Follow-on Ferry to St John question
Hi Everyone !!
First, BIG thanks to all the folks who have answered questions on this forum. I just found the forum this morning and am really impressed --- this forum is great. The responses are uncommonly knowledgeable and helpful. (tu)
Planning a return trip to Saint John next month and am following up on a recent thread about the Ferry Service from St Thomas to the Westin. I love St John. Cannot say the same for the transit piece. Have found by far the most stressful part of the trip is from the time of claiming luggage at the airport in St Thomas, to getting to the dock in Cruz Bay, and the reverse process when departing St. John. Was fascinated by the Posts on the Westin Ferry option.
Does anyone happen to know, would the Westin happily take my $120 for their ferry service, even if I were not a registered guest? After a couple years of being a public ferry 'survivor', I would gladly ante up the $120 for an option that sounds soooo much easier and less stressful, and make arriving to VI something to look forward to --- rather than something to 'get through'. Even with the cost of getting a Taxi from the Westin to the car rental place, it sounds well worth it.
Looking forward to the Island "Breeze"!
Probably best to call, ask them directly, make a reservation for the trip to Weston from airport and get a receipt for payment or confirmation in writing.
The answer is no. It's a private ferry for Westin guests only. You could always rent your vehicle on STT and take the car barge over to St John which saves you the loading and unloading part of the journey.
There are several options to get to St John.
1. Reserve a private taxi. Rachael is most often recommended. 340.771.2986
2. Hire private water taxi. Dolphin 340.774.2628. Dohms 340.775.6501
I have not taken the car barge but many times have taken both of the passenger ferries. Don't let it stress you. It is a simple process and all the folks you will need to deal with are very familiar with the process. Broken down into it's most simple terms it is a 12 step process appropriate for those of us who are StJ addicts;
1) exit the airplane. feel that air? hot and sticky and humid. other than the diesel and jet fuel fumes, this is what you will enjoy during your stay.
1a) on your way to the luggage carousel, greet the ladies who hand out the complimentary rum shots and have one. ask what other flavors they have. ask kindly if you may have another. Don't worry, your luggage is not on the carousel yet.
1b) step over to the arrival airport desks and grab a couple of custom declarations for your departure day. This way you can fill them out on the taxi ride on your way home.
2) claim your luggage at the carousel.
3) turn around and find the taxi dispatcher. (easy to find, he is the busiest guy just at the exit from the luggage area)
4) greet him and tell him that you have #passengers headed to the Red Hook ferry terminal with # pieces of luggage. He will direct you to a multi-passenger van taxi and driver.
5) greet and tell the driver that you have #passengers headed to the Red Hook ferry terminal with # pieces of luggage and ask the price.
6) let the driver load your bags, step into the taxi and wait a short time while it fills with other passengers. we like the back of the van. find out who else in the van is going to StJ. strike up a conversation, you will most likely see these people while you are on the island. and it makes the ride go faster.
7) when you arrive at Red Hook ferry terminal, exit the van, pay and tip the driver and proceed into the terminal. Turn left.
8) greet the young lady at the ticket counter and purchase ferry tickets let her know how many bags you will "check". you can keep your carry-on luggage with you in your seat and do not have to pay for them. apply the paid labels to your "checked" luggage.
8a) if you have not already done so, change into your warm weather clothes and apply sunscreen.
8b) go to the bar and order a cold drink. If you are not yet in island time mode you should seriously settle into it NOW!
9) when your ferry is boarding, (don't worry about getting in line too soon, you will not get left behind) line up with your luggage. hand your "checked luggage" to the ferry hands as you board. They will pile them up at the back of the ferry. keep your carry-on bags
10) select your seats either up top in the sun (or rain) or below in the air conditioning. If up top you had better taken care of step 8a).
11) when you arrive at the Cruz Bay dock, step off the ferry, step back and wait on the dock until your bag(s) are unloaded. it is a very informal process, as you see your bag set on the dock, walk up and claim it. you may or may not tip the ferry bag handlers. it is not required.
12) walk to the end of the ferry dock. find the person you are going to meet or walk to get your rental vehicle.
Contact Motor Yacht Cinnamon Bay and talk to Cindy or Mark. They picked us up at the airport (literally at the gate), short walk to the water, onto their boat (adult drinks & snacks included) for a great ride to St. John. They took just the 2 of us and it was great and relaxing and an adventure we look forward to repeating. Well worth the money.
Getting from the airport to St John is really not that hard or complicated. There are always tons of taxis waiting at the airport. Fares are regulated and posted, so you know exactly what you are going to pay. It takes time to get from Charlotte Amalie to Red Hook, even though it may only be a few miles. The ferries from Red Hook go on a regular basis and are clearly posted on this forum. The stress comes in if you have made your arrival time too close to when you need to be at the ferry. A personal taxi will not really help with that because traffic is what it is, especially depending on the number of cruise ships that are in port. Leave yourself plenty of time to get to St John so you are not starting your vacation still on "stressed out US time" and can jump right into Island time. Better yet, extend your trip by two days. Many rentals run Saturday to Saturday when the airfare is highest. Go Friday to Sunday and spend a couple of nights in St Thomas so you are not panicked about getting from St John to the airport on your travel day and vice versa.
Car rental at STT airport and car ferry from Red Hook is great. No crowd, no rush, no big money. Take your time to get to Red Hook - ferries go late. Check the schedule on this web.
The shuttles to Red Hook are a drag but a lot of that is because the airplane ride is horrible, you're hot, the luggage is a drag, and you're still on Yankee time. One idea is to have a couple belts before getting on the shuttle.
You can also find ferry from downtown Charlotte Amalie, I think. More money and less frequency, but easier cab ride into town instead the trek all the backroads of St. Thomas.
Orkney, sounds like a great way to get from STT to STJ, would you mind giving me a ballpark figure for that ride??