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Cruises to St. John (U.S.V.I.)

St. John (U.S.V.I.) (Photo:Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)

About St. John (U.S.V.I.)

Less is more on St. John. It's the smallest, quietest, least populated and most secluded of the three U.S. Virgin Islands, where even the residents of neighboring St. Thomas and St. Croix come to get away from it all.

That's not to say there aren't plenty of tourist-friendly beaches (all are open to the public) and frosty blender drinks. Shore excursions run the gamut from snorkeling to eco-hikes. And there's shopping, of course, though truth be told local handicrafts hold their own against mass-produced duty-free goods -- St. John's tranquility has transformed it into an artists' community of sorts, and several have stores in town.

But much of the development is confined to Cruz Bay, St. John's only real town. Otherwise, St. John's unspoiled beauty is its main draw -- the Virgin Islands National Park makes up two-thirds of the island. (The Rockefeller family donated the land in 1956.) Nestled within the park are Trunk Bay and Cinnamon Bay, each offering active pursuits in pristine waters. Sailing, snorkeling and diving are top attractions, though kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and scuba are increasingly popular.

Though the island is only about nine miles long, it takes about an hour to drive from Cruz Bay to the east end along winding roads. St. John rewards those who explore on foot; the island is networked with the national park hiking trails that lead to historical sites and hidden coves. If your ship is docked in St. Thomas, your day spent here will feel like a break from the madding crowds -- and you'll want to return again and again.

  • Why go to St. John (U.S.V.I.)?

  • St. John (U.S.V.I.) Cruise Port Facilities?

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Wind Surf
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Wind Surf

13 Night
Cruise to St. John (U.S.V.I.)Details

241 Reviews
Leaving:Lisbon
Cruise Line:Windstar Cruises
$1,799*pp
$138/night • outside Cabin

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SeaDream II
SeaDream II
SeaDream II

7 Night
Cruise to St. John (U.S.V.I.)Details

Leaving:San Juan
Cruise Line:SeaDream Yacht Club
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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SeaDream II
SeaDream II
SeaDream II

7 Night
Cruise to St. John (U.S.V.I.)Details

Leaving:San Juan
Cruise Line:SeaDream Yacht Club

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SeaDream II
SeaDream II
SeaDream II

7 Night
Cruise to St. John (U.S.V.I.)Details

Leaving:San Juan
Cruise Line:SeaDream Yacht Club
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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SeaDream II

7 Night
Cruise to St. John (U.S.V.I.)Details

Leaving:St. Thomas
Cruise Line:SeaDream Yacht Club
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Wind Surf

14 Night
Cruise to St. John (U.S.V.I.)Details

Leaving:Lisbon
Cruise Line:Windstar Cruises

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SeaDream II

7 Night
Cruise to St. John (U.S.V.I.)Details

Leaving:St. Thomas
Cruise Line:SeaDream Yacht Club
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SeaDream II

7 Night
Cruise to St. John (U.S.V.I.)Details

Leaving:St. Thomas
Cruise Line:SeaDream Yacht Club
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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SeaDream II

6 Night
Cruise to St. John (U.S.V.I.)Details

Leaving:St. Thomas
Cruise Line:SeaDream Yacht Club
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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SeaDream II

8 Night
Cruise to St. John (U.S.V.I.)Details

Leaving:San Juan
Cruise Line:SeaDream Yacht Club
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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SeaDream II

7 Night
Cruise to St. John (U.S.V.I.)Details

Leaving:St. Thomas
Cruise Line:SeaDream Yacht Club
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Why go to St. John (U.S.V.I.)?

Pros:

Island is two-thirds national park, with quiet beaches, hiking trails, snorkel spots and shops

Cons:

Most cruise lines call in nearby St. Thomas; only a few come directly to St. John

Bottom Line:

St. John offers something for everyone without the crowds of other Caribbean islands

St. John (U.S.V.I.) Cruise Port Facilities?

Cruise ships can't dock directly in St. John. If your ship calls at St. John, you'll be anchored and tendered ashore to the National Park dock.

Most cruisers, though, come to St. John by passenger ferry from a cruise ship that is docked in nearby St. Thomas. There are two places on St. Thomas to catch the ferry to St. John. Red Hook is a 15-minute ride (about $6) across the sound from the east end of St. Thomas to Cruz Bay; ferries leave every hour on the hour. Charlotte Amalie is a longer and usually rougher ferry ride that is more limited, schedule-wise; boats leave downtown Charlotte Amalie harbor at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., returning from Cruz Bay at 11:15 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. Plus, that route will run you twice as much.

A multitude of activities and dining opportunities are available within walking distance of the ferry dock in downtown Cruz Bay, a good anchor point. Just east of the dock is Wharfside Village, where you'll find powerboat rentals, grills and bars as well as stone-walled shopping haven Mongoose Junction. Access to the Northshore beaches, such as Trunk Bay and Cinnamon Bay, are a 15-minute taxi ride.

Good to Know?

Hurricane Irma passed over the Virgin Islands in September 2017 and destroyed a huge chunk of the national park in St. John. Before planning to hike or embark on any activity along a beach or in the wilderness, be sure to check with the National Park Service on what's open and safe. Some restaurants and beach concessions are still working to come back, a year later.

Getting Around?

On Foot: The tender or ferry drops you in the heart of eminently walkable Cruz Bay.

By Taxi: Safari (open air) cabs wait at the ferry dock and at the major beaches and hotels. Taxis are generally found at the ferry terminal, where the boats that ply the waters between Charlotte Amalie/Red Hook and St. John tie-up; it's about a five-minute walk from the tender dock.

By Car: Local rental car agencies are clustered mostly around the car ferry area. Among those within easy walking distance are St. John Car Rental (340-776-6103) and L & L Jeep Rental (340-776-1120). Rates start at $80 per day, $75 off-season.

Editor's note: Locals drive on the left side of the road in St. John. Keep this in mind before renting a car. Rentals go quickly; if you are certain you want to rent a car (most are Jeeps), it is advisable to reserve one before leaving home.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The U.S. dollar is used throughout the Virgin Islands, including St. John, but foreign currency can be exchanged at major banks; an ATM is located in First Bank, two blocks north of the ferry dock.

Language?

Locals speak English, often with a Creole accent.


St. John (U.S.V.I.) Cruise Reviews
We had already been to St Thomas so we decided to go to St John. The problem was there was a lot traffic. Same drill - in an open air taxi with others who also wanted to go to the ferry. It took almost an hour to... Read More
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Crayolabob
We took the ferry $16 p/person each way from St.Thomas to St. John. What a beautiful island!... Read More
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leeb864
Loved snorkeling the beach at St. John Trunk Bay... Read More
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aquaman300
It was OK I think it could have been better. The boarding process needs improvement.... Read More
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okedoak1

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