St Thomas & St Johns

Old May 12th, 2008, 06:26 AM
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St Thomas & St Johns

I am trying to plan a trip for my wife and I to St Thomas and St Johns. This is our first trip alone since having 4 children. We are not going until late March 2009. I have already booked airfare ... used my AAdvantage miles. We are scheduled to arrive on a Sunday evening around 7pm and our flight back is the following Sunday, departing at 9:15am.

I am trying to decide on an allocation of time between the 2 islands as well as make a decision on where to stay on each.

Given our flight arrival and departure times, can I reasonably expect to be able to take ferries on the days that I am flying? Or, might I need to plan on staying on St Thomas in the beginning and again at the end??

What do people recommend I do as far as renting a car? 1 island, both islands (seperately or take the car on the ferry), neither?

I have seen that March 31 is a holiday called 'Transfer Day'. What can I expect to have happen on that day? Any businesses or services closed or on revised schedules?

I realize that we are going right at Spring Break time. Do I need to consider anything because of this?

Thanks in advance!!
chkvtzn is offline  
Old May 12th, 2008, 09:22 AM
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It sounds like ideally you will spend your vacation in St John while visiting St Thomas and for landing and departing? You can probably make the ferry to St John the day you land. The Red Hook Ferry runs to midnight. This is NOT the Car Ferry. You most probably would arrive too late to get your rental car that day on St. John but could take a taxi. If you are going to rent a car on St John do this sooner then later as you really need one and to get “your pick” sooner will allow this. You can rent a car on St Thomas and take the car ferry to St John. The Rental fee would probably be less but…you must make sure that your St Thomas rental agency allows you to do this.
This link provides Ferry and car ferry times and locations.
Hope this helps and have fun!
http://www.vinow.com/general_usvi/interisland_ferry/

tyedye33 is offline  
Old May 12th, 2008, 09:47 AM
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I would spend the entire trip on St. John.

SUNDAY -
Once your plane arrives in St Thomas catch the Red Hook ferry (runs until midnight - so you should have no trouble). Once you arrive on St John catch a taxi to wherever you are staying. They are plentiful and you will have no trouble getting one as long as your accomodations are not too remote.

I can recommend staying at Estate Lindholm ( a nice inn just up the hill from town).

MONDAY-
Arrange to pickup your rental car in Cruz Bay on Monday, and get a cab to drop you in town.

Then spend the week on the beach, touring the island and maybe taking a day trip to Virgin Gorda, or Jost VanDyck, or a day sailing trip for snorkeling.

For departure you have 2 choices...

1. Drop off rental car Saturday morning. Then catch the ferry to St Thomas, check into a hotel and spend the day on St. Thomas, going to the beach, touring the port for deals on jewlery, etc. Stay overnight Saturday, then be up early for your flight on Sunday.

2. Drop off rental car Saturday night in Cruz bay and get cab to your accomodations. Arrange for cab to pick you up in the morning for the early ferry. Catch 6am ferry to St Thomas.
steviegene is offline  
Old May 12th, 2008, 12:05 PM
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first i applaud your enthusiasm for planning your kid-free getaway so far in advance!
my biggest suggestion is to do all within your power to change 9:15am departure to later in the day. otherwise you're really losing 2 full days of your vacation week.
i would not attempt to split my time between islands. loose half a day packing moving and unpacking.

st. thomas is busy with lots to do & see.
st. john is very laid back and has no nightlife to speak of. you can easily ferry to either for a day trip to explore. both offer snorkeling but st. john is much better.
if you stay on st. john and can not get a later flight you will need to get to st. t sat night. if you want to splurge and spend all day sat.
i'd try the marriott, so it won't take to long to get to the airport sun am. or try: http://www.emeraldbeachstthomas.com/index.html which is on a decent beach and right by the airport.

if you decide to stay on st. thomas check out: www.secretharbourvi.com - a mid-sized condo style resort with excellent beach, good snorkeling, restaurant and bar. the ritz is oh so nice. wyndham sugar bay is all-inclusive. marriott is close to charlotte amalie.
if you decide to stay on st. john caneel is fabulous (they have 7 of their own beaches!) and pricey. the westin is very nice and a bit less. most ppl stay in a villa. other fodorites can give you lots of specific ideas for where on st. john or even particular houses.
virginia is offline  
Old May 12th, 2008, 01:05 PM
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Another vote for St. John (no s) for your entire trip. I think steviegene hit the nail on the head as far as your return options go. You may want to consider staying at Gallows Point. You could walk to the dock Sunday morning, easily done with luggage especially if it has wheels.
Pulley is offline  
Old May 12th, 2008, 07:04 PM
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With a 9:15 am Sunday departure, I would personally feel much more comfortable going to St. Thomas the night before and spending the night. If the early ferry were running significantly late or if it didn't run, you wouldn't be able to get to the airport in time for your flight. Since you're interested in seeing St. Thomas anyway, why not make the most of it and spend your last night there while simultaneously feeling at ease about making your return flight?
ejcrowe is offline  
Old May 13th, 2008, 09:38 AM
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I'm not a big St. Thomas fan, but if you want to see it, I'd spend Sunday night there (I'd do this anyway - you will be very rushed to catch the ferry from Red Hook and it will be much more pleasant the next day). Spend Monday exploring St. Thomas - it is so much busier than St. John that it will be a nice transition from 'real life' - and take an afternoon ferry over to St. John, and you'll be ready to completely decompress.

On your return, you definitely want to spend Saturday night in St. Thomas if your flight is departinig early. They are not kidding about 2 hours early at the STT airport, and I've missed flights when I was leaving St. John for St. Thomas due to taxis being late, etc. I'd recommend one of the hotels right near the airport - very convenient, with a beach and nice enough.

Take taxis on St. Thomas (I think the driving there is nuts) and rent a car on St. John - reserve in advance though.

Have a lovely time!
seasweetie is offline  
Old May 20th, 2008, 12:40 PM
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Thank you to everyone for their responses.

Right now we are planning on staying at the Westin St Johns for 5 nights with the 1st and last of our 7 nights still up in the air.

The Westin would provide a ferry from the airport right to the resort. Where would people reccomend we stay for the 1st and 7th night in St Thomas? I arrive late (7pm) and the I believe the Westin ferry would done running for the day. Does anybody have experiences to share about the Westin ferry vs the public ferry?

Who would be a good company to rent a jeep/car from in St Johns? How long would you reccomend I rent a car/jeep on St Johns? Does the Westin charge for parking?
chkvtzn is offline  
Old May 20th, 2008, 01:25 PM
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Firts please remember it's St. John NOT St. Johns(that's Canada). We don't like the Westin Ferry it's more expensive and soemtime the wait is too long. Also leaving St. John you arrive on St. Thomas before your luggage! St. John Car rental is good to use and they have some in town parking. The Westin does not charge for parking. If all you are doing is going to sleep before and after your trip I would look into the Best Western right by the airport.
Pulley is offline  
Old May 20th, 2008, 01:38 PM
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Personally I would rent a car for the entire time you are in St John. Its convenient and allows you to travel into town for lunch or dinner, plus driving around the island to visit all the great beaches (it is often spoken of here that the Westin's beach is not very good).

Do a search for St John Car rental and you will find a bunch of threads about this.

We rented from Cool Breeze (I think). The experience was fine. In retrospect I would rent from one of the places that has in-town parking. Parking in Cruz Bay can be a real pain in the evening and having a lot would be really convenient.

Also, I would just stay on St Thomas for the night before your departure. 7pm is not that late to arrive, and catch the ferry over to st john. That way, you wake up in St John and pick your car up in the morning. Personally I hate staying somewhere for 1 night only....but thats just my opinion.
steviegene is offline  
Old May 28th, 2008, 11:16 AM
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Hi chkvtzn,
My husband and I rented a Jeep from Cool Breeze for two of our seven days and wish that we had rented it for the majority of the trip. There are really only about two/three main roads on the island and they are very long, windy, and steep...which makes walking quite difficult.
We stayed at the Estate Lindholm, a very nice, quiet Inn at the top of a HUGE hill outside of Cruz Bay. We walked the hill several times throughout the week, especially when we were going to dinner or planned on having a few drinks. BUT I would definitely recommend having the Jeep for the purpose of beach and island exploration....there are so many cool places to see!
We also paid a lot for shuttles/taxi rides in and out of town....$6-14 dollars each trip depending on where we were going....if you wanted to save $65-85/day in Jeep rentals, you could do some "planning" and take shuttles a few times...they are all over the place.
I would also highly recommend taking a water taxi or powerboat cruise out to Jost Van Dyke for a day at the most beautiful beach bar....Soggy Dollar Bar...we had a fabulous time there.
epaine is offline  
Old May 28th, 2008, 02:10 PM
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Have you considered staying at a villa on St. John? Our only time there we rented a villa with a pool and hottub. It was definitely our most romantic vacation ever. We hope to return(if there just weren't so many places in the world that we haven't been to).

You definitely need a 4 wheel drive car. I would just rent it on St. John--take a cab to the ferry. There are great beaches you will want to visit--even if you stay at the Westin(which is a lovely place--the villas though are really nice--and we stayed at one of the less expensive ones.

We also arrived late in the evening and picked up our car at St. John Car Rental--they left it in the lot for us to pick up. We signed the paperwork the next morning. The villa agent might have had our keys--can't quite remember.

Spend your last night at the airport. You would have trouble making a 9:15a.m. flight from St. John.

I would just skip St. Thomas this trip--unless you spend the whole time at Secret Harbor--it gets good reviews.

Check the very active forums on www.virgin-islands-online.com for great villa reviews and trip reports.

LindainOhio is offline  
Old Jun 27th, 2008, 09:42 PM
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I noticed it was mentioned to rent a car in St. John that has down town parking. Any suggestions on who to rent from.
Thanks, Jamie
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Old Jun 28th, 2008, 06:13 AM
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My favorite places to stay on each island are:
St. John's - Caneel Bay, for the service and excellent beaches.
St. Thomas - Frenchman's Reef - great harbor views of Charlotte Amolie and a private ferry that takes you there and back.
You've had some good advice here; St. Johns for the maximum amount of time you can spare and 1-2 days in St. Thomas (spend a day in town) in order to get your flight back in time.
There are beautiful beaches in St. John and you could spend a day on each - Hawksnest, Cinnamon Bay, Trunk Bay (go on a day when a cruise ship is NOT in town) and Turtle Beach.
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Old Jun 28th, 2008, 03:57 PM
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There are an abundance of people that would stay at a place like Secret Harbour in St Thomas and try St John once or twice, even three times during their stay. St. Thomas does have a lot to offer that is often overlooked by the perception of those who think is is too busy and crowded. If you only know St Thomas from the trip from the airport to the ferry dock, you are wrong. I have noticed that some who love St John detest St Thomas where a happy medium is also reached by those who find St John too slow for a weeks stay. A lot to think about!

RL
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