My wife and I are sailing on the Westerdam October 14 and was wondering if we can disembark in St. John when the ship makes it service call. We do not have an excursion booked for St. John through HAL but would like to do some diving.
They have a "rule" that only passengers on excursions can disembark, that is because the excursion actually gets you back to St Thomas where the ship will pick the passengers up. If you do get off in St John you are responsible for getting yourself back to St. Thomas. How hard is that? not hard at all, there is a ferry that runs between the two islands several times a day. However, it is a long ferry ride (up to an hour) AND it leaves you a decent taxi ride away from Charlotte Amalie where the ship will be docked -- add another 20 minutes and $10.
Is it worth it? Many people say it is - however it is easier to just book a ship excursion. If you really want to go on your own I suggest talking to the shore excursion desk first and explaining that you know about the ferry and getting back to the ship and you are willing to take responsibility for yourself.
Pretty sure that if you don't have an excersion booked you can't get off, but you may be able to ask someone on board about getting off. If not, its really easy to catch the ferry at "Red Hook" and get there. Good luck and don't miss St. John's, its worth the effort to get there, enjoy the cruise.
Paul, the Cruz Bay/Red Hook ferry is only $3 and takes 20 minutes. Runs hourly and really a pleasant ride. Taxi to pier was only like 20 minutes and I think we paid $4 ea for a full load. St John certainly gets my vote and will spend the day there next month while on Century. Truely a pic post card come to life.
Thanks - I chose to speak conservatively... I don't want anyone missing the ship because I made it sound too easy ;-)
I would check the hours of operation as soon as I got to St John, if it is 20 minutes one way that means 40-50 minutes round trip, so if you just missed a departure you could be waiting 45 minutes for it to return and then have to endure that 20 minute ride to St. Thomas: total = over 1 hour. Then you add in the taxi ride, too and it could be 1 1/2 hours from the time you decided to leave St. John until you reach the ship.
Was on Maasdam in April. Purchased tender tickets, $8, to go ashore at St. John from shore excursion office, even though it was not advertised anywhere.
Made for a nice day. Watch ferry schedules. Ferry will either go to Red Hook, but then its 30 minutes and another $10. Or ferry will go straight to Charlotte Amalie and will drop you at cruise ship pier, far more convienent. But both ferries operate at different times, so be sure you get the right one.
Gave us plenty of time at Trunk Bay in St. John and even time to do the requisite shopping at Havensight Mall at the cruise ship pier.
Ferry schedule can be had at the U.S. Virgin Islands web site.