We had to wake up super early again at 6:30am for our early morning arrival in St. Thomas, USVI. We watched the sun rise as the Emerald Princess docked at the Crown Bay Marina in Charlotte Amalie. Today, we had a excursion planned in St. John – snorkeling at Trunk Bay! This was an excursion that we booked through the cruise line. It was Justin’s very first time ever snorkeling, which was very exciting!
Want to travel more?
Need more travel in your life? In this special free bonus content, we reveal our top tips and personal advice to living a life of travel.
We met our tour group down at the pier around 8:30am and boarded a ferry called Island Girl. The ferry ride took about 30 minutes to reach St. John from St. Thomas. In the meantime, we got to take in all of the gorgeous scenery and views of St. Thomas and the surrounding islands. The tour operator told us many interesting facts about the islands and a little bit about himself (he moved to the US Virgin Islands from the United States to become a tour operator and to live in such a beautiful place all the time).
Crown Bay Pier where the Emerald Princess docked
When we got to St. John, we boarded a small shuttle bus that took us to the beach. Our driver’s name was Puff, and he wore a huge gold chain around his neck that with gigantic letters that spelled out PUFF. It was very easy to remember which bus to get back on at the end of the tour! Puff stopped the bus at the side of the road a couple of times as we traveled through the hilly terrain in order to slowly view the beautiful scenery of St. John.
Love the license plates here!
Trunk Bay was an absolutely breathtaking region of the island. It is part of the Virgin Islands National Park and it was immaculate – not a piece of garbage to be found on the beach. The park staff take very excellent care of the area and it was very clean. Also, a park ranger spoke to everyone who arrived to make sure that we would keep off the coral reef while snorkeling. A life guard kept watch over everyone in the water to make sure that no one swam too close to the protected coral reefs in the water (near a small island in the center of the snorkel trail).
Justin and I put on our borrowed snorkel gear that came with the tour that we booked. We set out onto the white sandy beach and into the turquoise waters.
We swam out to the snorkel trail at Trunk Bay, which was a quick swim from the shore around the tiny island in the middle of the water (pictured behind us in the above photograph). There were signs placed underwater that gave information about the various coral and fish that lived there. Unfortunately, the waters were a little bit choppy that day which decreased the visibility underwater. We were only able to read a couple of the signs. To be honest, I wasn’t really paying attention to any of the signs – I was only paying attention to all of the fish and coral that we saw! There were so many fish – small schools of fish, parrot fish, striped ones, bright blue ones, and ones with long, pointed faces. I apologize for my vague descriptions of the fish as I don’t know their actual names. There were so many fish just beneath the surface! We also saw different types of beautiful coral, as well as black sea urchins at the bottom (whatever you do, don’t touch those! Ouch!).
We were able to snorkel for about 1 1/2 hours before heading back. We could have stayed out for way longer! It would have been nice to enjoy the beach, too. Unfortunately, the tour was only 4 hours long and the travel time was around 45 minutes there and back…so traveling took up a lot of our time! I would still highly recommend this trip by cruise since it was one of the nicest beaches that I had visited and the snorkeling was great! If you’re able to spend more time here or see more of the island, DO IT! St. John is absolutely beautiful.
We were treated with some more beautiful views of the US Virgin Islands on our ferry back to St. Thomas.
We went back to the ship and changed out of our bathing suits. We had an extremely quick bite to eat at the buffet since we wanted to make the most of our time spent in port. After our meal, we departed the ship once again and headed back out on the town. Read all about our adventures in downtown Charlotte Amalie visiting Magic Ice, and see a video from our day in St. Thomas & St. John.