Would love to hear from someone that went to Emerald Beach on their own (no ship tour). Did they mind you being there? We just want to use the beach, not the pool. Will they rent chairs? Is there some shade?
its been awhile since we were there, but we had no problems with the taxi dropping us off, we just plopped ourselves and our beach towels on the beach. There are a few palm trees not to many. A pretty beach but not gorgeouse like some of the others.
FYI - the airport is basically next door, so there is the roar of the airplanes flying very low overhead.
Emerald beach seems like an odd choice for St Thomas. I'm sure no one is going to mind your being on the beach, facilities etc. may be another story.
For my money the best public beach on St Thomas is Saphire. Beautiful uncrowdwd beach, all facilities (bathrooms , outdoor shower etc) and renatals available, several food options and a nice bar. Great "walk in" snorkelling and the view across to St John and the BVI's is simply incredible. Taxi stand out in front of the resort for easy transportation.
I totally agree with you Papa Bill, the only reason that we went to Emerald Beach was at the time this was the only beach where you could rent waverunners and that is what our group wanted to do. I did get to do some iguana watching.
A couple of years ago, we took a taxi to Emerald Beach. We chose it because we wanted to spend only the morning at the beach, so we didn't want to venture too far.
Although, it is very close to the airport, the sand is white and clean and the water is calm and clear. According to the taxi driver, we were welcome by the hotels. There was a Best Western and another small hotel next door. The beach was practically empty. At the poolside of the BW, they were having wedding ceremony after wedding ceremony...so that was our entertainment.
There was very little shade on the beach, and a few chaises (not the best...but nobody minded that we took them).
If your ship docks in Havensight(most likely) Saphire is about 10 to 12 minutes by cab. If you dock sub base, the plan on half hour. Fare from Havensight about $6 to $7 per person, about a dollar or two more from sub base. The mileage isn't all that different, you fight downtown traffic in the morning from Sub base. You might negotiate a "rate" with a driver if there are four of you. Agree on a price before you take off.
Get off the ship first thing and head out to the beach. Swim, snorkel,
other beach/water toys available from activity desk. Food options include a restaurant , bar (sells food) and convenience store that also sells food and snacks and cold drinks. There are toilets and an outdoor shower.
Cab stand is out in front of the resort lobby.
Stay 4 hours or so on the beach go to tram, have lunch and then shop Havensight for convenience or go into town. Leave a minimum of an hour to get to port from town because EVERYONE is headed back at once)(this is why I suggest you shop Havensight).