USVI report part II:

Feb 15th, 2006, 06:26 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 82
USVI report part II:

Realy enjoyed our stay in st croix and the Buccaneer. Got upgraded from an oceanview great house room to a family cottage before we even arrived. Here's the scoop..

Pros:
Close to town - Major plus since we opted not to eat at the hotel, and buck island tours 5 minutes away
Good breakfast - Dont bother ordering their "specialty" pancakes. The specialty is that they are bad. Stick to the buffet which is a regular resort buffet as far as selection.
Internet - major plus to get a connection from the room. Sitting every morning with the laptop watching the mongoose family cross was priceless. They would line up from biggest to smallest
Rooms - cottage was comfortable, get stuff you normally dont get like umbrellas, 2 hair driers, bug spray which will serve as your perfume.
Spa - very good treatment, not the best looking facility according to the wife
Kids club - Major hit in my family. Send your kids there as long as Carol is there. I'm sure she wont like it but arrange your schedule according to carol's. They do all kinds of nature activities like crab hunting for a crab race. One day the kids were like "wana hear a morning dove daddy. ooh, ooh". Got a little annoying after the 20th time
Setting - stunning views from the great house


Cons:
Dinner - I wouldnt recommend eating there not even for one night tho I must say that I didnt try. I personnaly dont like the usuall hotel dining atmosphere (buffet, music, etc). Besides I met someone who just got married there and spent half of his marriage life in bed after getting food poisoning from the bacanneer fish. I'm sure its not that bad tho.
Hilly - no matter where you stay prepare to walk a little bit. Didnt bother me.
Beach - We enjoyed it overall but there are much nicer beaches on the island. Brown rough sand.
Staff - there's a big turnover rate here for some reason. feels like a cruisship. some are a little too trained, too professional to talk to. I lost my prescription snorkeling gear and based on my conversations with the staff, there's a good chance that it was stolen or misplaced by one of them.
Bugs - ok they have em everywhere but right outside our cottege we had special visitors, the ones that make that loud cricket like sound. You know the one that makes you get out in thr middle of the night, wearing only your underwear holding a magazine, shutting the door only to hear your wife shout ITS HERE, followed by bam, bam and you just standing there waiting for the banging to stop so she could open the door. that one.

Attractions:
Buck Island - the highlight of the trip. Stunning beach - top 10 according to national geographic. Amazing snorkling. far better than st thomas/st john. I was shocked at how many I met who didnt plan to go there. St croix is not doing much promoting it and I must have convinced about 10 couples to go there.

There are also some nice beaches in the fredricksted. area. If you drive on the coast from south of the city going south, check out the beach by a place called sandcastle on the beach. Crystal clear water. kids had a blast there collecting shells. nice scenery on the way to point udal. Driving on the left is not a problem. The problem is remembering left turns - easy, right turns - hard. Ok on to my favorite topic...

Dining. from worst to best. I know, I need to get a life.

Kendricks - I know its everyone's favorite but this was not a good experience. waited an hour and half for my food and the kids food. My medium cooked filet mignon was well well done, no red in sight. chris the waiter took it back and i opted not to order anything due to the long wait so had some of the wife's grouper special (excellent) and the kids pasta.
Rum Runner - good meal overall. good ribs and lobster. kids had fun
Dugan's reef - slow service. good lobster. very good catch of the day. The kids meal was same catch, fried and very good. When the kids eat tasty fish everyone's happy.
Savant - great food, dark courtyard, if you dont like thai or mexican this is not for you. excellent fajitas and great red curry with mixed seafood and for dessert get the coconut pecan pie, mmmm.
Bacchus - didnt plan on eating here but decided to check it out after the filet mignon debacle. Was surprised to see the same waiter from kendricks (chris) there. I hope he didnt get fired..he said this is his first day there and he'll work in both places. Ordered the rib-eye and when I got it both my waiter and chris stared at me with great anticipation, gave them the thumbs up. very good. wife's lobster was the best of the trip (tried about 4, she loves her lobster) and you must have the banana bread pudding. They dont have it everyday I think, normally its plain bread pudding. call ahead . This is a steakhouse with great lobster basically

Also went to cheeseburgers for lunch. Its a kids picnic place and I cant recommend eating there (not very good burgers).

Our vacation extended by 2 days due to the storm in NY. flight to san juan was delayed by an hour as well for some reason. So we decided to try something different and go to Carambola. Well, I'm not gonna compare a 5 star (i think it is, isnt it?) resort to the 2 star carambola but the carambola isnt that bad. Nicer beach imo in the carambola and it looks like a good place to relax and do nothing. The rooms are airy, large, exotic, wood cabins. saw a giant bug (palmetto i think) browsing through my stuff in the bathroom counter and I cant get rid of that image. Go there only if dining is not important to you. very limited menu and no restaurants nearby.

story: our last dinner there. Ordered the conch chowder soup and after 10 minutes the waiter (older fella) goes "sir I dont like the way the soup looks and smells. I crossed it out for you.", ordered the cream brulee which I was looking forward to, the waiter comes back "sir I dont like the way the cream brulee looks so I crossed it out". I wasnt sure at this point if he knows what he's doing and I was afraid to insist. When he told us that his son leaves in NY for a second time was a big clue tho. Next day happened to meet the manager during breakfast and she flipped when I told her the story. She and another manager were wondering why no one ordered the freshly made cream brulee the night before and was certain that the waiter who was new just doesnt know how it's supposed to look like.
ziggy60 is offline  
Feb 15th, 2006, 10:32 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 295
I'm glad to hear someone else enjoyed St. Croix. It doesn't get a lot of publicity as most people go to St. John or St. Thomas. Frankly, I like the fact that St. Croix is not crowded and overrun with tourists. We, too, enjoyed exploring the entire island. We stayed at the Carambola - I agree, they need to expand their menu! Our food was ok; we really enjoyed the Friday Night Pirate's Buffet. As far as the rooms, they're very spacious and the staff did a great job keeping them clean every day. I love the location of the Carambola and the beach is lovely.
We had a great meal at Kendrick's - sorry you didn't; however, that's not a place to go if you want to get in and out quickly. We didn't mind the wait for our food as the atmosphere was fantastic. We, too, liked Rum Runners - a great casual place. I was surprised about your comment that no one wants to go to Buck Island. On two different visits to St. Croix, we had to book a few days in advance to be able to go with Mile Mark tours. Buck Island is so beautiful - I'll always remember the gorgeous color of the water.
beth48 is offline  
Feb 15th, 2006, 11:54 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 148
Thanks for the trip report. Our family loved St. Croix not a bad spot the entire trip. The beaches were wonderful. Buck Island is not to be missed! The island is full of places to explore and wonderful beaches. I love the low key, not crowded island. Beautiful island, friendly people, a wonderful place for a family vacation.
barginhunter is offline  
Feb 15th, 2006, 02:49 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 949
Ziggy--
Thanks for the great trip report with helpful info for all on this board. Glad someone else likes St. Croix and the Buccaneer.

Was interested in your comment about the Buccaneer staff. Some of that "too professional and too trained" is the "Cruzan Way". They are reserved and it's too bad because it comes off badly. The mgt. has definitely worked on it over the years but it doesn't work with everyone. As for turnover, I'd have to say I'll disagree (unless my trip next week changes things). There are people working in each area of the hotel (gift shop, concierge, front desk, breakfast, bartenders, Mermaid, Beach staff, bellhops, taxi drivers) who haven't changed in the seven trips we've made there--or at least have been there for five years or more. There are always new faces to meet but many whom we all know.

Sorry to hear about the snorkeling gear loss. Sorrier still to hear that it might have been the staf.

Question about your Buck Island trip. Did you do the full or half day? We have done the half day and the time on the island is just too short (what a GORGEOUS beach). I've heard others say it gets boring to be there all day. So I"m curious to know yours (or others') thoughts about the options. Remember we're with a 9 and 11 year old. They like to snorkel.

We're with you on the restaurant recommendations (except for Kendricks). What a story about Carambola and the waiter You must have gone home hungry for the second time on your vacation!!!

STay in touch.
ccrosner is offline  
Feb 15th, 2006, 08:15 PM
  #5  
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Posts: 82
ccrosner, you'll probably see a lot of new faces in 2 days. Maybe it was a coincidence that everyone we met was new or there less than a year. The staff at carambola was a little more down to earth and more "local" if you will. Except the creme brulee guy.

Half a day at buck was plenty for us. If you take the mile mark tour skip the walk to see the baby sharks and enjoy more time on the beach (about 40 minutes - felt plenty). Baby sharks turned out to be barely visible shadows. Have fun. Are you renting a car? It was fun driving east to point udal and to the beaches out west. Never made it to sandy point but heard it was nice.

Beth, most people I met were like "we didnt plan to go to buck island, shoud we?" I was promoting it for a week between the 2 resorts.
ziggy60 is offline  
Feb 17th, 2006, 06:37 AM
  #6  
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Pictures uploaded. Not safe for work

http://community.webshots.com/album/547674448RTwvWu
ziggy60 is offline  
Feb 17th, 2006, 11:19 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Ziggy, thank you for your very thorough trip report. It's great that you've added to the slim information available on this forum on St. Croix.
ejcrowe is offline  
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