St John Trip Report June 2-7

Jun 8th, 2006, 07:29 AM
  #1  
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St John Trip Report June 2-7

hello everyone!

i first would like to start out by expressing my thanks to all of you for your help, suggestions, advice, and kindness. I believe that my vacation would not have been as good without you!

if you don't want details, scroll to the end of this message where i rated aspects of the trip.

here is the detailed version; sorry if it's too long:

we stayed at caneel bay resort in a premium beachfront room on scott beach (room 72).

sat. -
as we were leaving for the airport, we noticed the extreme heat advisory warning for the greater phoenix area..temperatures would be around 112. so, we were really looking forward to escape to paradise!

red eye delta flight from phoenix to atlanta was delayed two hours, but luckily, that didn't effect our connecting flight (atlanta to STT, which was delayed about 20 minutes or so), since we had lots of time between connections. we got into STT around 1:45, and was excited to be going to STJ.

caneel's ferry was there, and the crew was so nice. as we pulled into caneel, i had a huge smile on my face. the girl who greeted us said, "have you been here before?" i said, "no (but had a big smile)", and she said, "i can tell because you are all smiles." i really was.

we checked into our room (which was average i would say accommodation-wise). accomodations at caneel don't compare to bora bora's pearl beach resort or maui's four seasons (both of which i paid significantly less for!), but i was well aware of the quality of accomodations (thanks to posts on this board and on trip advisor), so i wasn't expecting a lot. the bed was SUPER comfortable. the bathroom was very dated...wish there were a bath tub. as people have stated before, you are paying for location, location, location, and it is worth it. we stayed on scott beach ($625/night plys over $100 in room taxes) and it was my favorite beach by far (i hope i'm not offending anyone!). all of the beaches were very pretty, but scott was amazing!

we snorkeled with rays and a sea turtle off of scott beach. we also snorkeled off of caneel and little caneel beach. visibility was good, so overall, the snorkeling experience was good.

we ordered take out from the beach terrace at caneel (YUMMY fish and chips and an okay chicken panini sandwich).

sun. -
free continental breakfast at caneel with bagels, pastries, oj, tea, and coffee.

while my husband went diving with low key (which he enjoyed, and highly recommends...he dove at cow rock where he saw a six foot reef shark and a five foot nurse shark; he then dove at lind point where he saw some lobster, crab, a barracuda and an array of other fish and sea life); i laid out on scott beach and couldn't help but smile.

at about 11:30, we took a taxi to trunk bay and snorkeled the underwater trail (awesome and GREAT visibility...not crowded either!)

next, we took a taxi back to the room to change and then headed over to cruz bay where we shopped, bought souveniers for family and friends, and ate at woody's (cheesburger and calamari...both very good!).

after we got back to the room, we laid out for a little, took a quick power nap, and then walked two trails on caneel's property. great walks and views, but i thought i saw some bee nests in the trees (i could be wrong though), so it was hard for me to really enjoy the walks.

we had dinner to go at the equator. i think it's hit or miss there. this night's dinner was awesome though. we had an island fiesta salad and yellow fin tuna.

mon. -
we had the continental breakfast again.

limnos boat trip to the baths at virgin gorda and norman island. i was SO excited to see the baths. the trail was okay...i would have rather anchored in the bay directly at the baths and snorkeled, instead of taking a taxi from spanish town. it was beautiful though.

we had chocolate cake and a passionfruit smoothie at the top of the baths (both were yummy), and then got back on the baot and had cold cuts for lunch (not as yummy).

we snorkeled the caves at norman island, and i would have passed on that, had i the option. i missed scott beach!

we did some more shopping in cruz bay, and bought a piece of mixed media artwork from a local artist. it is called "celestial island dream" by aimee trayser and we purchased it from a very nice gentleman from bajo el sol gallery at moongoose junction. the art just looked like stj, so we had to have it!

we had a painkiller (super strong, but good!) and a shrimp and crab cheese quesadilla from the beach gazebo at moongoose.

then, we ordered take out from paradiso. decent food here, and pricey...but i really wanted lobster tail. we also had gnocchi which was okay.

tues. -
we floated on rafts on scott beach...sooooooooooo relaxing.

we kayaked in caneel bay and then took a 1/2 day trip to charlotte amalie for shopping (not recommended). there were so many cruise ship guests there, and it's just nothing like stj, in my opinion. i much preferred shopping in cruz bay.

we had excellent sushi though, at beni iguana's at grand hotel in the shopping area. TERRIFIC service. iguana sauce is very tasty, and their mussels are excellent. we also had philly roll, ca roll, cucumber roll, and yellow tail (highly recommend).

we got back to caneel and had afternoon tea (from 4-5 on the turle bay verandah...RECOMMENDED, and wish we had done that other days). we had delicious scones, cookies, and treats. the tea was great, too, and the view, hello?!?! awesome!

for dinner, we decided to eat at the equator again. the food was so-so this time. we had the island fiesta salad again (which was good), the "taste of the equator" (a sample platter, which was okay), lobster bisque (way too much rum in it!), and the chocolate eruption for dessert. if you don't want to relive your childhood halloween memories, i suggest you do NOT order that dessert. SO much candy, too full to eat it all, and the brownies were so-so. for $20 (for two) for dessert, i thought it was not worthy at all.

wed. -
we laid out at hawksnest and were going to snorkel, but it was too choppy. then, we laid out at scott beach for a little bit, but it was soon time to go.

we checked out and had a long travel day yesterday. we're glad to be home (we missed our dogs), but thoroughly loved st john!!! thank you, again, to everyone!!! i'd be happy to answer any questions. i know i am a novice caneel person, but would be glad to assist anyone in their questions about this glorious paradise.

-service overall was great (don't expect timely service for room serice though); caneel has gotten a bad rap for service and it is not warranted in my opinion. they aren't in your face every five minutes asking if you need help (which to me is not preferred), but will be there if you assistance)
-people are very nice!
-scott beach 9 out of 10
-snorkeling overall was 8.5/10
-accomodations 6.5/10
-view/location 9.5/10
-water 9/10
-i still missed not having a tv...i know, i know, but if you knew me, you'd know how much i like to watch my shows!
-delta airlines first class service and food 4/10 (continental's food was much better to maui...9/10)

photos will be on my next post (my husband is working on that).

jackiehammond is offline  
Jun 8th, 2006, 07:53 AM
  #2  
 
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Enjoyed your trip report very much. Noticed that you rated the snorkeling as 8.5 out of 10--where have you gone that you might rate higher than that?

That passionfruit smoothie now has me distracted--sounds delish!
ejcrowe is offline  
Jun 8th, 2006, 09:17 AM
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Great trip report!
I am planning a vacation for this winter and I am greatly considering Caneel.

Question- can you please give me an idea of prices of meals? They offer a meal plan but I am not sure if it is worth it. I know they offer a free continental breakfast but it ends very early I think (8:00am?) We will probably eat most of the time at the resort.

I am trying to figure out once I add in the price of food if I should maybe consider some other higher priced resorts I looked at that were all inclusive...

Thanks!
shabbychic is offline  
Jun 8th, 2006, 10:09 AM
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hi ejcrowe!

i was debating between 8.5 and 9 for the snorkeling. i think that bora bora, in the man-made lagoon had better visibility and it was VERY shallow. i get afraid in deep water of what is in there, so in bora bora you could wade out in the lagoon for 200 yards and still only be waist deep!

yes, the passionfruit smoothie was so tangy and tasty! VERY refreshing after walking back up the trail from the baths.

thanks for reading my trip report...pics are coming.

hi shabbychic,

thanks for reading my trip report!

no, no, no on the meal plan, in my opinion. i hear it is very expensive, and there was a woman who was on the meal plan and regretted it. she was saying that there were so many weddings at caneel (we almost walked through one!) that they couldn't eat at the turtle bay estate house for dinner for three nights, i believe. so, then, you are left with the equator and beach terrace. both are decent-good, but i would check out the food on cruz bay, and not limit yourself to the food at caneel. the woman who was on the meal plan said she just ate a lot at cruz bay and bit the bullet for the cost of the meal plan.

yes, the continental breakfast ends promptly at 8 (as does the afternoon tea at 5, which is great). we got up two of the four times for the breakfast, and were glad we did...good light morning stuff (i can't eat heavy breakfast food too early), and then we ate lunch around 11 or 12 usually. we also brought some snack food from home and water bottles, and i would recommend that. we brought pretzels, cheetos, fritos, nuts, peanut butter, and crackers. we didn't eat even a third of it, but snacking on the beach was nice (at least until the birds wanted the food).

we are probably similar when it comes to preferring to eat at the resort. i like the convenience of it. even though i don't know the prices of the meal plans, i can't imagine it is worth it.

let me know what you decide, and what other resorts are you deciding between. thanks, again!
jackiehammond is offline  
Jun 8th, 2006, 10:15 AM
  #5  
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shabbychic,

as for an idea of menu item costs (sorry i don't know the meal plan costs), here's a run down (not exact though):

caneel food prices:
sake marinated yellow fin tuna $28 (with side salad, avocado, and other toppings)
salad $14
fish and chips and chicken sandwich together were about $40
taste of the equator sampler was $22
lobster bisque was $11
chocolate eruption for two was $20 (not worth it), and other desserts were around $10

some cruz bay food prices:
woody's burger was $9, calamari appetizer was $10ish
paradiso's lobster tail was $38 and gnocchi appetizer was $10
beach gazebo's, at moongoose junction, shrimp and crab quesadilla was $11 (yummy!)

hope this helps!
jackiehammond is offline  
Jun 8th, 2006, 11:45 AM
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wow, what a great detailed answer!

The meal plan is $90 pp breakfast and dinner and I think $110 pp for full plan.

Good point about weddings keeping restaurants out of commission.
Prices you mentioned seem like typical resort prices. I am am an early riser anyway & could probably make continental breakfast a few days.

I am still interested in Caneel,and with meals added in as you priced it should still be substantially less than other places I was looking into.

another option I am considering is to travel to 4S Nevis in dec when the rates are lower as opposed to Caneel in Feb/high season.....
shabbychic is offline  
Jun 8th, 2006, 12:13 PM
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Welcome back. I remember reading all your planning questions. Glad you enjoyed your trip. We really enjoyed the island's beaches when we were there.
I have to tell you that I'm jealous of your French Polynesia trip. We were suppose to go about 5 years ago on a cruise that would stop at 4 or 5 of the islands. The cruise line filed for bankruptcy and stopped operating 2 days before our trip! We ended up going to Maui which was great, but till this day we regret we didn't just go to French Polynesia anyway!
Thanks for letting us know how your trip went.
caribtraveler is offline  
Jun 8th, 2006, 12:39 PM
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Those bee nests were actually termite nests! Aren't they gross?!
Nice TR glad you had a wonderful time. I wish you could have made it out to Coral Bay. A whole different atmosphere, but no matter where you are on that island, "life is good"!!
mahobaygirl is offline  
Jun 8th, 2006, 03:00 PM
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hi shabbychic,

nevis does look like a really nice place, and you can't beat the 4S for luxury, service, and accommodations. 4S maui was awesome, and we had the cheapest room.

let me know if i can answer any other questions for you. to bad you can't go to caneel in june when the rates are low...the weater was absolutely AMAZING!

hi caribtraveler,

that is too bad about the cruise! but that's great you enjoyed maui. you will have to go to bora bora sometime...it is a magical place. not sure if you've seen this website, but we stayed here in case you're ever interested in going -
http://pearlbeachresorts.com/bora/main.asp

it was awesome!

thanks for reading my TR!

hi mahobaygirl,

termite nests?! yuck! i suppose it's better than bees' nests though, right? thanks for letting me know, and for reading my TR. i did hear coral bay was great...there's a good excuse to go back.

jackiehammond is offline  
Jun 8th, 2006, 03:55 PM
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Hi Jackie-
I have been to 4S maui- also in the cheap room!! View does not matter to me at all in a room.
I was really planning on Caneel and you sound like you had a great time. I know Caneel and 4S are not at all alike, but last year was a more nature like trip (Biras) so maybe this year should be a change. I will try to make my decision this week....
shabbychic is offline  
Jun 8th, 2006, 06:42 PM
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hi shabbychic,

that's so funny you stayed at the cheap room at maui 4S, too! wasn't it nice?

jackiehammond is offline  
Jun 8th, 2006, 06:43 PM
  #12  
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here are the pics everyone! my husband made a website for them:

http://www.anthemwebdesign.com
jackiehammond is offline  
Jun 9th, 2006, 07:42 AM
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Beautiful pictures and excellent trip report. You got a lot done in 5 days and still got to relax. It was nice to hear such a detailed and positive report about Caneel.
Tuxedocat is offline  
Jun 9th, 2006, 08:22 AM
  #14  
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thanks, Tuxedocat! so glad you liked the pics.
jackiehammond is offline  
Jun 9th, 2006, 10:30 AM
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Hi Jackie, what an excellent trip repot and the pics were awesome. You guys are so thoughtful to take the time for other travelers. My husband and I are going to Caneel in Aug. and I had some questions for you at your convience;

What type of clothes did you pack? (we have never been to the Carib.)
Did you take your own snorkel gear or use theirs, and if so did it work ok ?
Was the Baths worth going too?
You said you brought your own bottled water, do you know if you can buy some in town?
Thanks for ALL your helpful info. So very happy you two had such a great time, it makes me more excited about
our trip phyllis
fisherstan is offline  
Jun 9th, 2006, 10:36 AM
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I really enjoyed your photos too! You looked like you had a great trip!

Fisherstan- A visit to the baths is worth it- is is a very unique place I think.
shabbychic is offline  
Jun 9th, 2006, 11:14 AM
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I can't believe you posted that link to your Bora Bora resort. Why don't you twist the knife a little more!

Did you just do Bora Bora or did you stay on other islands? And did you do the over-the-water bungalow? If you say yes, I'm just going to start crying.

Love the St. John pics.
caribtraveler is offline  
Jun 9th, 2006, 12:35 PM
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Shabbychic, thanks for the reply, I'm going to take that advice and make sure we go there !!
fisherstan is offline  
Jun 9th, 2006, 01:23 PM
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JackieHammond:

Great pictures from St. John.

I too looked at the Bora Bora link and cried like caribtraveler. I'm stuck at work trying to finish a million summary judgments due on Monday, and thinking about drinking a cocktail. How long did it take to get to Bora Bora?

I will now go back to work (I am crying...)
mah1980 is offline  
Jun 9th, 2006, 02:03 PM
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Thanks for the great trip report. The pictures were beautiful and helpful. I was quite surprised at the Caneel Room and bathroom. Although I've heard many say the rooms aren't that great, I was surprised at how stark they are. I think the rooms at the Buccaneer are much nicer (especially most of the bathrooms) but people say they aren't luxurious enough either. At least at the Buc, you're not paying the same as Caneel (although it's not cheap).

Just glad to finally see what they are talking about at Caneel.

But STJ has STX beat in the scenery department. There is no place like St. John for beauty. Thank God for national parks and the Rockefellers
ccrosner is offline  

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