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Flights (St. Thomas or Beef) #103497
07/23/2016 11:49 AM
07/23/2016 11:49 AM
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 143
S
steve74 Offline OP
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steve74  Offline OP
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Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 143
Hello all! We are booked for June 13 to June 24, 2017 after having a great family trip this June. We flew through St. Thomas and rented our boat from MarineMax. They were great, but we are booked with Moorings this year. Also, we learned the lesson to do the sleep aboard the first night the hard way, so we will be staying onboard next year.

On the way down this year we missed the last fast ferry and instead caught the slow ferry that stopped at Sopers before Road Town. The ferry ride was not the best experience due to warmth in the cabin and bumpy seas. On the way home, we had to catch the 10:00 am fast ferry to catch our flight and we got there pretty early. We got tickets, but they stopped selling tickets a minute or so after we bought ours! Lucky and scary! I have heard from others who travel to the BVI frequently that flying to Beef is much better. However, one of the people I trust the most, who has been traveling to the BVI since the 80's, recently told me that he is starting to fly through St. Thomas again.

When we flew out of St. Thomas on Saturday this year, there were no seats in the terminal. It was overflowing with people. For a number of reasons, we will be flying home on Saturday again next year.

The flights for next year are about to go on sale and I plan to book them early if the prices are reasonable. Before I do that, I would appreciate the thoughts of the people on this board about flying through St. Thomas vs. Beef. We live in Raleigh, NC, so we typically connect through Charlotte, Atlanta or Miami. It would be 3 flights if we fly to Beef, but we are okay with this. What do you prefer, St. Thomas or Beef? Thank you!

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Re: Flights (St. Thomas or Beef) [Re: steve74] #103498
07/23/2016 12:05 PM
07/23/2016 12:05 PM
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,261
New Jersey, USA
DanS Offline
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DanS  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,261
New Jersey, USA
You're likely to get a variety of opinions on this.

We fly via St. Thomas, because:
  • It's one flight for us from Newark.
  • As soon as we land at STT, we feel like our vacation has started.
  • We usually enjoy the ferry ride. Not so much if the weather keeps us inside the cabin -- can get me seasick.
  • Flying on a small plane, while fun, is statistically a bit dangerous -- at least compared with a big jet.
We ferry back to St. Thomas the day before our flight, spending the last evening and morning on the beach at Lindbergh Bay. This alleviates a lot of pressure on the trip home.

Dan <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Cheers.gif" alt="" />

Re: Flights (St. Thomas or Beef) [Re: steve74] #103499
07/23/2016 12:40 PM
07/23/2016 12:40 PM
Joined: Nov 2014
Posts: 1,049
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StormJib Offline
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StormJib  Offline
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Posts: 1,049
1.) Adults who pack light and travel very easily may find more joy flying through STT.

2.) For the family Mom who does much of the packing and keeping track of everything the STT airport, to St. Thomas hotel, to the ferry, to a taxi to a boat, to doing the groceries... can be very daunting to only repeat the hurdles(logistics that some see as part of the "experience" and adventure") to get the family home.

3.) Some do not have or will not give up the extra time off flying through St. Thomas can take. How many on this thread have been trapped by the ferry dance on St. Thomas coming or going.

4.) The later your plane is scheduled to land at STT. The greater the chance you will be forced to spend the night on STT planned or unplanned.

5.) Before you think the STT flight is less make sure you do the math on all the taxis and ferry tickets with a consideration of the fully loaded costs if you end up forced to spend the night on St. Thomas coming or going.

6.) Most weekends in the St. Thomas airport are miserable.

To our own groups if we can fly direct to St. Thomas early in the day maybe we go that route. We almost always use flights to SJU with private aircraft taking us to EIS for the last leg. We do not cruise with guests planning to use STT for same day arrivals or departures. There is just too much anxiety and hassle for everyone else. If you want to arrive or leave on the days we are on a boat you must use EIS to be a part of our group.

Just like when it is time to move the boat again... the entire crew should be considered in any flight plans. In very simple terms if you can fly direct from the US with an arrival before noon maybe chance the ferry. Otherwise use a code share or private aircraft connecting in San Juan. The other options may very well cost you an unplanned extra travel days going and coming.

Re: Flights (St. Thomas or Beef) [Re: DanS] #103500
07/23/2016 01:35 PM
07/23/2016 01:35 PM
Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 526
Georgia & South Carolina
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Deepcut Offline
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Deepcut  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 526
Georgia & South Carolina
If flying out of STT, depending on departure, may want to extend trip 1 day with last night spent in STT.

Check out all options including flying to San Juan (SJU) and perhaps booking a Cape Air or Seaborne flight from there to Beef Island . Likely to get better deal on booking separately and consider Cape Air Commuter packages (books of 10 tickets) with each roundtrip requiring 2 tickets. (if extra commuter tickets, likely to be able to sell easily on this site....( I have read that you can book flights before buying book as they expire 1 year after purchase). With a group of 6-8 people, Cape Air is likely to hold for departure .

check all your options. Consider costs of ferries, extra taxis, and hotel if needed.


Wes
s/v Sea Tiger (Lagoon 42)
Re: Flights (St. Thomas or Beef) [Re: Deepcut] #103501
07/23/2016 05:17 PM
07/23/2016 05:17 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 5,568
Massachusetts
maytrix Offline
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maytrix  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 5,568
Massachusetts
I think it all depends on where you are coming from, preference (some don't like the San Juan Airport, others don't like the Ferry) and cost.

For us, it's two flights to St Thomas. 2 Flights to Tortola. So unless cost is significantly different, flying to Tortola is a no brainer. We also like the San Juan airport, especially with all of their renovations now and haven't had any issues going through there.

We also use Cape Air and their commuter book, so we have a fixed cost SJU to EIS.


Matt
Re: Flights (St. Thomas or Beef) [Re: maytrix] #103502
07/23/2016 05:34 PM
07/23/2016 05:34 PM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,211
GJ, CO S/V Long Overdue
sail2wind Offline
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sail2wind  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,211
GJ, CO S/V Long Overdue
"2.) For the family Mom who does much of the packing and keeping track of everything the STT airport, to St. Thomas hotel, to the ferry, to a taxi to a boat, to doing the groceries... can be very daunting to only repeat the hurdles(logistics that some see as part of the "experience" and adventure") to get the family home."

This can be construed as somewhat sexist. My wife, who's a mom, does not do any of that except pack her own bags.

Re: Flights (St. Thomas or Beef) [Re: sail2wind] #103503
07/23/2016 05:53 PM
07/23/2016 05:53 PM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 255
Tustin CA
d_fish Offline
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d_fish  Offline
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Posts: 255
Tustin CA
I agree about it depending on where you are coming from and total elapse travel time.

For us it is 2 flights to STT or 3 flights to EIS. The 3 flight trip often taking 20-26 hours travel time.

To alleviate the ferry issue we stay one night in STT pre and post charter. This simply takes away all stress and anxiety of making or missing the ferry.

In addition I find it rather exhausting arriving same day for sleep aboard, provisioning and unpacking. Too much for one day after flying a red eye.

With that said our last trip was a party of 8, when I factor in the cost of an over night stay in STT along with lodging, ground transportation, food & beverage,and the 2 extra days of travel one front and and one back end, it may have been more cost effective to take a private water taxi to and from STT.

Our next trip, I always check fares into both STT and EIS. If I feel comfortable with connection times and travel time to EIS I will travel there. If not will plan on one night pre charter in STT, but coming home use a private water taxi saving time and $$, but only if I have a group 8 persons or more.

Also one other thing I will take into consideration before I book a boat will be to check the fleets in STT. Never chartered in STT, but I believe there are a few solid companies with good ratings and nice vessels.

Re: Flights (St. Thomas or Beef) [Re: d_fish] #103504
07/23/2016 08:27 PM
07/23/2016 08:27 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 621
NJ
danmasi Offline
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danmasi  Offline
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Posts: 621
NJ
For me it's a bit of a toss-up, and I've done it each way maybe 10 or so times round-trip over the years. It's either a direct flight to STT or a hop through SJU for us coming out of Newark NJ; a lot of times it depends on the timing of available flights. More and more, I'm not a fan of the logistics at SJU and it's nice to have just one flight. I think the best way I've done it thus far, which has only been once, is going through STT and using a reserved water taxi to Road Town. We had a party of 10 traveling together, and this really worked nicely.

Re: Flights (St. Thomas or Beef) [Re: danmasi] #103505
07/26/2016 08:55 PM
07/26/2016 08:55 PM
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 143
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steve74 Offline OP
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steve74  Offline OP
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Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 143
Thank you for your replies!


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