My wife and I will be cruising to St. Thomas on the AOS in December. We have been to Magens Bay and loved it, but we hear so much about Trunk Bay on St. Johns that we were thinking of going there. I usually book excursions through Royal Caribbean, but the Trunk Bay trip there, does not give enough beach time. Has anyone on here ever just taken a taxi to the Ferry and then a taxi to the beach? If so, approximately how much did it cost?
My wife and I went on AOS in June and did the Trunk Bay excursion. The beach is absolutely beautiful and is worth the trip. It may not seem like too much time at the beach, but they make it so easy to get to. The ferry picks you up right next to the ship, you have a guide that points out a bunch of points of interest on the way. The taxi's are all set once you get off the ferry and if you like snorkeling, it's one of the best places to it and they coordinate it for you. They have a underwater "trail" to follow. With all of the travel time to get there, I think it may be worth it to just go through RCL. But that's just my opinion.
We did this on our own in June. You get alot more time on the beach (provided you get off the ship early)
The public bus cost us $2 each (normally $1 but the ferry trip is twice the normal fair distance I guess) You can grab the taxi/bus (pickup trucks with bench seats in the back and an awning over it) if you go out of the end of the cruise ship port entrance and basically walk across the street. It might be a little confusing to figure out where to stand. The busses are dark green. You may just need to put your hand up when you see one coming.
When we went it was raining on our way to the beach so we just ended up grabbing a regular Taxi (waiting there at the entrance) to take us to the ferry) I think it was $20 (might have been $24) to get the four of us to Red Hook to catch the ferry. the Ferry leaves every hour to half hour depending on when you get there. The Ferry was $5 for adults and I think the kids were $1 or maybe $2. Then you need to catch a taxi on St John to get to Trunk Bay ($4 each) which then costs another $7 to get into. (Again I think the kids were free) On the way back, you pay everything again. The good thing about the return trip is that the public taxis pick up and drop off right at the entrance to the ferry parking lot. And there are a lot of them because the kids from St John ferry back and forth from St Thomas to go to school. So catching the taxi back is easy as walking out of the parking lot. Just ask before you get in if they will be going by the cruise ship dock. We carried our own snorkel stuff so I don't know the cost is to rent it at the Bay.
So, if you can catch a public bus to and from Red Hook, then you are looking at roughly $21 per adult for what the ship charges $60?? for? And you can stay at least two hours longer than the ship tour. Just watch your time and realize that if you miss the ferry you may have to wait an hour for the next one but if you watch your time and leave the beach about a quarter past, then you can get back before the ferry leaves on the hour with time to spare. Travel time is about 20 mins on the ferry and probably 15 to 20 mins on the taxis so give yourself at least 2 hours for safety (Unless you can watch you time and avoid missing the return ferry). If you have to wait for the bus taxi it could be a half hour before the next one. Worst case if you are running out of time, there are regular taxis around Red Hook and you can pay the extra money to get right back to ship.
We left the ship about 9 and didn't leave the beach until 2:30 and still had time for shopping when we came back (and changed).
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Brad, you have 2 options of places to catch the ferry to St. John. Red Hook, which runs every hour but requires a cab ride there (I believe it was $12/pp) or Charlotte Amalie which doesn't really keep a good schedule. We normally take the cab to Red Hook and sometimes return to Charlotee. The ferry is $6/pp (from what I remember), the cab fare from the ferry landing to Trunk Bay is $4.50/pp or close and the entrance to Trunk Bay is around $2/pp. It takes about 15-20 minutes for the ferry, but the cab from Charlotte can be anywhere from 30 minutes to over 1 1/2 hours. The traffic can be ridiculous. It's a 2 lane road and if there are a lot of ships in port, it can be amazing. Just allow yourselves plenty of time to get back to the ship. We usually leave at 2pm to get back to the ship. Best wishes and have a wonderful cruise. Trunk Bay is awesome!
Thank you guys for all of your help. I'll consider all options.
One more question...On the Royal Caribbean web-site they list a tour called "St. John 1/2 Day Champagne Cat Sail" which describes a sailing trip to an unnamed beach on St. Johns. Does anyone know what beach this refers to?