. That probably means that it was late returning.

Red Hook taxi ride is about a half hour.
RobertoB is offline  
Feb 21st, 2008, 03:42 AM
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That ferry has occasionally had issues since I have been going to STJ. A lot of it depends on how many vessels they have running at any given time. Red Hook always runs every hour, so no problems there. I generally play it by ear as to which ferry I am going to take. The best thing to is go to the taxi dispatch area and ask which is best. What time does your flight arrive? Do you have the ferry schedules? I don't think the ride to Red Hook is that bad. It is scenic and gives you the chance to see a little bit of STT. I have information on a private taxi driver that only charges $15pp including bags from the airport to RH (plus a tip). She is a friend of someone who used to live on STJ and doesn't really do it full time. She has a large van with frezing cold AC. Almost too cold, LOL. We used her service to and from last trip and plan on doing so again in May. I can't remember exactly how much the public taxi's cost, but I assure you, her price is very comparable. If you plan on taking the CA ferry, then any taxi will do from the airport as it is only about 10 minutes away. Red Hook also has a nice, new ferry terminal. The area to wait for the Ca ferry is unprotected on the street. We have only used that ferry once, but it was very hot waiting in the sun with our bags. Rain is another issue. Although I thought I would greatly prefer the longer ferry, shorter taxi route, I can honestly say that I don't have a preference. It still takes about the same amount of time either way. I go with whatever works best with the flight times.
brenandg is offline  
Feb 21st, 2008, 01:31 PM
  #4  
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Thanks for your replies.
Brenandg: I would definitely be interested in the name and info of the taxi person that you use. The villa rental agency gave us the website of a private taxi service but I checked it out and they want 50.00 per person! (to get to Redhook) 15-17.00 per person sounds like the going rate for the public taxi's according to the info that our rental agency sent us. We'd like a private taxi because then we won't have to stop and drop other people off along the route. I just want to get on that ferry and get to St. John!
Good point about being able to see St. Thomas. I've been there before, however, and I wasn't overly fond of it. (but it would be nice for my children to be able to see a bit of it)
Again, if you can supply any contact info for the private taxi person you use I would really appreciate it! Thanks again.
jcjc is offline  
Feb 21st, 2008, 02:00 PM
  #5  
 
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I know a lot of people have had negative remarks regarding the taxi service to Red Hook. IMO, it's not as horrid as it sounds. Some people bristle at the quasi-public nature. They are mini-vans which the drivers try to pack full before they take off. If you have 6 people for example, they may just leave with only your group. The issue is really whether it takes you the relatively quick 25 minutes or if traffic will have you crawling out there for 40 minutes. The Red Hook ferry is frequent (generally once every hour) and if you miss one, there'll be another relatively soon. The Red Hook ferry is itself faster, taking only about 20 minutes. The Charlotte Amalie ferry takes a good 45 minutes. The CA ferry is close to the airport (5-7 minutes) so there's almost never a traffic issue. If you'd rather take the CA ferry, you could always wait to see when you get there. The tourism desk there will be able to give you the latest on the CA and RH schedules, and depending on when you're ready to leave the airport. Also, the Westin (not sure about Caneel Bay) has their own large ferry which they may take non-Westin passengers for (I think @$35/person per way) and that includes transport from the airport to their ferry. The ferry goes to the private Westin dock, but it's fairly easy to go from there by taxi to wherever. Just a thought you might want to explore. The Westin has their own reception desk and service lounge at the airport.
Tuxedocat is offline  
Feb 21st, 2008, 05:57 PM
  #6  
 
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http://www.vinow.com/general_usvi/interisland_ferry/

Here is the link to the ferry schedules if you don't already have it. And, here is the contact information for Rachel.

Rachel Brown
cell- (340)771-2986
home- (340)776-4385

I apologize in advance, Fodor's, but your forum doesn't have private messaging. Tell her that friends from The Virgin Island's On-Line Forum recommended her. She is the sweetest thing who is from Anguilla. She has lived on STT for about 40 years but has never been to STJ because she is afraid of boats! Hope that works out for you. You didn't mention what time your flight arrives.
brenandg is offline  
Feb 21st, 2008, 06:09 PM
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http://www.dolphinshuttle.com/

One time we splurged a little and did this on the way in. It wasn't too bad because we shared it with two other couples. The crossing was really quick on the small shuttle boat. I would say about 15 minutes max.
brenandg is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2008, 07:34 AM
  #8  
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Thanks for the info brenandg.
Our flight arrives from NY at 11:55 a.m. That should give us plenty of time to choose which ferry to take once we get there. I like to have all of the planning done in advance, however. (my husband and kids are a bit more adventurous than I am!)
Thanks Tuxedocat, as well. We may wait until we get there and get the scoop on the ferries from the tourism desk. (I assume you mean the tourism desk at the airport?)
It's so nice to have a place to get information. I appreciate your taking the time to answer my question.
jcjc is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2008, 08:34 AM
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jcjc: Ahh..you must be taking the AA direct flight. It's great when you have kids with you... no plane changes. Yes, I did mean there is a tourism desk/booth at the airport. Most everyone at the airport is pretty forthcoming with info. Also, don't miss out on those dixie cups of rum punch when you come into the terminal (that will put you into a calmer frame of mind ) but be careful the kids don't get into it. Also, the other difference between the two ferries is the one from CA is smaller. The last time we took the CA ferry, the water was very choppy that day so the usually longer, more leisurely trip took on a more white-knuckled aspect if you know what I mean. If this matters to you, you should inquire about water conditions too. I can appreciate your wanting to have everything mapped out before you go but somethings are best played by ear. I have never seen or heard of either ferry being too full to take all the passengers, so it's really not something you need to make reservations for, in case you were wondering. Have a great time.
Tuxedocat is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2008, 08:39 AM
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Oh, I forgot to mention. When you come out of the terminal, the taxis are all lined up along the curb. You could just speak out that you are going to Red Hook or to the Charlotte Amalie ferry. Of course, they'll all be willing to take you, but if you explain you don't want to get involved with a car that's going to be making stops along the way, you'll find that they will group you with people who are going to the same place, at least that's been my experience.
Tuxedocat is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2008, 10:01 AM
  #11  
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Thanks Tuxedocat! Your info has been priceless.
I have experienced a few white knuckle ferry rides before and I do NOT want to repeat that! (not going to St.John...I'm thinking of a few trips we took to Block Island, Rhode Island. Yikes! One in particular where we had to hold onto my youngest son so he wouldn't go flying overboard...my daughter was "feeling sick," people around us were getting sick, my two other sons thought it was hilarious until the boat almost tipped over sideways! Funny now...not so funny then!)
I feel calmer already after your advice. (and I'll definitely partake of the rum at the airport! What a nice thing to look forward to!)
I think we'll play it by ear until we get there. I'm leaning toward Redhook now... while before all of this kind fodorite advice I was feeling anxious about long, crowded taxi drives and other unknowns.
I appreciate your insight! Thanks!
jcjc is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2008, 04:17 PM
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If everything goes really smooth, you might make the 1pm from CA. If not, the 2pm RH ferry. That is basically why I play it by ear. It is NOT as complicated as it sounds. Also, we have never made more than one stop with the public taxi and it was at The Wyndham. There were people staying at The Ritz on our taxi one time and apparently it is further than RH because we were dropped off first. Which villa are you staying at?
brenandg is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2008, 05:06 PM
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Okay, New Englander. I'm quite familiar with the Block Island ferries, and these really don't compare (my DH's family is Mott of Block Island). If you want to avoid the possibility of a rough ride (and of course, its always relative), I'd stick to the Red Hook ferry. It's so much shorter. Being a mom of a 5 year old, I'd just go for the safer route.
Tuxedocat is offline  
Feb 25th, 2008, 12:40 PM
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Brenandg-we are staying at Surfside. It's a villa within walking distance to Reef Bay. Where do you stay when you visit?
Thanks again for all of your advice!

Tuxedocat-We're not New Englanders. New Yorkers, actually. We've been to Block Island 7 or 8 times and have only had one ferry ride that was VERY rough.
I was thinking that the ferry ride to St. John would be very calm but I guess that isn't always the case. I'm not worried about the ferry ride. As I said, we'd much rather be on a boat than in a taxi. (except of course if the seas are really rough!)
The name Mott does sound familiar, by the way! You must get to visit B.I. often. Lucky you!
jcjc is offline  
Feb 25th, 2008, 01:20 PM
  #15  
 
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If you decide to take a private ferry, ask the driver if it's possible to go to Red Hook via the north side. Most people's negative opinions of St. Thomas going to St. John are because the usual route through Bovoni & Nadir are showing you the poorest sections of the island. Not scenic at all. In fact, you'll be passing the entrance to the dump!

The trip through the north side lets you avoid the downtown & Havensight traffic which can be busy if there are a few cruise ships in & the views are spectacular.
Carrybean is offline  
Feb 25th, 2008, 05:54 PM
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http://www.youtube.com/results?searc...y&search_type=

Check out this page for some cool videos of the Reef Bay area. I don't know that area, but sounds like you will be a bit remote by STJ standards. I guess we are "city slickers" and have been staying at Gallow's Point. I starting to look at other options for less $$. Have fun on your trip!
brenandg is offline  
Feb 26th, 2008, 02:42 AM
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jcjc, Like brenandg we always wait until we actually arrive to decide between Red Hook & CA. We have a friend going with us this year who gets seasick so we'll take the Red Hook ferry.

We've stayed all over the island but this year we are going back to La Papaya a really nice villa that is convenient to town. Did you rent Surfside from caribbeanvilla.com? If so, or not, look at the first picture on their website. There is a house on the right side of the picture. To the right of the house there is a "walk way" to Reef Bay. There is a rope to help you because it's pretty steep in some parts but it's worth the effort. Once you get to the beach there is some great snorkeling 50 - 100 yards off shore. If it's rough this snorkel is not recommend for the entry over sea urchins & other things can be very, very difficult. One thing in particular that we like to do is take the trek along the beach to the bottom of the Reef Bay trail. It's fairly long walk with only one tough spot, around some rocks on one point, where you need to walk slowly and be careful. Once at the bottom of the trail it's short walk to either the Petroglyphs or the ruins of an old sugar mill. Take water and snacks with you and enjoy the beach. You'll most likely be the only ones on the beach. Also there are tons of baby blacktip sharks, 12" - 18", along the way. As you're walking the beach they may mirror you in the water. They may only be there in September though. We'll be there 08/21 - 08/30.

Get some ribs at Uncle Joe's!!!!
Pulley is offline  
Feb 26th, 2008, 04:40 AM
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http://www.on-stjohn.com/

This site has the exact hike pulley is talking about in three segements. It's called The Reef Bay Coastal hike. Check the archives for Jan 28th Part 1, Feb 4th Part 2 and Feb 18th for Part 3. I also found part 1 in the first link I provided. I follow the On-St John web site daily. It is an easy way to keep up to date about St John. A lot of restaurants/businesses change like the weather. At least that is what we have found to be the case the last ywo years.
brenandg is offline  

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