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

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

About Cruising to 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. Be sure to visit St. John on your next cruise to the U.S. Virigin Islands.

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Volendam
Volendam

14 Night
Eastern Caribbean: Antilles & Private Island Holiday

592 Reviews
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Azamara Journey
Azamara Journey

16 Night
Caribbean Cruise

834 Reviews
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Wind Spirit
Wind Spirit (Photo: Windstar)

7 Night
Windward Island Delights 7d Bgi-bgi

105 Reviews
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Nachi Cocom Beach Club

Azamara Onward
Azamara Onward (Photo: Azamara)

11 Night
Mediterranean - Eastern Cruise

76 Reviews
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13 Night
Caribbean Cruise

834 Reviews
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Cruise Critic Favorite

14 Night
Windward Treasures: An Antilles Odyssey 14d Bgi-bgi

105 Reviews
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10 Night
A Journey From Miami To Miami

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7 Night
Caribbean Cruise

280 Reviews
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7 Night
A Journey From San Juan To Miami

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12 Night
Mediterranean - Eastern Cruise

76 Reviews
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Cruise Critic Favorite

14 Night
Windward Treasures: An Antilles Odyssey 14d Bgi-bgi

105 Reviews
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7 Night
Caribbean Cruise

280 Reviews
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11 Night
Mediterranean - Eastern Cruise

76 Reviews
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14 Night
Windward Treasures: An Antilles Odyssey 14d Bgi-bgi

105 Reviews
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7 Night
Windward Island Delights 7d Bgi-bgi

105 Reviews
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More about St. John (U.S.V.I.)

Why Cruise 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 getRead 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
Had a wonderful voyage on a nice boat about 45 min each way. Lots of sights, took lots of pictures.Read More
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okedoak1
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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