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blue_water

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  1. Yes those port times are always a challenge when it comes to a beach choice, especially when other ships arrive before you. The VInow schedule below shows just 2 “smaller” ships in port (small in comparison to the SOS), with 1 arriving just before you. So between your fellow passengers and those from the Fantasy the popular beaches will be pretty busy, with Gem passengers arriving later. Oct. 6th – Wednesday DISNEY FANTASY – 2,500 PassengersWICO (6:45 AM – 4:15 PM) NORWEGIAN GEM – 2,394 PassengersWICO (11:00 AM – 7:00 PM) SYMPHONY OF THE SEAS – 5,518 PassengersCB (7:00 AM – 4:00 PM) The other ships are docked in Havensight, and many of those passengers along with many from your ship will be piling into Magens Bay and Coki Beach. Sapphire and Secret Harbor will also see many day visitors. Also, the “Secret Sands” ship excursion to Smith Bay Park is a popular option for folks who don’t want to go on their own, but beach time is limited, and it is so easy to get to a beach on your own on STT… You are docked in Crown Bay and some fellow passengers will go to Lindbergh Bay (aka Emerald Beach) because it is so close, and the Emerald Resort rents lounges/umbrellas and has a restaurant and beach bar. Having said all that 😅- Our favorite beach is Sapphire and with the25 - 30 minute/$11/pp taxi each way you have time to enjoy 4 hours there. But if you want something closer Lindbergh Bay is a good choice, and Long Bay is another option if you don’t need as many amenities…You can see an island map showing the port and beach locations in this post, as well as beach descriptions -
  2. Sure…Our choice would be Sapphire, many prefer that for snorkeling, we just like it because it’s so nice…
  3. The sargasso has been mild to heavy throughout the Caribbean this season, really no way of telling. Magens is a bit more protected, as is Secret Harbor. Of the two, for snorkeling Secret Harbor. Other good options include Sapphire and Coki…Your taxi driver can give you a good idea of the situation that day.
  4. An older post with descriptions of the popular beaches. Some info needs to be updated since the hurricanes of 2018 it a good comparison - For the first-timer - and even a return visitor - there are indeed a ton of opinions about the various beaches, and we too are certainly biased in our rankings. But each beach has a unique or distinctive vibe or setting that can help one choose based on their situation that day. Some are located near a port while some take much more effort to get to but reward that effort. The East End beaches of St Thomas are preferred by many who are looking for the nicest beach on STT. These include Coki, Smith's Bay, Sapphire, Secret Harbor, and Cowpet Bay (Coki and Smith's Bay are actually on the north side but are on the east end of the island). But others are also very nice and may work best if you have limited time or just want a nice beach to relax at that is closer to port and may be less crowded. And of course the beaches of St John are also gorgeous and should be experienced when possible. Trunk Bay, like Magens Bay, is highly-touted and so a bit touristy most days, but Cinnamon Bay and others less frequented are also beautiful. For St Thomas - Coki Point is a gorgeous beach set in a very small bay with good snorkeling off the beach. You'll find one of the nicest beaches you've seen here, but it will have a lively vibe as it gets very crowded. Several vendors renting stuff and selling food and drink. Taxis are readily available. We love Coki and find it a very intimate and romantic beach when ships are not in port. Smith's Bay Park and Lindqvist Beach is a beautiful, maintained beach (both Smith's Bay Park and Magens Bay are maintained by the Magens Bay Authority and charge a small entry fee) but is much quieter and offers very few amenities. Here you would find natural beauty and relative quiet that you might have expected to see decades ago and not today. Grab your towel and a lunch and drinks from Gourmet Gallery and enjoy the beauty while it's still here. Rather cruise ship “Secrets Sands” excursions go here… Sapphire Beach is a gorgeous beach in a larger bay with abundant natural shade, nice island views and great snorkeling off the beach. There is a reef area, a sandy swimming area, and a sea grass area where turtles and rays may be spotted. Home to 3 condo properties with food and drink options, chair rentals and public restrooms. Gorgeous beach! Secret Harbor is a small bay that is home to one condo property, the water is dead calm at SH and there is no shade available to most day visitors. Good snorkeling and a restaurant on site and nice beach though. Cowpet Bay is very close to Secret Harbor and is home to the Elysian Resort (condo resort) with a small beach and snorkeling. Primarily suited to guests of the condo but still a public beach. Magens is on the north side and is a deep bay with a a nice, calm beach that's maintained (small entry fee) and is touted as one of the top 10 beaches in the Carib by Frommer's, cruise ships, etc. It has that rating for a reason, and it sees many people and so is touristy. No snorkeling here, and for some folks Magens doesn't have the charm or character some of the other beaches do. But it is a beautiful beach that is great for toddlers and kids because it is so dead calm, and it offers restrooms, small restaurant, a gift shop and available taxis. Lindbergh Bay (aka Emerald Beach) is closest to Crown Bay and is a popular beach for folks docking there. A nice enough beach with rentals and food and drinks available at the Best Western Emerald Beach Plus Resort. You can also rent a room for the day to take advantage of a shower and changing room. Nice option if Magens and the East End beaches are too much effort. Honeymoon Beach on Water Island is another popular destination for folks docked at Crown Bay because the ferry to Water Island is very close. This beach has become very popular however and gets crowded during the day. Morningstar Beach is currently closed… Hopefully not confusing the choices even more! And here's a map showing the beach locations for those not familiar with the island, just click on the map for a larger view - http://www.virginislandsthisweek.com..._road_map.html
  5. “Secret Sands” is a ship excursion to Smith Bay Park (Lindqvist Beach), while Secret Harbor is one of the other East End beaches and home to the Secret Harbour Resort. You can go to any of the beaches on your own via taxi ($9 - $11/pp each way). Smith Bay Park is managed by the Magens Bay Authority and Lindqvist is arguable the most gorgeous beach on the island. Until 2006 it was relatively unknown except to those few who ventured there. There is a $2/pp admittance fee if you go on your own, with the Secret Sands excursion the admittance fee is included, along with lounges and drinks if I remember, no other facilities there except public restrooms. Secret Harbor is a popular beach destination for day visitors, like Coki and Sapphire Beach. AA Divers rents lounges and umbrellas…
  6. Magens is a beautiful, calm beach and one of the most hyped beaches in the Caribbean, like Trunk Bay on STJ. We just find it a little boring, but others consider it their favorite beach. We love to stop at Drake’s Seat to see Magens from above, and the view of the north shore from Mountain Top is gorgeous. We love Sapphire for its character with the different shades of blue and sapphire, nice island views, and great snorkeling . But we are biased toward Sapphire after staying there a couple times. 😊 I think a stop at Mountain Top for that view would be worthwhile, then if snorkeling isn’t a priority just head to Magens and back to CA. You could actually find almost anything at MT you would find in town, although you should spend a little time to see the streets in town and grab a lunch. You could see Sapphire next visit… But you can also taxi to Sapphire, and hire a taxi to take you from Sapphire back to town via Skyline Drive where you could stop at the overlook and Drake’s Seat before dropping into CA. Your driver may return for you and offer that option, or you can inquire at the port when you arrive…
  7. That itinerary (Mountain Top, Magens and CA) is the typical cookie cutter tour offered by the group tour operators, a little time at the store, the beach, and a drop off in town. i don’t know about a $25/pp taxi tour on STT, I know that is an option on STJ. Per the vinow dot com site, you can hire a taxi by the hour, or for a private tour. A 3 hour tour would give you time to see MT, and maybe spend a couple hours at Magens before getting dropped in town. Hourly Rates (1-4 passengers): Sedan/Mini Van $40; Van/Safari (14 passenger capacity) $55; Safari $80. Rates for additional passengers will be negotiated between the taxi operator and passengers. Sightseeing Tours: 2 hours – One passenger $50; two or more passengers $25 per person. 3 hours – One passenger $60; two or more passengers $30 per person. There is really no snorkeling at Magens because it is a mostly sandy bottom. The east end beaches (Coki, Sapphire, Secret Harbor) would be better choices for snorkeling. If a nice beach w/ snorkeling is something you want you could just taxi to Coki or Sapphire, then go into town,mand perhaps stop at Paradise Point if that is open… Where are you docked? Or what ship are you on?
  8. Yes I try and follow the releases from the individual cruise lines but it’s been like Whac - a Mole and I can see how it is frustrating…
  9. Couldn’t agree more Scott, we had the same experience on our one visit there. We find the same wonderful people and culture in the Riviera Maya, one of the main reasons we always returned and eventually built a home there…
  10. Current schedule - http://www.waterislandferry.com/ The STT forum on TripAdvisor is also a great resource if you need quick feedback from a resident…
  11. Their contact info was provided above, I would call or email for the latest info since COVID-19 has changed how businesses do business…
  12. The day pass was something more that included the use of a room for the day, many families enjoyed having a room to change and shower…
  13. Let me clarify…They rent lounge/umbrella rentals (and possibly rooms). You can use the public area of the beach and enjoy the restaurant and beach bar whether you are renting lounges, staying at the hotel, or just stopping in. Same as at Sapphire, except there is a restaurant at the Emerald, and they rent umbrellas…Of course Sapphire is incredibly beautiful while Lindbergh is nice…
  14. Yes you are so right about the distinction between getting back to the ship and just getting back to your nearby home. And you are definitely not a jerk, I hope I didn’t come off that way! 😄I We do love having a home in the Riviera Maya but we also enjoy cruising. We started our Caribbean discovery 20+ years ago by cruising and it is a great way to easily experience several Caribbean nations. We’ve only cruised 9 times though, mainly because we started returning to many of the destinations on land vacations and our favorite place here in Mexico. So as a result, we’ve not visited any cruise destination more than a few times and we still have more to see everywhere. But I can see doing this bar hop for fun, especially if you’ve already experienced the “real” island and people on prior visits. I know many who have been to a port multiple times choose to stay on the ship when returning and that makes sense too. But we’d be like you and want to at least do something! And yes c-leg5 we too have always enjoyed seeing the areas away from the busier areas and meeting the people and experiencing their culture. The wonderful people here and their culture are THE reason we chose to retire here. Enjoy your cruising, we hope to be doing the same soon! 🤗
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