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  #1 (permalink)  
Old January 28th, 2005, 06:33 PM
Mike Newburger
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Default Tortola to Virgin Gorda

Hi gang,

I've been on a few HAL previous cruises, and wanted to know if anyone had done the t rip from Tortola to Virgin Gorda 'independently' vs. going through the normal cruise tour. From what i've read from reviews that you can certainly get their on your own for a bit less vs. doing a package booking with HAL and enjoy the rocks and sights.
Any comments on this would be appreciated. We're going on the 3/19 cruise to tortola, St.. Thomas and Half Moon Key.

Newie
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Old January 30th, 2005, 08:25 AM
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Default Re: Tortola to Virgin Gorda

We did an independently-booked daysail from Tortola with a stop at Virgin Gorda for the Baths. www.patouche.com This was in 11/04 while on our Zuiderdam cruise.

Just beware...
When booking and receiving docs from HAL, port times were 7A-6P
Embarkation day showed the schedule for the week... Tortola port times were 7A-5P (knocking off an hour in the afternoon)
Actual day we arrived after St Thomas... could start getting off ship at 8:15 (not 7A)
So in our case we had an hour knocked off of each end of the day, rushing us for a 9-4 daysail. Not sure why we arrived late from St Thomas since we had left on time.

Patouche was a great day. There are some pics of our day here: www.cmgoddard.com (click on Cruises top left) They took a max of 16 passengers and you get 10% off by booking early. We do a daysail on each cruise so this was our daysail for this specific cruise. Walking distance from dock (go past ferry dock - maybe a 20-30 minute walk from ship depending on your pace)

Also, FYI...
St Thomas had also been shortened... 8A-midnight when booking in June, then it became 8A-11P, and then later it became 8A-9P by the time we received our docs. Also, vinow.com showed docking at Crown Bay, then embarkation day info had "tendering". Fortunately on our day at sea after HMC it was announced that we would indeed be at Crown Bay. Arriving at 8A we just barely made the 9A ferry out of Red Hook because disembarkation ran a little late even though we cleared immigration at 7:35 (you can also take the downtown ferry but we had things booked in Cruz Bay to get to as soon as we could)
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Old February 1st, 2005, 04:23 PM
JaniceB
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Default Re: Tortola to Virgin Gorda

Mike,
Are you sailing on the Zaandam? I am sailing on the Zaandam 3/19. We are going to do the baths on our own. I found a review on Cruise Critic about Tortola, what ferry to use ect. Since we are scheduled to be in port until 11pm, I figured it would be safe and much cheaper. I think the ferry round trip was $30 a person. Let me know if you need more information and I will find the review for you.
Janice
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Old February 1st, 2005, 07:04 PM
Mike Newburger
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Default Re: Re: Tortola to Virgin Gorda

Hi Janice,

Well, guess what....we're on the same cruise date together!! I found in a reader's review alot more info. on doing the trip on your own vs. doing it with the cruise company. A good friend just came back from a 10 day jazz cruise on HAL and they did the Tortola/Virgin Gorda run with the ship's package, and she thought it was about $65 p/p. I know it's a bit less expensive on your own. Thanks for the information, and stay in touch!
Cheers,

Mike
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Old February 2nd, 2005, 03:08 PM
JaniceB
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Default Re: Re: Re: Tortola to Virgin Gorda

Good luck planning your trip and maybe we will run into each other on the ship. We are planning on a daysail in St. Thomas. I have booked us on the Winnifred. I had read a review about her and thought it sounded great. This is one reason we are doing Tortola/The Baths on our own, the cost was $110 a person for the daysail, but it includes food, drinks and snorkel gear with a guide. I visited Tortola and Virgin Gorda 17 years ago. I am sure the islands have changed, but we toured on our own then and it was very easy. Cruise ships didn't come to the islands, so they were very undeveloped. I think we will do the Baths in the morning and then head back to Tortola and find a beach where we can watch the sunset and have dinner. There is a very nice restaurant on a hill in Tortola. I think it is called the Top of the Mountain. We ate there when I first visted. It was very elegant at that time, a 7 course meal if I remember correctly.
Janice
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Old February 2nd, 2005, 03:28 PM
Ron W
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Tortola to Virgin Gorda

Hi Janice and Mike,

My family and I will be one the Zaandam on 3/19 also. Its our first cruise on HA after other adventures on Carnival, Norwegian, and Celebrity. We are really looking forward to it. Janice- how did you book the sail boat? Do either of you have kids that will be on the ship?

Ron
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Old February 2nd, 2005, 10:11 PM
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Default Re: Tortola to Virgin Gorda

We will be on the same Zaandam sailing. I have read that the walk to the ferry is only 5 min. and the ferry roundtrip is only 20.00 with a 5.00 taxi fee added. We plan to do that with either Speedy's or Smith's as you are (supposedly) more flexible with return times. We have plenty of time with the port stop - it gives us time to goof off as well. Anyhow - hope to meet you on ship. My DH and 3 children, 9, 12, and 13 as well.
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Old February 2nd, 2005, 10:18 PM
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Default Re: Tortola to Virgin Gorda

oops, I got sidetracked by the Bathes! I'm sorry I don't have much info on sailboats besides they run around $55.00 1/2 day per person. I started looking into it and discovered the best snorkling on our cruise happens on St Thomas. We will be taking a taxi and doing that
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Old February 3rd, 2005, 07:25 AM
JaniceB
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Tortola to Virgin Gorda

This is our fist HAL cruise, also. Our group includes my DH, DD age 14 and DD age 16. I found alot of reviews under cruisecritics.com and booked my daysail on a recommendation from them. There are alot of websites for daysails. I found some by researching the Virgin Islands. The one we booked is www.sailwinifred.com. This boat only holds 6 people, but if she is full the captains all know each other and make recommendations. My sister used to live in St Croix and teach sailing at the Annapolis Sailing School there. She said this would be a great adventure and keep you away from the crowds in St. Thomas. I also found daysails at www.b-v-i.com for Tortola. There are also some reviews on these daysails at cruisecritic.com. It looks like they take you to the baths and some other places.
Feel free to email me for any more information. I have placed all the sites I found on my favorites and I have found many pictures of the Zaandam from travelers web pages. Of course the ship will look a little different when we board her because of the new improvements that were just added in January. HAL calls them the Signature of Excellence improvements.
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