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CottageGirl
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Joined: 06/25/14
Posts: 808
Loc: Petoskey, MI
Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27
      #1731349 - 04/28/17 11:31 AM (24.247.91.79)

I'll write a full trip report soon, but wanted to give everyone the benefit of our experience with the ferry service and the STT airport yesterday.
This was our 6th trip to the BVI's. We've never experienced an issue with the ferry service or the airport lines before, so I guess our good luck ran out and it was our turn.
We boarded the 10 am Roadtown Fast Ferry to St. Thomas. When we arrived at the ferry dock in St. Thomas, the new ferry Ocean Dreams (operating under Smith's) was at the dock. The Fast Ferry crew told us that Ocean Dreams has scheduled their departures from RT 15 mins before the Fast Ferry, they stop in West End, and still make it to STT before the Fast Ferry. They take FOREVER to unload passengers. We arrived at the ferry dock at 11:00 and spent 40 minutes holding in the harbor until Ocean Dreams was unloaded. The Fast Ferry guys seem to believe Ocean Dreams is doing this on purpose to draw customers away from Fast Ferry (I have no idea if this is truth, rumor or a bit of both, but just passing on their opinions).
Finally disembark the ferry, taxi situation is a mess because everyone's running late but luckily we had prearranged with Kevin. He was taking a full van of people so he referred us to a private taxi who rushed us to the airport ($40 for 4 people - great!).
Thank goodness for Delta sky priority - only 4 people in line in front of us. Then I see the line to get into customs and TSA - it's literally wound all the way down the line and around - must've been hundreds of people in line. So I quickly grab a Red Cap and ask if we use them can we skip that long line - she says yes. Great! Now at this point I have no idea what Red Cap is going to cost or if it's just tips, but whatever it is it's going to be worth not missing our flight. She takes our bags and puts us in a shorter line for customs - about 15 people in front of us. Two of our crew have Global Entry so she takes them to that line - they got right through. We waited for another TSA agent to show up before our line really started moving. Line for TSA priority precheck was totally open and we made it into the terminal as they were calling boarding for our flight at 1:30 pm.
What a mess!! Thanks to Delta sky priority, red cap service (tipped $40) and TSA precheck we made our flight. Otherwise, we would have been stuck.

Just a heads up, that 3 hours everyone talks about - yeah you might need it.
Julie


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Manpot
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Loc: Tortola/ Sonoma, California
Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: CottageGirl]
      #1731351 - 04/28/17 11:36 AM (76.103.182.221)

This is why we build in all that extra time...always get an earlier ferry. This has happened to us a couple of times and yes there is great rivalry between the ferries and they will screw each other any chance they get..and that screws you! Glad you made it..but lesson learned!

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charlie
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Joined: 03/18/02
Posts: 880
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Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: CottageGirl]
      #1731352 - 04/28/17 11:38 AM (100.7.84.123)

What happened to you happened to us, so we now spend our last night on St. Thomas. And we use the Red Cap's. Ferries are crazy!

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GeorgeC1
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Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: charlie]
      #1731355 - 04/28/17 11:43 AM (108.213.0.118)

We had the same experience on the 21st. Took about an hour from arriving in the harbor to clearing customs. The non US citizen line was much shorter and they got through quicker. Sadly the reverse is true in the BVI so you wait on each end.
G


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NCSailor
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Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: GeorgeC1]
      #1731360 - 04/28/17 12:18 PM (38.140.173.82)

You were cutting it close taking a 10am ferry for a 2pm flight.

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Winterstale
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Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: NCSailor]
      #1731361 - 04/28/17 12:21 PM (173.168.122.207)

..and that Global Entry line is not always open so you got lucky there too! I have Global Entry but the line was closed when I was there last week.

--------------------




Bridget


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bagsarepacked
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Joined: 01/26/08
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Loc: Northern IL
Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: Winterstale]
      #1731363 - 04/28/17 12:44 PM (107.205.223.21)

Thank you for posting. We are staying our last night on St John...with a 4:40 return on American out of STT.
Do you think we need to be on the ferry leaving Cruz Bay to CA @ 8:45 or do you think the 11:15 one should be ok based on 45 min ferry ride. I know AA is a stickler for the 3 hour window. 8:45 seems so early...but we could shop a bit LOL


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GeorgeC1
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Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: bagsarepacked]
      #1731364 - 04/28/17 12:49 PM (108.213.0.118)

The 11:15 will be fine.
G


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bagsarepacked
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Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: GeorgeC1]
      #1731366 - 04/28/17 01:00 PM (107.205.223.21)

Thanks George

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lauraandrex
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Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: bagsarepacked]
      #1731376 - 04/28/17 02:24 PM (98.5.248.132)

Oh boy I have done the "OJ Simpson" because of those ferries before myself! literally making it as the plane was boarding, not a relaxing way to end a vacation! the 10 am is only good if you have a 4pm flight.

--------------------
cheers! Laura
Custom Sailing Shirts https://www.facebook.com/pages/CustomSailingShirtscom/112040245530182
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map
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Posts: 1009
Loc: New Hampshire
Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: CottageGirl]
      #1731379 - 04/28/17 02:39 PM (70.197.11.207)

Only $40 from the ferry dock on CA to the airport? Is there any kind of rate or just depends on who you get? We were charged $60 from the airport to the ferry dock. And I'm glad I was convinced to switch to the 7am ferry when we leave based on this. Also I booked in advance for what I thought was the new ferry and ended up on the Bomba Charger! They said if we wanted to wait until 3:30 we could be on the new ferry. Well sorry but that was not the schedule that was advertised. Bottom line you get what they give you! Disappointed but damn happy to be here!
Mappy

--------------------
~As you navigate through life, take time to play in the waves~


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CottageGirl
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Loc: Petoskey, MI
Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: map]
      #1731389 - 04/28/17 04:35 PM (24.247.91.79)

Mappy, yes. I had originally arranged for Kevin to meet us; but because the ferry disembarking of 2 boats one right after the other caused a major commotion in people rushing to get taxis, Kevin had a van full. He sent us to another guy who took the 4 of us from the ferry dock to the airport for $40. No extra charge for bags. Sorry, I don't know who it was.

Originally the Global Entry was closed, but it opened magically. Probably because they had to start pushing people through some other line!

Seriously going to look into flying in to EIS next time.
Ferries and fees are getting ridiculous.
March 2015 - from STT to Tortola Road Town fast ferry is $45/pp, no extra fees or bag fees
Nov 2015 - from Tortola to STT fast ferry is $35/pp + $3 per bag + $20 pp departure tax
April 2016 - from STT to Tortola fast ferry is $50/pp includes bag fees
April 2017 - from STT to Tortola on Bomba Charger is $50/pp + $10p// VI Port Authority Fee + 1 bag at $3 + 1 bag at $10 bec it's over 40 pounds
April 2017 - from Tortola to STT on Fast Ferry $40/pp + $6 for 2 bags + $20 pp departure tax

I'm really suspect of the Bomba ferry ride; most expensive ride + "VI Port Authority" fee? Plus extra bec the bag is over 40 pounds? And it's a crappy boat?

Yup, def looking into flying into EIS next time.


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map
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Loc: New Hampshire
Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: CottageGirl]
      #1731398 - 04/28/17 05:45 PM (70.196.8.213)

We just talked about that today as well and I agree totally! The difference in price is getting close. Crazy for sure!
Mappy

--------------------
~As you navigate through life, take time to play in the waves~


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HoosierDaddy
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Joined: 02/03/04
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Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: CottageGirl]
      #1731400 - 04/28/17 06:00 PM (71.227.26.68)

Thanks for the return trip report Cottage Girl.
Until the BVI finally trys to improve on getting vacationers to and from St. Thomas, I am now very likely going to do my next bare boat charter out of St. Thomas and avoid the years of frustration of getting into and out of Tortola by ferry.


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Sandsailsun
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Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: HoosierDaddy]
      #1731404 - 04/28/17 06:33 PM (47.54.108.112)

Have always gone the EIS route since our stop and start point is VG...did cape air to Virgin Gorda for the first time this past trip......just incredible

--------------------
Kim

[url=https://www.TickerFactory.com/]

[/url]


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LocalSailor
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Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: HoosierDaddy]
      #1731406 - 04/28/17 06:43 PM (65.113.105.2)

If the Delta flight was either:
Atlanta - departed gate at 1:25
New York - departed gate at 1:57

You were very lucky to even board - arriving at the airport at noon or later with bags to check and then lines at C&I and TSA to go through was, in retrospect, bad pre-planning and circumstantial. Any travel is subject to unexpected obstacles.
Throwing $$ at the problem - [red cap] - solved some time constraints but your final reflection in the post of arriving 2 hours or more before the flight is good advice.


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HillsideView
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Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: lauraandrex]
      #1731415 - 04/28/17 07:58 PM (70.192.68.57)

Not that I have found this anywhere in "official print" but after 30 some odd years of ferry travel, the berthing order "rights" On the Tortola/CA route seem to be: #1 Native Son, #2 Smith's, #3 RTFF. I have never waited to dock when on a Native Son boat, and other ferries had stood off even if they arrived prior.

--------------------
My foot fits right into my shoe and my shoe will fit right into your...


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CottageGirl
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Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: HillsideView]
      #1731478 - 04/29/17 12:51 PM (24.247.91.79)

LocalSailor - I agree. We needed more time. But this was the first time in 6 trips that has happened. Lesson learned.
Hillside - the fast ferry crew clearly feel that Ocean Dreams is out to screw them by their schedule and taking their time getting people off the boat.


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sunshine44
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Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: CottageGirl]
      #1731493 - 04/29/17 03:46 PM (50.103.197.41)

Oceans Dreams is a partner of Smiths Ferry Services. Maybe this has been mentioned before.

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dkenny
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Joined: 03/01/17
Posts: 10
Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: sunshine44]
      #1731506 - 04/29/17 06:33 PM (74.104.187.227)

We went the day before (the 26th) on the same 10:00am ferry and we would have difficulty making a 1:30pm flight without extra help (Red Cap and TSA Pre-check). Although there were no major problems, the time still disappeared and it took about 3.5 hours from leaving the dock in Tortola to being in the terminal waiting for our flight.

The 9:45 also beat our boat in by about 3 minutes (watched it pull in the harbor in front of us) and we waited about 25 minutes before pulling up to the dock. While Iím sure they play some games (including schedule times), the delay in this case was Customs. . .you could see them doing a walk-around of the boat after it had been on the dock for 20 minutes. We ran into the same problem on the way to Tortola with the boat in front of our ferry having a Customs inspection in St. Thomas (they can only accommodate one boat at the inbound dock) while our boat sat in the harbor for 20 minutes waiting for it to clear before they could pull up to unload and then move forward to load us. We were towards the front of the line to get off the ferry, but with the shuffle off the boat and a few people pushing past us, we ended up 5 or 6 parties back. Combine this with the non-resident line seaming to get priority and add 25 minutes. After all was said and done, it was after 12:00pm before we walked out to the cab line.

We had a 3:30pm flight, so we stored our bags and walked to McDonalds (kidís choice). Back a little after 12:30, but it was 12:45 before we left for the airport (a few minutes loading luggage and a few minutes waiting for another party to be added). Even with no line at the Jet Blue counter, no line to drop our checked bags and relatively small line at security (queue was only about Ĺ to ĺ full, but not down the hall like Iíve seen it, but still took 30 minutes to get through) it was still a little after 2:00pm before we got into the terminal.

At each step on the way, I kept saying this really isnít bad. But when all was said and done, it was 3.5 hours. . .we left at 10:00am and were not in the terminal until after 2:00pm (minus 30 minutes for our trip to McDonalds). Looking back, I think the issue is more the limitations with US C&I/Security than the ferries. . . it was an hour from the time we pulled near dock until we got through C&I at ferry terminal and 30 minutes in line at airport security.


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Manpot
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Loc: Tortola/ Sonoma, California
Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: dkenny]
      #1731570 - 04/30/17 12:06 PM (76.103.182.221)

More and more I like taking Inter Island ferry ( extremely friendly and reliable)..clear in at St John ten mins to STT and then a 30 min cab ride to the terminal. We have lunch or breakfast at " Fishtail;s" by the dock at Red Hook, leaving bags with the cabbies..its so much more relaxing. Ten mins max through C and I in St John..BTW they will be adding C and I at Red Hook soon and building is underway..

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LocalSailor
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Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: Manpot]
      #1731576 - 04/30/17 12:37 PM (65.113.105.0)

Quote:

Manpot said:
..BTW they will be adding C and I at Red Hook soon and building is underway..



As a lifelong USVI resident and sailor -- I will assert that "soon" is a word used here only with laughable expectations and no one should expect to see C&I in Red Hook in any foreseeable trip planning.
I have seen "SOON COME" signs posted that have rusted away like a junkyard car with no finished projects.


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NCSailor
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Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: Manpot]
      #1731578 - 04/30/17 12:59 PM (172.72.223.79)

Quote:

Manpot said:
More and more I like taking Inter Island ferry ( extremely friendly and reliable)..clear in at St John ten mins to STT and then a 30 min cab ride to the terminal. We have lunch or breakfast at " Fishtail;s" by the dock at Red Hook, leaving bags with the cabbies..its so much more relaxing. Ten mins max through C and I in St John..BTW they will be adding C and I at Red Hook soon and building is underway..




I agree with the Interisland Ferry route. The past 7 years our routine has been to drop off the boat and get the noon ferry to STJ. Spend the night on STJ and then take the morning ferry over to STT. Great dining options in Cruz Bay and it has more of an island feel than STT. No lines, no fuss until you get to the airport.


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calsail
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Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: Manpot]
      #1731584 - 04/30/17 01:42 PM (47.147.245.251)

Now we always spend our last night on our return in CA. Catch the 10:00 ferry from WE to CA, rent a car for $45 at the airport , go directly to Palm Passage and have a super Spanish tapa type lunch at Amalia Cafe, then to our hotel (Beachcomber or Emerald Beach), relax on the sand, swim in the bay, imbibe at the beach bar AND THEN to a decadent dinner at Oceana on the water. Up at 6:30 for a 9:30 flight. Now thats civilized. Right Malcolm?

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Manpot
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Loc: Tortola/ Sonoma, California
Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: calsail]
      #1731588 - 04/30/17 02:29 PM (76.103.182.221)

Very civilized and thanks to you we do pretty much the same with a fantastic dinner at " Oceana"..

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Felix
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Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: CottageGirl]
      #1731695 - 05/01/17 11:21 AM (67.140.252.141)

We avoid the ferries in CA whenever possible, for all the reasons listed above. Whether I'm going to STJ, JVD, or Tortola, I always try to go from Red Hook if possible. Yes, it's a longer taxi ride, but I've just never had a good experience trying to do anything in/out of CA.

The last time, we were running late due to a late flight and trying to catch the last ferry out. Taxi driver called ahead to hold the ferry, and as I was signing the slip I noticed we were charged a "Departure Tax" - out of CA? When I questioned it I was told "BVI does it, we're gonna do it too". I tried arguing it, but the boat was leaving, so there wasn't time.

Felix

--------------------
* What we do in life echoes in eternity *


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GeorgeC1
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Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: Felix]
      #1731697 - 05/01/17 11:27 AM (108.213.0.118)

The departure tax is new and was imposed by the USVI government. The ferry companies must collect it. Not much to argue about.
G


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cchalcomb
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Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: GeorgeC1]
      #1731698 - 05/01/17 11:30 AM (208.102.158.155)

How much is the new departure tax per person leaving the USVI by ferry to the BVI's?

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GeorgeC1
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Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: cchalcomb]
      #1731700 - 05/01/17 11:44 AM (108.213.0.118)

10.00 unless they raise it which I am sure is coming. Can't let the BVI get ahead!

Edited by GeorgeC1 (05/01/17 11:45 AM)


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Thirsty_Toad
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Joined: 01/20/11
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Loc: Tyler Texas
Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: GeorgeC1]
      #1731966 - 05/03/17 03:32 PM (66.76.187.167)

You guys are making me nervous. For the first time in 10 BVI charters, I'm flying into STT rather than Beef because of the lack of flights to Beef.

Next month I arrive at STT @ 2:45 and thought I would be good getting the last ferry of the day.
Then on the return I planned to catch the Sunday 0900 ferry to make my 2:44 flight back.
I have Global Entry/TSA Precheck at least.

--------------------
[url=http://www.TickerFactory.com/]

[/url]
Next up:
BVI Oct 27,2012!
BVI June 9 2013


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Orange_Burst
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Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: Thirsty_Toad]
      #1731971 - 05/03/17 04:06 PM (72.240.59.138)

As long as flights are on time, you should be fine.

--------------------
Colleen

[url=https://www.TickerFactory.com/]

[/url]


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map
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Posts: 1009
Loc: New Hampshire
Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: CottageGirl]
      #1732027 - 05/04/17 09:28 AM (70.196.2.118)

I just called to confirm our 7:15 ferry to CA tomorrow only to find out there is no ferry running at 7:15 out of West End! I have the tickets and the reservation number and they can't find it in the system anywhere! Waiting to hear what they can or cannot do for us! Ok thinking this is our last ferry experience!

--------------------
~As you navigate through life, take time to play in the waves~


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suzkoop
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Joined: 02/17/17
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Loc: California
Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: map]
      #1732029 - 05/04/17 09:38 AM (73.151.43.3)

The more I read this thread, the happier I am that I set up a private water taxi (we will be using Foxy's water taxi) to get from Roadtown to St. Thomas when we go home. With our flight times it was the best option.

We are planning to take the public ferry from CA to Roadtown on the way there.

Suzanne


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BaardJ
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Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: map]
      #1732038 - 05/04/17 11:15 AM (76.125.236.212)

Quote:

map said:
I just called to confirm our 7:15 ferry to CA tomorrow only to find out there is no ferry running at 7:15 out of West End! I have the tickets and the reservation number and they can't find it in the system anywhere! Waiting to hear what they can or cannot do for us! Ok thinking this is our last ferry experience!




How about the Native Son ferry from West End to Redhook advertised for 6:45 am departure, or the Roadtown Fast Ferry from Roadtown to CA direct advertised as 7:00 am departure?


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Cyn
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Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: BaardJ]
      #1732046 - 05/04/17 12:25 PM (12.129.204.39)

This thread has me concerned. This will my be first trip to the BVI at the end of the month, we were planning to take the Road Town Fast Ferry on a Saturday at 10:00am for a flight departing at 2:00pm from STT.

By the sounds of it, that may be cutting it too close? It is due in CA port by 10:50am. There's a Smith's Ferry leaving at 9:45am but it has a stop and is set to arrive 15 minutes after RTFF.

Does anyone have advice on this or have an alternative suggestion? I'm not sure we could reasonably check back in our charter to TMM and catch one of the earlier ferries that leave at 7:00am or so.

Thanks!


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Manpot
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Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: map]
      #1732047 - 05/04/17 12:45 PM (76.103.182.221)

MAP..take the Inter Island to St John and on to Red Hook..leaves about 7.15..

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BaardJ
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Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: Manpot]
      #1732060 - 05/04/17 03:19 PM (76.125.236.212)

Inter-Island schedule shows it leaves at 8:00 am from WE to Red hook via Cruz Bay.

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JudyG
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Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: BaardJ]
      #1732230 - 05/06/17 04:24 PM (207.172.218.44)

the "schedule" is becoming an alternative fact it seems...not nice.

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EdistoEllen
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Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: JudyG]
      #1732309 - 05/07/17 03:19 PM (104.50.233.224)

We just returned yesterday, taking the ferry from from Road Town to CA. Maybe because it was Saturday, everything was crowded and chaotic. We arrived at the ferry dock at 11:15am and were given conflicting information on which ferry to choose - both the direct (which left 30 minutes later) and the one with a stop in West End promised to get us there first. We choose the latter, and rode on the Bomba Charger, which was packed and enclosed. At least the AC worked - sort of. We left RT at 11:35am and did not get off the boat at CA until 1:00pm. (I don't know why it was so much slower than the ferry we took going over.) Fortunately, our flight was at 4:40pm, so we had some cushion from that perspective. Luckily, we were some of the first off the boat, and found going through US Customs to be straight-forward with no delays. There were plenty of taxis available and we didn't have to wait long for it to fill up with folks and leave.

The airport was jam-packed!! Too many flights leaving about the same time, and too many folks getting there early, as required by AA. We checked in (with one checked bag) at 1:45pm, right at the three hour mark. Some observations and advice from our experience: when you enter the Customs area the line to the left is shorter; TSA Pre-Check saves a lot of time and is worth every penny it costs (That put us ahead of probably 150 folks waiting in a line that snaked back and forth!); the waiting area was ridiculously crowded with nowhere to sit; the small restaurant was full, but the service was quick; and by 3:00 the crowds started to thin out. The whole ferry/airport experience felt like a marathon of endurance!

My suggestions for minimizing the trauma of leaving BVI: don't leave on a Saturday; get TSA Pre-Check approval before you travel if you're flying out of STT (we also have Global Entry, but that was not an option at the airport); allow plenty of time for the ferry and for the airport; fly into/out of Beef Island if possible.

Bottom line: returning to the US from BVI isn't easy or simple, but it's a price we're willing to pay for an amazing vacation in paradise!


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LocalSailor
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Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: EdistoEllen]
      #1732311 - 05/07/17 04:02 PM (65.113.105.17)

Saturdays are certainly the busiest day at the STT airport and --1pm - 4pm are the busiest times with multiple airlines and flights departing.

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Pitt1
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Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: LocalSailor]
      #1732370 - 05/08/17 12:32 PM (212.250.191.71)

We took Ocean Dreams (10:15) WE to CA on April 25. It took a while to disembark, as they first unloaded all the luggage. We cleared customs/immigration at 11:30 - 11:45. There was another ferry "parked" in the harbor waiting for us to move out for about 20 minutes.

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map
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Joined: 10/11/00
Posts: 1009
Loc: New Hampshire
Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: map]
      #1732909 - 05/15/17 03:13 PM (65.223.194.178)

Just as a follow up on our ferry departing WE at 7:15 AM on Friday, May 5th....after several phone calls they promised me that a ferry would pick us up at 7:15 on Friday and they did just that. They left RT at 7 and then picked us up at 7:15 at Sophers. In total I think there were 10 of us on the boat to CA. All's well that ends well but with a bit of ferry drama we survived.

mappy

--------------------
~As you navigate through life, take time to play in the waves~


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Bella
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Joined: 09/01/02
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Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: map]
      #1733061 - 05/17/17 11:00 AM (216.164.223.123)

but vacation should not be that hectic & filled with worry & changes, no more ferries for us, always fly even if with a small plane & so enjoyable & stress free (usually) always some stress when travelling these days. Still love the BVI & will make it work

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jgoodwin
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Re: Ferry/Airport Experience - 4/27 [Re: Bella]
      #1733228 - 05/19/17 10:21 AM (69.112.72.219)

Sorry for the late response, but a few ways to avoid the ferry hassle from a long time BVI traveler. One is to stay overnight on STT. There are several hotels that are near the airport. The other is if you are a group, hire a water taxi. Depending on your group size it can be not too much more expensive per person than the commercial ferries. Also (which I did recently) fly from Beef to STT. Again depending on how many in your group it can be very affordable and totally hassle free at the airport. Of course, if none of these work for you the rule of thumb is no matter what your flight time, get the first ferry out. You can always breakfast at the PPR above the dock. You can check your luggage curb side and relax. Just catch a cab to the airport in time for the pre- flight check in. I have found that airport lines are worst on weekends, so if your schedule permits, avoid those days.

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