St. JOhn or St. Thomas

Oct 13th, 2000, 03:22 PM
  #1  
Kris
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St. JOhn or St. Thomas

Is it worth to travel to St. John? How are St. John's beaches comparable to St. Thomas? It seems like a hassle to take a plane and a ferry with luggage to get to your destination. Someone mentioned sitting in the bow of the ferry. What exactly is "the bow"? Forgive the ignorance.
 
Oct 13th, 2000, 05:19 PM
  #2  
CJ
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Definitely worth it to go to St. John -- a world of difference. St. Thomas is too busy, too urban for our tastes. It's relatively easy to hop the ferry to St. John. Fewer crowds, beautiful scenery, less bustle. Do it! Bow is the front of the ferry. Usually you can't sit there because that's where they navigate from. My advice -- sit in the middle. We went over to St. John with an upchucker on board -- she was heaving all over the place. We advised her to get to the middle and she had a dramatic improvement -- less rocking! Ferry ride from Charlotte Amalie is longer -- about 30-40 minutes. Ferry from Red Hook requires a longer taxi ride, but the ferry ride is much shorter.
St. John beaches are wonderful -- check out Salt Pond Bay and Jumbie, two of our favorites. Hope this helps! Have a wonderful time. It's not that much of a hassle. You don't need much luggage on the islands -- we went with rolling backpacks and two other bags! You'll love it. Need more info -- write me!
 
Oct 14th, 2000, 08:28 AM
  #3  
Janet
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Hi Kris,

I agree, St. John is definitely much nicer than St. Thomas. I've been to both and am getting ready for my 2nd trip to St. John next month.

St. John has fabulous beaches; a good selection of restaurants (many right in Cruz bay); it is very low key; not much nightlife (if any). Also, we always felt very comfortable and safe walking around Cruz Bay in the evenings; did not feel that same level of comfort in St. Thomas.

If you stay at one of the resorts on the Island (Caneel Bay or Westin), they will arrange transportation to/from the airport; and like CJ says, you won't need much luggage, both islands are quite casual (unless of course you will need extra space for a St. Thomas shopping spree).

Our first trip, we split the week between St. Thomaas (3 days) and St. John (4 days); this time we're spending the entire week on St. John and will probably spend a day on St. Thomas to shop.

Either way, you'll have a wonderful time.

Janet
 
Oct 15th, 2000, 06:43 AM
  #4  
Kris
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Thanks for your help, I do get seasick so I dont know if I would be a good candidate for the ferry either. I was hoping it was a short boatride with minimal rocking. Thanks for the warning. Can you recommend any other islands that are comparable to St. John?
 
Oct 15th, 2000, 04:02 PM
  #5  
Gerie
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On the other hand, I've really enjoyed my stays on St. Thomas over the last 4 years. I just never consider my vacation one to either island, but rather to both. It's such an easy trip over to St. John, that a couple of day trips can be spent there. I really enjoy the variety of top notch restaurants on St. Thomas and the convenience of having more things available locally. I also like to spend at least one day downtown, (I'm not much of a shopper, so one day of browsing is enough). I love both islands, but the resorts on St. John also don't suit me. Westin is too big (and most rooms too far from a not so great beach) and Caneel is just too expensive. Most villas are lovely, but again, not right on the beach. There are more resorts right on the beach on St. Thomas which is important to me. Again, I would stay on either island in a blink, but include them both in my vacation.
Gerie
 
Oct 16th, 2000, 08:30 AM
  #6  
Julie Harrell
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I just returned from St. John last Sunday and will say that I was not impressed with St. Thomas at all. We waited in broad daylight for our ferry at the Charlotte Amalie dock and did not feel safe for a minute. I'm sure that when the cruise ships are in town there is more of a bustle and you may feel safer on those days. The Marriott on Fisherman's Reef is very nice. I also get seasick so I took Dramamine one hour ahead and had no problems at all. Back to St. John, I cannot say enough about the fabulous beaches--again, that is all there is on St. John-if you have teens they will be bored silly! I did stay at Caneel which was expensive (a wedding present!) but it was well worth it. My favorite beaches were Jumbie and Cinnamon Bay-minus the campground..Most beaches are very narrow but completely uncrowded-depends on what you like..I am getting ready to put my pictures up-if you are interested email me and I'll send them on...Julie
 
Oct 16th, 2000, 04:49 PM
  #7  
Kris
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Thanks for all your help. The beach at the westin is not so nice??? That is where I planned to stay. I am reading that people are not impressed with the westin or beach. Is this true?
 
Oct 17th, 2000, 05:29 AM
  #8  
Kim
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St. John is known for its beautiful, unspoiled beaches ... and there are several of them where the swimming and snorkeling is great right off the beach (as well as the beach being beautiful). However, the "beach" at the Westin on St. John's is a small, man-made beach that does not compare to the rest of St. John's beaches. The emphasis at the Westin is more the pool. If you can swing it, change your reservation to Caneel Bay. There are several nice beaches at the resort. Also, rent a jeep so you can visit the other beaches on the island. Also, I did not find the transfer from St. Thomas to St. John a hassle at all, however we stayed at Caneel Bay which provided its own ferry. I would never pick St. Thomas over St. John. Go to St. John; stay at Caneel Bay if you can; you will never regret it!
 
Oct 17th, 2000, 11:18 AM
  #9  
Karen
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Kris -

St. John is the best of the U.S. Virgin Islands - hands down. Without even considering the crime on St. Thomas and St. Croix, St. John has the most beautifully, pristine beaches one could hope to find - not just in the Carribean, but anywhere. The snorkeling is unsurpassed, and the panoramic views of the island are quite remarkable. We've been to St. Thomas but would never consider sepnding a week there again after experiencing St. John. We have been there a half dozen times, and the ferry has not been a problem. In fact, we have never seen anyone become ill all the times we have ridden it. It is a short trip - 20 minutes, and we are always glad to depart St. Thomas. As someone else said, St. Thomas is much too urban for our tastes. We go on vacation to get away from our workday hassles and to relax. A St. Thomas vacation just doesn't provide the peace of mind we are looking for. Good luck with your decision. There are many villas as well as some condos that are available for rental, so you don't have to stay at the Westin or Caneel even if there are only two of you. Villas are priced according to the number of people not a set price.
 
Oct 17th, 2000, 02:04 PM
  #10  
Kristin
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HOw expensive is the Caneel Bay? Is the hotel right on the beach or set up on a hilltop? The hotel provides ferry service, like a smaller boat?
 
Oct 17th, 2000, 05:58 PM
  #11  
Karen
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Try http://www.caneelbay.com/ for an overview of the resort. There are seven beaches on the property and several beaches have rooms directly on them! Other rooms have great ocean vistas or there is the tennis court or garden rooms which would mean a walk or shuttle to the beach! If you stay at either the Westin or Caneel, there is a direct ferry to either resort provided by them and they do all the luggage, etc. for you at the airport. Otherwise, you will taxi to either the Waterfront for the 45 minute ride to Cruz Bay or taxi to Red Hook (about 20 minutes) and ferry to Cruz Bay (15 minutes) and then taxi to your destination. The ferrys do have an open upstairs and closed downstairs but, as someone said, the bow is off limits on these ferries. St. John is the most expensive of the three VI's and some find the prices more reasonable at some of the smaller lovely beachfront accomodations on East End of STT, away from the hussle, bussle and "urban" areas of STT and do day trips to STJ and the BVI. Since the beaches on STJ are mainly Nat'l Park ones, they are more pristine but do provide fewer opportunities to stay beachfront. The Westin's beach pales in comparison to the other beaches on STJ but often they do have very reasonable packages which makes it seem like a good "deal" but the feature of the resort is the huge pool not the manmade beach and you will want to rent a vehicle or taxi to the other beaches which adds to your cost. Rooms are hillside in tiers at the Westin and it can be a long walk to the beach. Also the Westin does not provide screening so that you are in a sealed in room with a/c. Caneel can take a big bite out of your wallet but if you are willing to self-cater and not have resort amenities, many enjoy the condo or villa experience and there are condos which do provide maid service and some amenitites. I have never felt "unsafe" on STT and travel there frequently for many years and have not experienced the "horror" stories that I hear others talking about nor do I let my judgment and common sense fly out the window when I am on STJ. Is STJ worth it? definately! Is Caneel worh it? definately! We do catch a late flight out of home and overnite it in San Juan flying to STT on the earliest flight, transfer to STJ and then check in in the morning rather than hassling and arriving late on the first day of vacation!
 
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