St. John via St. Thomas (USVI)

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04 November 2018 – Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas (USVI)
for additional photos, please visit our St. Thomas – Photo Gallery

“Design your own perfect day in St. Thomas with private ferry transfer to Cruz Bay, St. John. Board your private ferry and enjoy your own island paradise day. You’ll have over two hours to explore and enjoy St. John’s pristine beaches, breathtaking sights, and charming boutiques. Your scenic Caribbean ferry will take you past the hidden coves, hotels, and luxury villas of the incredible southern coast. Learn about the island’s natural and cultural history as you pass key landmarks. Then, in Cruz Bay, St. John’s island paradise is yours. Snorkel or swim in the crystal-clear waters of Trunk Bay. Unwind, relax, and bask on the pristine beach. Or, if you wish, explore an archeological site, browse the local boutiques, or sample the delicious island flavors. Discover St. John’s historic landmarks, incredible scenery, and wonderful shopping. The island is two-thirds national park, offering many opportunities to enjoy nature.”

We chose this excursion as Celebrity now docks at Crown Bay vs. Havenstock (near Red Hook) and we did not want to go through the hassle of taxi transfers from Crown Bay to Red Hook (and back).  The Celebrity excursion for a moderate price offered a return ticket via their private ferry from Crown Bay (St. Thomas) to Cruz Bay (St. John).  The upside was that it was a fair price (better with the 20% pre-cruise flash sale) and that it departed right from Crown Bay.  The downside was that you only had ~ 2 hours on St. John, so time was limited and had to be carefully planned (although, note that if you miss the Celebrity private ferry, you could get back via the public ferry to Red Hook and then taxi back to Crown Bay).

All Celebrity excursions gathered in the Celebrity Theatre and we waited for our number to be called.  There were three (3) excursions in total going to St. John – DIY (us) and a couple of guided tours.  We had good sailing conditions for the crossing and we all departed in good, orderly fashion.    The boat, “Island Girl” was a private ferry charter and had plenty of room for all the guests.  The crew offered informative commentary as we made the 20 minute (or so) crossing from one island to the other.

Our ferry trip was very smooth (despite the wind and light dust of rain) and we entered the calm waters of Cruz Bay, sprinkled with sailboats, in good fashion.

Cruz Bay, St. John

Our personal plan was to first go to the USVI National Park Visitor Centre to acquire maps/information/directions to Lind Point Trail, as we wanted to go to the Cruz Bay Outlook (and potentially spot birds along the way!).    The visitor centre was located right at the harbour where we were dropped off and couldn’t be any easier to get to!

Bobby Baskey & National Park Customer Service, with a smile!

Lind Point trail was located quite close to the Visitor Centre and the most difficult part of the trail was the beginning, where you had to climb a set of stairs and a small, steep incline.  After that, the trail was fairly straight forward and easy to navigate.  Signs were clear along the way, guiding the walker to either the Lower or the Upper Trails – noting only the “Upper Trail” goes to the Overlook.

There were a few walkers that we met along the trail and it seemed like all of them were going to the beach (Solomon and Honeymoon beaches are accessible via this trail).  We were the only ones that took the diversion to Cruz Bay Outlook and remained to be the only ones at the outlook for the entire time we spent there.   The outlook is a small area with one bench to rest upon, but offered a beautiful view of the Bay.

Lind Point Outlook Trail Rest Area

Lind Point Outlook to Cruz Bay

After taking in the beautiful view and the quietude of the outlook, we returned via the way we came and descended back down towards the Visitor Centre.

Although we did not “see” any birds along the trail, they taunted us with their chirps and shrills throughout the hike.   Never the less, we enjoyed the plants and flowers along the way and enjoyed this peaceful and relaxing hike within the National Park forest of St. John.

When we return to the harbour area, a stoic Great Egret posed in front of the National Park sign and we also observed Pearly Eyed Thrashers, Lesser Antillean Bullfinches, and Zenaida Doves.  As we sailed out of the harbour, a belted kingfisher swooped across the bay!

Celebrity Cruises – Private Charter Ferry – the “Island Girl”

Our return to St. Thomas was equally enjoyable and we were escorted by the local Brown Boobies who entertained us with their impeccable gliding skills.  On the return trip, the crew again offered commentary as well as they opened up the “cash bar” where you could purchase refreshments for the return trip.

Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster) entertaining the Island Girl Ferry’s Guests
Returning back to Crown Bay after an awesome morning in St. John

Near the dock, a few iguanas posed for last minute pictures for tourists: