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Hi all, I am ready to pull the trigger for a trip in late June 2010 (thanks saildoggie). I am looking at flights in and out of the BVIs and I noticed that flying in to St Thomas saves about $200 per seat. I was told there is a ferry that brings you to Sopers Hole, so it should work.

My question is: What do you all usually do? Fly in to Tortola and take the long ride or come into St. Thomas?

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Bill
 

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My vote - St Thomas

We fly into St Thomas. Cheaper flights, better timing/connections for us and we feel like our vacation starts the minute we land in STT. Ferrys run roughly every 30-45 min, so never a problem to catch one, and if you come in too late to catch the ferry, then a hotel in St Thomas is not such a bad thing either.

If you're doing a Voyage charter (I'm guessing because the the Saildoggie mention) then STT to BVI via ferry to Sopher's Hole is the best bet.
 

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Great info. Thanks MMR.

Monte - we're hoping to do the same as you guys next summer. If you see an out of control Bene or Jene coming at you - bear off fast.
 

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We've done both. In all honesty, I think it's a toss up. STT is cheaper, but then you've got to pay for the ferry. Also, some of the inbound flights to STT cut it pretty close on getting the last ferry of the day, so you might have to spend the night in St. Thomas. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing--any excuse for a meal at Cuzzin's is a good thing in my book. You've got a lot more flight choices into STT. For EIS, you're pretty much going through San Juan or Antigua.

I suspect I will alternate, just to be different. If it were my first trip, I'd pick STT or EIS based on which flights worked better for my schedule. I've generally sailed with The Moorings in Roadtown, which is marginally closer to EIS than Soper's Hole. If you are chartering from someone closer to the west end of Tortola, then STT and a ferry is a pretty clear win.

If you do go the STT route, pay attention to where the ferrys are starting and ending. On our last Moorings sail, we got a ferry from Charlotte Amalie direct to Roadtown. CA is only about 15 minutes from the airport. If you leave from Red Hook, you've got a pretty long taxi ride to the ferry terminal. On the Tortola side, Soper's Hole is not so convenient if you are sailing out of Roadtown, but great for points west.

If you take a ferry from CA, there's a very good bar/restaurant upstairs at the CA ferry terminal. Their Ginger Beer is home made and unfiltered, so If you are into that, I highly recommend one--or even better, a Dark and Stormy.

One final tidbit: We had to wait in a pretty long line for C&E at the Roadtown ferry dock last time. In the sun.
 

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Bill

we've come in the day before to St Thomas, just in case the US side of air connections are jumbled. No rushing and like MS Chuckles, the vacation starts when we leave the house...

ALl the best and enjoy, we like the local made pina coladas, never had a bad one on the islands...
 

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I flew into Tortola last time, and don't plan on doing it again. Had issues with flight times, arrival times, it just was a mess!

Jason
 

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Will let you know how it goes as we have boat chartered for 2 weeks starting Nov. 1st.
Part of the crew is flying into Road Town the night before, cost savings of airline tickets flying Friday was cheap enough to pay for room, meals & drinks with money & time left over for shopping (keeps the wives happy). Sleep aboard Sat allows time for all the crew to arrive and provision before charter begins on Sunday. Has worked well in the past and with charters down they thru in the sleepover for free!!!!!! I like that word.

fair winds
jay
 

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St Thomas it almost always the better point to enter on a cost basis. Beef Island get you on Tortola faster but typically that is through PR and you want to avoid that place if possible.

Problem with STT that time of years is that is outside the normal "Tourist" season and most Ferry's stop around 5. Best to arrange flights that will arrive at STT by 3:00. While the Ferry dock you will want is near by... delays in getting a taxi out is typical as they fill the vans to max capacity before they send them out. Make sure your driver knows WHICH Ferry dock your going to or you could end up in Red Hook.

If you do have to stay in St. Thomas overnight... take care. Many locations are less than safe including the area around the ferry docks in Charlotte Amalie. Some "resort" area may be safer and typically not much more expensive. You may even want to consider spending the night on St. John and take the morning ferry to either Road Town or West End.
 

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Ferry Schedule

I flew into CA a few years ago and caught a ferry to Tortola. Unfortunately, my flight was delayed and I arrived in Charlotte Amalie after my planned ferry had left. I stopped by the tourist station in the airport and got the published schedule and asked for any changes. No problem I had just enough time to catch the last ferry. Unfortunately, when my taxi arrived at the ferry dock it had departed 15 minutes ago (25 minutes ahead of schedule). I then tried to catch the last ferry at Red Hook only to miss that one also. After discussions with the taxi driver I learned that the ferry schedule is a lot like the "code of the pirates" more of a guideline than actual rules. I wound up spending the night on CA and had a great time. I am not stating a preference just a heads up on a possible situation. Good luck and have a great time.
 

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"Code of the Pirates" is about right for the ferry schedule. There's lots of rivalry between ferry companies, and they will intentionally vary the schedule to mess each other up. It's best to be flexible in both directions. For example, we don't usually buy round trip tickets, because you never know if the ferry you come back on will be the company you expected.

They're also pretty aggressive about grabbing your bags and trying to get you on their particular ferry. If someone tries to get you onto a particular ferry, make sure you ask _very_ specific questions about the routing if you care one way or another.

OTOH, the adventure is part of the fun.
 

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I've been sailing in the BVI regularly for 30 years. Every few years I fly into STT and take the ferry which reminds me why I dislike it so, then I go back to flying into EIS. I like getting the travel over with and onto the boat. That's when MY holiday starts - with feet on the boat.
 

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STT Hotels

We usually stay at Emerald Beach Resort when we have to "lay over" in St Thomas. Price is reasonable, location on Lindbergh Bay between airport and ferry terminal makes it an easy stop and the beach, rooms and food are perfect for Vacation DAY ONE!

Welcome to Emerald Beach Resort in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

We've also stayed at the sister property just down the beach, Carib Beach. We ended up there once when our flight was delayed 4 hrs in Miami and we missed the ferry. Our cab driver got us rooms at 10pm, a life saver! Again, reasonable price, ok to good food. Rooms were clean but definitely second tier. Welcome to The Best Western Carib Beach Resort in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

Both are Best Western properties. If you stay at Carib, you have privileges at Emerald Beach...

5 min from Airport; 15 min from Ferry Terminal.
 

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Flights to Tortola or St. Thomas

I've done both and find the flight to St. Thomas easier...and the ferry ride to Roadtown a nice experience. Not sure if there is a big difference in overall cost. My experience in flying into Tortola is not a great one...constantly lost luggage....and sitting around the dock waiting for the luggage to arrive is certainly not the best way to spend your 1st day.
 

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I am doing the same think in May 2010. Plan on going to St. Thomas before Tortola for the price saving. However, looking online I only see ferries that leave a few times per day. Do you know where I can find information about the ferry that leaves every 40 minutes or so?
 

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This site is pretty accurate. Once you have selected a line, go to the ferry operator's site and reconfirm the schedule. Then, shortly before your trip, call them to get their current schedule. Then arrived and expect a somewhat different one; this is the ferry companies' way of saying "Welcome to ilon time".
 

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If you get in touch with Marjorie at Island Magic - subsidary of Smith's Ferry, she will set you up with a pickup at the airport and transit directly to the dock in Charlotte Amalie.

I've used her assistance many times and find it very helpful. On the last few trips, they've actually held the ferry at the dock for a few minutes while we made our way from the airport.

Send here an email to [email protected] or call her at 3407757292

Tell her Greg Murphy said Hi.
 

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I use AA FF Miles so flying into EIS is the best for us.

In response to others that mention when their vacation starts, I say, the day we book our next charter!
 

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Just back from 2 weeks in paradise, man is hard to look at snow!
Part of the crew flew into Tortola the rest ferried over from St. Thomas. If you plan to ferry over allow at least 3 hrs. transit time because if the ferry is not full you sit on the dock & wait for the next ferry. Had friends that took the taxi to Sopers to catch the early ferry, we picked up the later one out of Road Town and was diverted over to Soper's to pick up 30+ people off the dock. They tied the two ferries together and transferred us all onto one to fill it up, had a nice long chat with them on the way over to St. Thomas.
Time you add up taxi's & ferry price may be a push, schedule will probably rule for us from now on.
 

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Izjay... you are overlooking the major down side of the Flights to and out of Tortola... few of them and almost all have to go through PR which is a pain and long delays. With St Thomas the flights are far more direct and you don't have to drag your luggage miles between the small plane terminal in PR to where the real aircraft are located.

I typically have gone into and out of Tortola via St Thomas 2 to 3 times a year for the past 3+ years and have never had the type problems you encountered but in the islands things do happen often with out apparent reason.
 
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