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Cruise Diva Goes Ashore in the Caribbean
Sights to see & things to do

St. John, United States Virgin Islands

Only three miles across Pillsbury Sound from St. Thomas, St. John seems worlds away from the neighboring hustle and bustle. More than half of the tiny island is designated as the Virgin Islands National Park and many cruise passengers eschew St. Thomas altogether in favor of the pristine beaches and tranquility of St. John. 

Cruise ships cannot dock at John, but some send in early morning tenders with passengers booked on shore excursions. From St. Thomas, ferry service is available to Cruz Bay either from the dock at Charlotte Amalie or the pier at Red Hook.


The best way to see St. John is by a sort of flatbed surrey-style truck.  These “taxis” will take you all over the island to view the panoramic vistas and unspoiled natural beauty. More energetic tourists will enjoy the hiking trails of the Virgin Islands National Park. Trail maps and instructions are available at the park ranger’s office.


While it’s nothing compared to St. Thomas, St. John does have shopping in Cruz Bay. Most of the shops are located in Mongoose Junction, a short walk from the ferry dock. Look for locally made arts and crafts.


Trunk Bay is the most popular destination for beach-goers. It’s likely to be crowded, but it’s gorgeous and the underwater trail near the shore is perfect for snorkeling. Rental equipment is available. Caneel Bay is known for attracting the rich and famous and one of its seven beach areas, Hawksnest Beach, is open to the public. The reefs around Cinnamon Bay and Maho Bay attract snorkelers and you’ll also find changing rooms and showers here.

Fodor's Caribbean Ports of Call 2013
is all you need to plan your days ashore, PLUS a cruise primer section and cruise line profiles by Cruise Diva, Linda Coffman

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