I was wondering about the Champagne Catamaran Sailaway to St. John, whatever you could add that you had'nt allready mentioned in you previous postings.
How much does it cost?
Can you book this trip from the cruise? Or do you have to do it at the island?
My wife and I as well as two other couples are booked for the Grand Princess for 4/01/01 all on the Dolphin deck.
Anyone else booked for this cruise, the same week or otherwise please drop me a line.
Thank you !!!
I can't comment on the Champagne Catamaran yet but I'll let you know in about a month. We're sailing on the Grand Princess on Jan. 7. It costs $96. I booked it online at the Princess website. I've heard some people complain about the web site booking but I was pleased. I'm not sure how fast it fills up, but Princess lets you pre-book your excursions and many do fill up. The America's Cup Regatta in St. Maarten being one.
If you are more beach bums than sailors, take the ferry to St. John, rent a car, and head to an isolated beach. Be sure to grab a bite to eat in Cruz Bay. There's not much else on the island. I think Cinnamon Bay has a snack bar but that's about it. We may change our mind and try this but the convenience of the excursion is nice and I've heard many good things about the Champagne Catamaran.
Princess offers the "Champagne Catamaran Sailaway to St. John" is shore excursion "R" at St. Thomas, so you will find the official description in your shore excursion book, and you have to book it through the shore excursion office aboard the ship. The catamaran "Heavenly Days" belongs to a private resort which does offer unsold spaces to the resort's guests, but it's not otherwise available on the beach. The price is $96 for adults -- and it's worth every penny of that figure!
Let's not discourage people from a sailing experience. Every dedicated sailor had a "first time" when he/she discovered his/her love for sailing!
As to going to a beach on St. John, I'm not persuaded that your alternative approach provides any advantage whatsoever. You have to take a taxi to Red Hook to get the ferry, then you have to take a taxi to your beach of choice on St. John -- a double connection guaranteed to waste some time unless you get very lucky -- and, as you point out, you have to handle the logistics of meals, etc., on your own. You also have to allow plenty of time to make connections on the return trip. Thus, I doubt that the taxi/ferry/taxi approach would provide any more actual time at the beach.
I didn't say it would be easy but we've been to St. Thomas/St. John many times. We know our way around the islands. I've also done my research on car rental and isolated beaches on St. John. I bet if I get off the boat at 7 in St. Thomas I can be on a beach by 9:30 on St. John. Taxi to Red Hook, 8:00 ferry to Cruz Bay, get a car and some lunch and be on our way. All that is dependant on getting off the ship at 7:00. I'm not sure how fast we can get off the boat.
I booked the tour on your glowing recommendation and we'll probably still do it for the convenience and pampering. I'm not saying we won't have a good time. I'm just going to wait and see if we a little more seclusion rather than being w/a large group all day.
There are advantages and disadvantages to each option. We'll have to determine which way to get to St. John. Simplicity and freedom vs. everything you want and a set schedule. Honestly, we'll probably stick with the pampering. :^)
Sorry for the delayed reply. I have been visiting my godson and his parents in Golden, Colorado for the past week. Unfortunately, I can't get there by cruise ship.
I'm also sorry if I "stepped on your toes" regarding the taxi-ferry-taxi/rental car routine. It was not my intent to ruffle feathers. That's certainly a viable option for those who know their way around the Virgin Islands. Unfortunately, most of us are not in that category. I prefer to stick with the seemless package that will provide a good mix of pampering and adventure while taking me to the best that the islands have to offer.
When you board the catamaran Heavenly Days, please say "hi" to Stephanie (the "hostess") for me. I'm the guy with the beard and no mustache who visited for the second time on the 8th of November. :-)