St. Thomas St. John Snorkel/Sail Excursion Reviews
St Thomas and St John are beautiful. By far the best place we stopped. We took the St. John Snorkel tour on the Champagne Cat Catamaran. The crew was awesome and the snorkeling great. saw some parrotfish and many many others. Wife saw a sea turtle but I missed that one :(.... Overall a great tour I highly recommend !!!!!
I enjoyed it but for $99 we didn't even get any food or drink which I thought was a bit much. The reef was OK but I have seen better. It was fairly congested so you had to watch out you didn't bump into anybody. There were no beds or umbrellas it was lay your towel on the sand and be done with it which was nice as it made the experience much better in such a beautiful place. There are facilities there for food and drink but it's expensive.
This was the best. Catamaran sail & snorkel to St. John's Honeymoon beach. Most beautiful sand & water I've ever experienced. The crew was the best. Very eager to please & help all aboard enjoy their experience. Captain Alex (22 yrs old!), Mickey & Brandon. Can't say enough good things about them. Made sure we all had a great time, including the bottomless drinks & snacks on the way back! Best excursion.
Our private excursion in St. Thomas was one of the best I've ever had during a cruise. After researching various websites, I determined that a day sail on the yacht Nightwind was just the ticket. Nightwind is a 57 foot yacht, which operates out of Sapphire Marina on the east end of St. Thomas. Four other cruisers from our Roll Call also elected to join us. Bill, one of our members, arranged a private van to get us to the marina and back. This was a tender port for us because so many other cruise ships were in port this day, including Breakaway. In this case, tendering wasn't such a bad deal because one can actually get to downtown much quicker than debarking at the pier. The ship moored quite close to downtown and it was a very short tender ride. We met at Magnum's on Deck Six at 7:30. Luckily everyone in our group had priority tender tickets, which is a perk for both Suites and Platinum . . . or attractive single women who can charm them from the staff. This enabled us to be on the first tender a little after eight. Our van driver was waiting for us with a signboard identifying himself. When he met us he let us know that Nightwind had suffered a mechanical problem and our charter had been handed off to another yacht. At first we were a bit concerned but we soon learned we had nothing to worry about. We were placed in the capable hands of Captain Ron Arens and his first mate, Carol King, of the yacht Alaunt. Alaunt is a beautiful and rare Gallant 53, only a few feet shorter than Nightwind. We would receive the same services and itinerary we'd already chartered, for the same price. The only difference, really, is that Captain Ron limits his charters to only six customers, while Nightwind will take up to sixteen.
We were ferried, three at a time, out to the yacht, which was moored in the small bay. After we were all aboard, we received a safety briefing and were given a rundown of what we could expect for the day. Shortly after that we slipped our mooring and were headed toward St. John. It was another gorgeous day, with relatively calm seas, and a nice breeze. Because of the breeze, we would have to tack a couple of times to reach our destination. As we sailed, Ron gave us a guided tour of the area, pointing out what celebrities owned which island and talked about the history of the area. Meanwhile, first mate Carol plied us with fresh fruit, freshly baked banana-nut bread, and endless champagne, wine, beer, rum punch, Mimosas, soft drinks, and plain old boring water. Oh, and in case you're worried, the yacht does have a head.
About forty-five minutes later we moored a couple of hundreds yards off the beach of St. John. Ron provides all of the snorkeling equipment, including snorkeling vests or noodles. All of the equipment is first rate in excellent condition. The water temperature was around 78 degrees and both Sarah and I wore O'Neil insulated rash guard shirts. These provided the right amount of warmth, buoyancy, and SPF 50 sun protection. I could have spent all day in the water. The snorkeling was excellent, with a wide variety of rays, turtles, and various reef fish present. Visibility underwater was very good, too.
We swam around for about an hour before it was time for lunch. Ron owned a restaurant in St. Thomas for over twenty years and is a first-class chef. Our lunch consisted of jerk chicken, rice and beans, and a salad, followed by chocolate chip cookies. And of course, the ever-present rum punch, beer, wine, etc. I highly recommend the Dominican beer, El Presidente. It was quite good.
After lunch we sailed across to nearby Great St. James Island and moored in Christmas Cove for more snorkeling, for those of us who weren't in a food and rum punch coma already. The snorkeling here was even better than at St. John, with more turtles, rays, and cousins of Nemo. The highlight was a large Spotted Eagle Ray, which has an enormously long tail and propels itself through the water much like a bird flapping its wings. Another ray and turtle were sitting side by side on the ocean bottom, as if waiting to have a drag race. My money's on the ray. We were probably in the water for about 45 minutes.
After we were all back aboard, we slipped our mooring and headed back across Pillsbury Sound to St. Thomas, getting back on shore around 3:45. The cost per person for the excursion was $125 per person, with a $10 reduction if paid in cash. Ron honored that price, but we all gave him the full fare and more for such an outstanding day.
Our van was waiting for us and we were back in downtown Charlotte Amalie at 4:15, an hour before the last tender, giving us plenty of time to wander through the tourist shops in that area. The cost of the van was $20 PP, roundtrip.
This was a terrific excursion, one of the very best we've ever experienced. We can't wait to return to St. Thomas and do it again. I highly recommend it.
Took a boat ride to Trunk Bay on St. Johns. Unfortunately, the sea weed was so over abundant and covered the beach and had a foul smell to it. I think it ruined our experience.
This excursion was a lot of fun. We were taken to the bay where we were met by the Captain of the Champagne Cat. He took us to the Catamaran where we were introduced to the crew - Mike and Mickie. We then boarded the Catamaran, received some information regarding the boat and we were off to St. John. Even though it rained on us for most of the trip, we still had a good time. Once we reached St. John and dropped anchor, we got off the boat and into the water we went. There was ample time to snorkel, swim or spend time on the beach, which was for the most part empty. On the return to St. Thomas, there was food and drink, lots of fun and a fashion show by Mike. The return trip was sunny and enjoyable. I would definitely do this excursion again. The Catamaran had steps down the middle that allowed you to actually walk into/out of the water. Great for those of us with bad knees. After snorkeling, Mickie was nice enough to wash off our gear which we had brought with us. The gear offered by the Champagne Cat was high quality and well taken care of, as was the entire Catamaran.
We booked the St John Champagne Snorkel and found that it was great! The staff was excellent, and if we recall correctly their names were Joe, Sara, and Kenny. All three were very funny, helpful, and seemed very experienced, you could tell they really enjoyed their jobs. The waters were beautiful, extremely salty, and one of our family members even saw an octopus and possibly what was a barracuda! None of the legs were too short or too long, took about thirty minutes to motor over to the bay, we spent an hour snorkelling, and forty minutes sailing back. Endless amount of included alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks on the way back.
The ship departed at 3PM which didn't leave much time for shopping in St Thomas, which is well known for its jewellery.
Great day here on the Champagne Catamaran snorkel/sail tour. The weather was cloudy and the bus ride horrible ...bumpy and a bit scary. After that though we got underway fast. Good safe instruction and well over an hour maybe an hour and a half in the water. Excellent viewing - sea turtles, sting rays and many colorful fish. Gorgeous water one of my best snorkels ever. Not too crowded either. Then we had free flowing drinks and snacks. The crew Mark, Alex and Jen were excellent. Highly recommend this.
A super trip, with one exception. An open tour "bus"/truck and a van hauled 29 of us over to the marina on the other side of the island where we loaded onto a catamaran, sailed to St. Johns, snorkeled, sailed back (with rum punch, champagne etc for those who wanted it), then drove back to the port. All was wonderful and could not have been better except that in the morning at the port the driver of the open bus/truck vehicle: a) loaded 25 of us onto the 20-person vehicle, b) realized that he couldn't get the other four onboard, and then c) called in a 9-person van for those four people. All of this over a 20-25 minute period with no explanation of what he was doing, when we would be going etc. No mention of how long the drive would be, no commentary along the way. I am not sure if he was incompetent or just a total jerk. Fortunately everyone else (the cat crew) were super in all respects and took care of us very well. I would do this trip again but I might just take a taxi over to the marina the next time.
In St. Thomas, we did the snorkeling in Trunk Bay. This was ok, we seemed rushed. By the time we returned to the ship, there was not much time to shop and we weren't told that they close the shops on the beach at Trunk Bay at 3pm. However, there are some shops near the port and we were lucky to pick up some authentic perfumes and colognes for $10 each at a place called Dynasty Dazzlers. They were selling full-size testers. I've spent 10 days in St. Thomas last year and it's very easy to get around with their shuttles, ferries and taxis.
This excursion was fantastic! We were taken to the beach by boat and then bus. The rides seem long; however, we turned it into part of the adventure. Our children love experiencing different modes of transportation; therefore, this part was fine with us. Others were complaining about the amount of time it took to get to the beach itself. Again, it's all on what you get out of each experience!
The beach was breathtakingly beautiful...right out of a magazine. The word paradise is the one I would use to describe it. The snorkeling gear was provided as part of the fee. This excursion was age appropriate for everyone. There was a choice to go deeper into the ocean, and view the reefs and abundance of fish, or to stay closer to shore. There were life guards on duty, and marked areas for safety. We have taken several snorkeling excursions, in the past, which consisted of having to jump off a boat in the middle of the ocean to snorkel. Although those excursions were great, they were not necessarily geared for younger children. This is why this particular excursion was so perfect for our family. My teen daughter and husband went into the deeper end of the ocean, while my 7 year old son and I remained on the shallow end. We were all able to snorkel safely and see hundreds of beautiful fish. Plus, once we were tired of snorkeling, we still had time to enjoy the beautiful beach. This beach also offers a place to eat and showers. The tour guides gave us a 20 minute warning before returning us to the bus. Again, extremely organized and well planned. We also learned much about St. Thomas on the ride to the St. John beach and back.
The entire tour is about 4 1/2 hours long. At first, we thought it would be too short of a time. We were concerned about getting our money's worth. However, it proved to be ample time to enjoy the beach and snorkeling! The guides are very organized and efficient. It turned out to be just long enough in that it gave us time to explore the port area. There are many beautiful shops and places to see. We absolutely loved every minute of this experience!!!
We will return...
We did the St. John Champagne Catamaran Snorkel & Sail and it was a great day. We boarded open bench buses and took a long ride to the marina. I was surprised at the poverty, even at the marina. I've never seen so many boats in such sad condition. The catamaran used for the excursion was in excellent condition, though. The crew members were friendly and professional. It was a hot day and they served plenty of cold water as soon as we boarded. Champagne, rum punch, and juice were included, but I was thrilled that they had water available. Sailing from St. Thomas to St. John gave us a scenic tour of both islands and some smaller nearby islands. The crew members shared island history, points of interest, and their personal experiences of living on the islands. We anchored at Honeymoon Beach, which was picture perfect with white sands and palm trees. It was like something you dream about. The crew provided each of us with flippers, a mask, a snorkel, and a flotation vest that you had the option of blowing up or wearing flat. You're anchored in 30 feet of water and can go right off the ladder, but a few people preferred to be brought to shore on a little inflatable boat. The snorkeling was pretty good. My son and his friends saw some lobsters and we all saw big turtles and plenty of fish. On the return trip home, the crew provided fresh bread, cheese and fruit, along with the drinks. One thing I will mention is that everyone is pushing for a tip, including both bus drivers and the crew. A crew member told us that the majority of their income is from tips and that 15-20% of your excursion cost is appropriate. That would have been $40-$45 for our party of 5, plus additional tips for the bus drivers and I definitely hadn't brought that much cash. They did a nice job and deserved a tip, but I would have preferred to have it factored into the cost of the excursion rather than finding out on the boat when I think I'd only brought $20!
We snorkeled in Trunk Bay on St. Johns. The excursion boat took us into Cruz Bay and from there we embarked into various taxis that took us to the Virgin Islands National Park. There were BRIEF stops at some vistas, but not long enough to get out and take pics, except for the final view of Trunk Bay, and that was barely long enough. We had our own snorkel gear, but the company providing the instruction and loaner gear seemed professional and competent. It is apparent that the reef is under stress, but we still saw many varieties of fish and coral.
This was a nice excursion. The beach at St. John Trunk Bay was absolutely beautiful. The water was so clear that you didn't even need snorkel gear to see the fish. I didn't actually snorkel. A lot of people chose not to snorkel. I hung out at the beach and played in the warm water. We only made two stops where we got out of the bus and took a few photos. Other than that the bus was not much of a tour.
Dan gave great narrative of life on and history of St. Thomas. Very informative and fun.
The snorkeling was fabulous. Beach area was pristine and water was clear and full of beautiful coral and fish to observe along the well laid out trail.
Would go again, any time!
This was a good tour. Organized and enjoyable. The tour guide was knowledgable and wanted to make sure everyone had a good time. I would have marked it with more stars if we had been able to snorkel, but unfortunately it was too windy. I appreciated that the cruise line let us know in advance that we might not be able to snorkel and would have refunded our fees if we had decided not to go. I would recommend this tour to others.
Our shore exc. got canceled last minute because of rough seas,really ? We were not informed until we boarded the ferry to St. John's. Oh well went over any way, took a taxi to the closest beach and then back into the village for chips salsa and triple Margaritas at Margarita Phill's, to drown our sorrows. Very disappointing Princess ...
St. Thomas – we broke from tradition and did a RC excursion. We did a ½ day champagne catamaran snorkel expedition. They take you to St. John to dock off a beach there to snorkel and it’s a great place with lots to see. One note though: although it is billed as a half day snorkel trip you only get to snorkel for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. The trip involves a 40 minute open air bus ride and a 45 minute boat ride each way. The guys who drove the boat were a ton of fun but just be aware of the short snorkel time.
We took the "All inclusive Trunk Bay Snorkel" excursion. Trunk Bay was stunning. The reef is marked, so while snorkeling, you can see what some of the coral and some of the marine life are called, and they are abundant. Keep in mind there are no chairs there, so if you have a hard time getting on and off the ground you might want to reconsider this. There is also no shelter, which wouldn't matter, except that it poured while we were there. Neither of these things would in any way lessen my decision to do this excursion again. There are not showers so you can head back to the St. Thomas ferry clean.
We took this tour so that our son and daughter-in-law could get idea of St. John USVI. They went to a small beach there and we snorkled and swam ashore to lay out some on the beach. During our return back to St. Thomas we were served cheese and bread and choice of beer, champagne or rum punch.
Sailed on the Champagne Cat with Grady, kenny and Mickey! They were so much fun and knew how to host a GREAT party. They really know their stuff about the islands, snorkelling and safety. We miss them already and hope to see them again in the future.
HIGHLY RECOMMEND TAKING THIS TOUR! Nothing like St. John!
Did the boat ride to St. John, the ride along the coast looking at beaches and then a trip to Trunk Bay. Could have skipped the boat ride to look at the beaches and just get the taxi to Trunk Bay. Great beach and snorkeling. After snorkeling, we came back to Cruz bay and went to Woodies, Kenny Chesney's hang-out. Fun place with good, cold beer and we had some very good shark bites.
We did the half day St. John Champagne Sail through the cruise ship. What a great time! There was a nice ride out to honeymoon beach on the catamaran. There was plenty of time to snorkel and/or hang out on the beach. On the way back we had a nice leisurely sail to St. Thomas. They provided cheese, bread, and fruit as well as rum punch and other drinks. I thought it was well worth it.
We did the the excursion to St John's, we had done Maaghan's Bay before. Beautiful beach and great snorkeling!
We sailed with Jester Sails and loved loved loved it! The Capt and his mate were laid back and fun and we just totally enjoyed the day.
St. John Champagne Catamaran Sailaway was great. The crew was fun and knowledgeable.
We took the St John Champagne tour. This was the only excursion I pre-booked.
I have snorkelled in the BVI in the past and hoped this would be of similar quality. The crew was nice and efficient and the time went by very quickly.
Probably about a 3 hr trip when you take off the bus trip to and from the destination. Leaves about an hour in the water, I did see a turtle and various fish but the reef we went to at Caneel Bay wasn't all that great.
There was a strong current you needed to fight against all the way as well.
The snorkeling around Virgin Gorda had been much better.
We took a similar excursion in Cuba last year from Cayo Coco that was better for snorkeling. As promised there was rum punch, Champagne and beer for the return trip.