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Ferry advice from St. Thomas

Massachusetts
3 posts
2 reviews
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Ferry advice from St. Thomas

Hi,

We are coming to St. John for the first time and are so excited! We land in St. Thomas (as everyone does) and are just wondering about the ferries to St. John. Is one port better than the other? We are heading to Westin with lots of bags and three kids in tow, but opted not to take their shuttle as it seemed so much more expensive than doing it ourselves. Also, if we are planning to rent a car, are there car rental agencies near where the ferry disembarks, or are we better off taking a cab to the hotel and renting the car later?

Thanks,

Jana

Hudson Valley,NY
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363 posts
5 reviews
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1. Re: Ferry advice from St. Thomas

Which ferry to take depends on a few things. Would you rather take a 45 minute taxi ride to RH,then a 15 minute ferry, or a 5-10 minute taxi to CA,then a 45 minute ferry. The taxis are large vans that wait to fill up with passengers before they leave the airport,so keep that in mind. On STJ, most of the car rental places are just a short stroll from the ferry dock. Hope this helps.

Boston
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55 posts
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2. Re: Ferry advice from St. Thomas

I agree with the previous post. It all depends on which you would prefer. I tend to like the ferry out of C.A. rather than R.H. The taxi ride is so much shorter. With regard to car rentals, you could try Courtesy, Cool Breeze or St John Car Rental. However, if possible, try not to rent from Conorad Sutton. They are difficult to deal with and down right rude. Mrs. Sutton actaully swore at a member of our party when we called to ask a simple question.

Germantown, WI
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83 posts
11 reviews
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3. Re: Ferry advice from St. Thomas

With three kids (I have three myself) and all the luggage in tow, I would choose to rent a 4 wheel drive vehicle from St.Thomas airport and take the car ferry over to St.John. Renting on St.Thomas seems less expensive than renting on St.John. I checked both. And it seems easier to get the vehicle right away rather than having to load and unload from taxis on both ends. (And tip everyone who handles the bags.) The passenger ferry also now charges $3 per bag. All your luggage stays in the vehicle on the car ferry with no extra charge for luggage.

There are only two advantages I see to renting on St.John. One, if the car breaks down the rental place is on the island that you are staying. Two, is that most of the car rental places on St.John allow you to park in their lot in Cruz Bay. Finding parking in Cruz Bay seems to be a problem for people.

I think I would take a chance that the car won't break down and that I will find parking in Cruz Bay vs paying extra money and moving my luggage that many times.

I think this link to the ferry schedule from another Virgin Islands travel board will help you.

www.vinow.com/general_usvi/interisland_ferry/

If you decide to rent from the St.Thomas airport check with the rental car place because all of them do not allow you to take the vehicle to St.John. Hertz does not Budget does. Budget's internet rate is also much lower than when calling over the phone for a reservation.

Have fun with the kids. My sweet mother-in-law is watching ours.

Lexington, KY
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2 posts
27 reviews
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4. Re: Ferry advice from St. Thomas

I agree about renting on St. Thomas as opposed to St. John.

A 4WD is a must to see much of St. John. In June '06 we rented a lockable hard-top Jeep Wrangler from Amalie Car Rental (www.amaliecar.com) for $375 for 6 days. This was the only rental agency that advertised hard-tops. The Constantins are pleasant to deal with and bring the vehicle to you at the airport. Mr. Constantin said he replenishes his 25-vehicle fleet annually. The only negative was that I was charged $19 for bringing the Jeep back with 3/4 tank of gas. Admittedly this was in the contract, but it was sitting on 3/4 tank when I picked it up. Check your fuel level before embarking and have the rental agent make note of it on the contract!

Renting a vehicle at the airport is convenient in decreasing baggage handling, but it requires you to drive to Red Hook for the car barge. This is perhaps the worst-run operation I've encountered. There is no sign marking the dock, so have a map handy and drive slowly through the village of Red Hook. Once there, quickly ascertain whether all 3 barges are running. There are no information signs anywhere, nor any designated parking lanes/queues. If there is a barge sitting empty, chances are that it has mechanical problems and another one will probably dock next to it within 45 minutes. As soon as possible, ask one of the attendants where to line up, and back your vehicle into place. Long story short, we waited over 2 hours in the hot sun for a 15 minute ferry ride.

Fortunately, the operation on the St. John side is much smoother. Don't wait for the last scheduled barge from St. John when returning to the airport. You may not get on due to a larger than average waiting line or a barge break-down, or you may get bumped for the many large service vehicles that constantly travel between the islands. Also, barge refueling can take forever. Plus, you need to leave time for refueling your vehicle before returning it.