To get to the island of St. John, you must first go through St. Thomas. While St. John rarely sees a cruise ship, Charlotte Amalie (pronounced a-mal-ya) on St. Thomas is a busy port. The cruise ship schedule is posted in the daily paper and many tourist-driven business along the harbor will only open on days the ships are in town. Carnival and Royal Caribbean ships are seen most frequently.
While docked in St. Thomas, cruisers can day trip to St. John. These day trippers typically arrive in Cruz Bay around 9 or 10 am in the morning, and it’s easy to spot the beach lovers: Fully geared and smelling of Coppertone, these folks are ready to hit the beaches. Open-air cabs eagerly await to cart more than a dozen folks in each and head up the famed North Shore of St. John. Several overlooks along the way provide epic photo opportunities for you to show off to friends and family. Be sure to tip your cabbie, especially if you’d like to make stops.
Surprisingly, a simple cab ride, even to the most remote of St. John’s North Shore beaches, is relatively inexpensive (i.e., just $8 per person one way to Maho Bay if you have at least 3 people in the taxi.) Be sure to arrange for a pickup time for your return trip. The last ferry leaves St. John each day at 11pm, so bring a change of clothes and you’ll have plenty of time to grab a cocktail or two and some dinner a any one of dozens of bars and restaurants in Cruz Bay. And you can always come back tomorrow, first ferry leaves Red Hook at 6am!