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  #1 (permalink)  
Old June 18th, 2003, 11:33 AM
SSinCT
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Default St. John Excursion/4 1/2 Yr Old

Does any one have any suggestions on how to book a shore excursion to St. John to avoid the ferry/taxi? It's a special birthday for me, and I want to avoid the hassle of worring about ship departures. Disney will not allow my daughter to come along as she is 6 weeks shy of her 5th birthday, and they are strict re their cut off on age for shore excursions. I checked with portpromotions.com and shorexursions.com and they do not offer anything to St. John - any ideas anyone?
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old June 18th, 2003, 01:53 PM
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Default Re: St. John Excursion/4 1/2 Yr Old

You really don't need to book an excursion to St.John's- do it on your own. Hit the beach at Trunk Bay or Cinnamon Bay(just to name a couple) do some snorkeling just relax on the beautiful beaches. the water taxi is the only way to get to St. John's- its really very easy and the water taxis leave every hour on the hour, so a little planning is all it takes. Its not a hassle if you plan a bit.
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Old June 18th, 2003, 05:22 PM
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Default Re: St. John Excursion/4 1/2 Yr Old

There are any number of family friendly beaches on St Thomas if you are afraid of the ferry to St John not being reliable.
Maegens Bay of course is the largest and most popular , but, it can get crowded.
There are full facilities there.
Coki beach is located next to Coral World, a paid attraction. There are facilities at Coki , some very enjoyable "walkin" snorkelling (even appropriate for a 4 to 5 year old), food, drink, safe . Coki attracts some cruise passengers and tourists as well as local families. Try it, it makes for a fun beach day without the hassle of the ferry. Unlike Maegens Bay, Coki has no admission fee.
A third alternative is Saphire Beach . Again facilities are available.
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Old June 19th, 2003, 09:40 AM
Luisa
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Default Re: Re: St. John Excursion/4 1/2 Yr Old

We recently spent a day at Sapphire beach -- beautiful view from there. There are full facilities and easy to reach by taxi. The kids loved it as did we! It isn't as crowded as Magen's Bay.
Smooth sailing,
Luisa Frey Gaynor
Family Cruise Editor
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Old June 25th, 2003, 12:13 AM
SSinCT
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Default Re: Re: Re: St. John Excursion/4 1/2 Yr Old

Luisa, thanks for responding to my query - I was hoping to hear from you! I use to do marketing for Sapphire Beach and was there regularly - hence the idea of St. John. I like Sapphire Beach, but don't really want to pay to go there....and want something a bit more special for the 40th birthday celebration. Any other ideas? I tried to the two websites you suggested, but the tour operators don't serve St. John unless your ship docks in St. John (I called to double check on this.) Again, really want to have any easy and memorable birthday with my husband and daughter. Sorry to press, any other ideas for St. John trips? MANY MANY THANKS!
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Old June 25th, 2003, 12:15 AM
SSinCT
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Default Re: Re: St. John Excursion/4 1/2 Yr Old

I just tried to post a message to you under destinations, but in case you are reading here... I use to PR for two resorts (Sapphire Beach and Point Pleasant) on St. Thomas and would much, much rather go to St. John. Any ideas to make this a memorable 40th where we can take my daughter who is a bit under the age of 5. Thanks!
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Old June 25th, 2003, 12:17 AM
SSinCT
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Default Re: Re: St. John Excursion/4 1/2 Yr Old

I just re-read your email - this is a great tip! Where do you get a water taxi in St. Thomas to St. John? I know about this for St. Maarten but not over on St. Thomas - tell me more please this may be the answer or at least a solution!!!
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  #8 (permalink)  
Old June 26th, 2003, 06:26 PM
Luisa
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Default Re: St. John Excursion/4 1/2 Yr Old

Hmmm...I wonder if there will be tour operators on the pier in St. Thomas who could take you to St. John? There often are lots of independent tour operators in the big ports. I'm surprised that kids under 5 can't go on the Disney shore excursion to St. John since Trunk Bay is such a family oriented spot. I'll let you know if I think of anything else.
Best,
Luisa
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Old June 29th, 2003, 08:42 PM
SSinCT
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Default Re: Re: St. John Excursion/4 1/2 Yr Old

Thanks Luisa for looking into it! I can't believe this is so complicated. If our ship was leaving later in the day, I would feel better about the ferry. I guess if we don't have another option, then we'll take the ferry. Another writer on the boards suggested the water taxis and to ask you. Do you know anything about a water taxi from Red Hook? I saw a brief mention on the Virgin Isles website but no pricing or timing. Any thoughts?
Thanks!
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Old August 5th, 2003, 01:02 AM
SSinCT
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Default Re: St. John Excursion/4 1/2 Yr Old

For Luisa and other readers:

We had the best day of entire trip onboard Disney Magic when we got off and booked Jester Sailing Adventures for my family from St. Thomas to St. John. The captain, Jim, could not be more accommodating. He has coast guard certification and is originall from California. He is very laid back, but completely anticipates your every need. He is family friendly and whipped up a wonderful lunch, and at my request all the special foods my 4 1/2 year old likes was onboard from olives to Trix yogurt! He can be reached at jester@islands.vi

Below is the original response I received from him (the most personal of all the day charters we contacted). Please if you go there send my regards from Sharon in CT! You will love this!!! When you look at the cost remember how much he includes and that shore excursions can cost that much, especially for a family of 4, 5 or 6. We went for the entire day over to Honeymoon Cove, and it was fine for our young daughter. He event let her feed the fishies and watched her while we snorkeled. HAVE FUN!

EMAIL FROM CAPTAIN JIM:

Ahoy Sharon!

Thanks so much for your interest in Jester Sailing Adventures!

My name is Capt'n Jim, and I would love the opportunity to take you and your family sailing during your birthday voyage and show you the very best of the Virgins! I am still available for Wed. 7/30 and I promise you a daysail on Jester would absolutely be one of the highlights of your vacation! I do often sail with guests visiting off the cruise ships and PP (Point Pleasant Resort) is really only about an easy 20 min. cab ride from the cruise ship dock.

One thing you should not miss while visiting the islands is a day trip over to the island of St. John to visit the Virgin Islands National Park. It is a fun and easy sail through the protected crystal blue waters of Pillsbury Sound and the beautiful surrounding cays. We will anchor off of a breathtaking white sand beach and a colorful reef with loads of tropical fish and some great snorkeling! Usually after lunch we can make a second snorkel stop at one of my favorite spots near one of the secluded outer cays before a relaxing downwind sail back to St. Thomas.

Aboard Jester you can either, get involved and learn to sail or just kick back, relax and enjoy being pampered. Jesterís open bar is always fully stocked with a variety of ice-cold beverages and specialty libations (you'll love my famous "Jester Juice"!). On your trip to St. John I offer breakfast bars and muffins in the morning and also serve a very tasty, freshly prepared BBQ lunch consisting of Voodoo Chicken, Rasta Pasta, Caribbean Corn on the Cob, and also a homemade Island Salsa and chips. I used to have a "real job" in the restaurant business, so guests are always impressed with lunch and its presentation. I can also always accommodate any special diets or specific provision requests.

I sail with a maximum of just six guests, so you will never feel crowded. A full day trip is $100 per person (all inclusive, just bring your beach towel and camera!) and runs from 9am to 3pm. You can also book the boat exclusively for just yourselves for $450. If you would feel more comfortable with a half-day, I can do that too. It would run about 4 hours, the cost would be $350 exclusively and you can choose the times. Although the day goes by fast, there is plenty of time to comb the beach, swim and relax! For a half-day I would not serve a full lunch, but all the drinks and some light snacks would be provided.

Jester is a very safe and comfortable vessel that is also fast and easy to sail. There is a roomy shaded cockpit with lots of pillows as well as a large cushion on the foredeck for relaxing and soaking up some sun and scenery. The boat is also very spacious below deck with a full galley, private head, and comfortable sleeping quarters for six. Jester is also equipped with an easy to board swim ladder, a fresh water shower, top quality snorkel gear with safety vests, float mats, fishing gear and always some great music! There is also a sturdy dingy for exploring and getting to shore.

I am a Coast Guard licensed Master Captain and have been living in the islands since 1985. I have extensively sailed throughout the Virgin Islands and know much about the islandís history and folklore and all of the very best spots to visit as well as the places to avoid. Iím very easy-going and keep a flexible schedule and itinerary and will gladly organize and tailor any sort of daysail you desire.

I do accept all major credit cards and of course travelers checks and cash. To reserve a trip I would take a credit card number, but would not charge the card until the day of the trip. In the unlikely event of bad weather or some unforeseen circumstances that would prevent us from sailing, nothing would be charged.

If I can provide any more information or assist in any way with planning your visit to the islands please feel free to call me personally at (340) 513-2459. You can also re-visit my website at www.sailjester.com where you will find some fun photos and a chart of the islands.

I hope to hear from you again soon!

All the Best!

Capt'n Jim
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  #11 (permalink)  
Old August 5th, 2003, 12:27 PM
Luisa
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Default For: Sharon

Hi Sharon:
SO glad to hear that your boat charter to St. John was a success! I am printing out your info/details of the day so I can pass it on to other readers. (Also, I'll seriously consider doing the same next time I'm in St. Thomas!) Sounded wonderful.
How did you like the rest of the Disney Cruise?
Smooth sailing,
Luisa
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Old August 5th, 2003, 12:33 PM
Luisa
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Default FOr Sharon

Hi again:
Just read your details about Disney. What a shame. We had a good cruise last year -- I wonder if things have changed. Disney food has never been good but when we were on, the staff was pretty helpful. Sorry to hear that.
Thanks for the update.
Smooth sailing,
Luisa
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  #13 (permalink)  
Old August 5th, 2003, 11:01 PM
SSinCT
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Default Re: FOr Sharon

Luisa - thank you for being such a great and accessible resource on this message board. I really found you to be reliable. As mentioned, I have worked with many people like Molly Staub and Candyce Stapen, who is a personal friend. But, it is nice to have a site like this one where readers can ask an expert like yourself big and small questions. I just want to say thank you.

I do hope you book Jester Sailing Adventures - I really don't think you will be disappointed. In fact, you will be pleased!

As far as Disney, I am still in a state of shock as to how poorly run that experience was and how unprofessional and unpolished the staff was to us and other families. While I don't expect a 5 star experience, I do expect that Disney is very buttoned up and knows how to cater to its guests and entertain them to leave them with that happy glow you have you leave Disney World or Disney Land (we are usually tired but we all glow, even my tired husband!)

Many thanks again!

Sharon Pomerantz Strelzer
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  #14 (permalink)  
Old August 6th, 2003, 06:35 PM
Luisa
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Default Re: Re: FOr Sharon

Hi Sharon:
What a small world -- a few years ago I helped Candyce Stapen update her guidebook, Cruise Vacations with Kids. And she and I were just on the same NCL Star cruise in Hawaii this month! In what capacity did you work with her?
Thanks so much for the compliments -- makes my job totally worth it!
As for Disney, I'll keep my eyes and ears open and keep you posted.
Best,
Luisa
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  #15 (permalink)  
Old August 9th, 2003, 05:46 PM
SSinCT
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Default Re: Re: Re: FOr Luisa

Luisa - perhaps you want to email me directly - SStrelzer1@aol.com so we don't weigh down your board! I can't believe Candyce was on the Hawaii cruise! She is friends with my parents too! Wait until I tell them! I just booked Candyce to try the Radisson Seven Seas Voyager in May (I am publicist I think I mentioned!) I have known Candyce for almost 17 years, and we are not only do work together from a reporter/PR side, but we are personal friends too! She is from my hometown in DC! Just saw her in March and chatted with her the other night! She sent me a personalized copy of her book before we left for Disney ship. 6 degrees of separation huh! I still can't believe I didn't know she was on the same ship with my parents! I guess it never came up in our recent conversations prior to sailing.

Anyway, I found your site because of the consulting work I was doing for Radisson. I was invited on the Diamond this summer to the Caribbean (I think you have seen my earlier queries), but I knew it catered to a mature crowd. I think it's small children's program might have been more personalized and the right solution, but I thought Disney was the safer bet. Oh well...I guess after 19 years I should trust my own instincts! Candyce had mentioned the food was not so good on Disney....

Please feel free to stay in touch on email. I am not currently working on Radisson, but with a few hotels. I think your name sounds familiar too! May I ask where you were before cruisemates.com? I never forget a name or face!

Best wishes,

Sharon Pomerantz
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