Taking The Car Ferry from Thomas to St John for the day is a great way to see St John.
It’s a lot cheaper paying $50 round trip for the ferry than taking the ferry over and renting a car. Just make sure the car you are taking over can go over to St John. Not all rental cars are allowed to be taken over to St John. Make sure you check your rental agreement before you go. We usually go to St John on Sunday as the ferry is not as crowded as it is during the week. Our second visit is usually on a Wednesday or Thursday, depending on the cruise ship schedule. The day that has the most cruise ships in port, is the day we take the ferry to St John. Allow plenty of time to catch the ferry from St Thomas, as there is a $3 car fee you have to pay at the ferry gate before boarding. Once this fee is paid you back your car into position in order to board the ferry when they motion to you to board.
If you have never done this before, it’s an experience. Make sure you have good insurance, as these vehicles are very close. I am glad J is driving because you would not want to see me try to back the car up the ramp on an angle, especially a small car that does not have much power. First, you turn your car around so you can back onto the ferry. Then when you are directed by the crew to board, you drive your car backwards up the ferry ramp. You cannot drive straight back as the car will bottom out. Once you make it up the ramp, then you proceed to drive backward, without hitting anyone, but getting very close to the car next to you until they tell you to stop. This could take several tries if you are not good at driving backwards. Then there is the added pressure of parking close to the car next to you. I don’t know how J does it, but he has no problem getting the car into position on the ferry. Once our car is parked, we pull our mirrors in and sit back and watch people try to get the car positioned onto the ferry before they satisfy the crew that you are close enough. This gets really difficult when there are large dump truck, cement trucks, etc on the ferry.
Do you think we are close enough???
After the ferry is underway, the crew will come around to each car to collect the fee. You have the option to pay a one way ticket (which is more expensive) or a round trip. If a round trip ticket is purchased, you must take the same ferry company back. The company name and ferry times are listed on the receipt. Keep your receipt, as this is what you will need for your return. Make sure you arrive to the terminal about 30 minutes ahead, as they line up to get on the ferry to return. The ferry can only carry so many vehicles and if it is a busy day, you might not get on that ferry, which would require waiting until the ferry returns from St Thomas.
Once the fee has been collected, sit back and enjoy the ride. Or get out (if you can squeeze yourself out of the door) and wonder around. It’s about a 25 minute ride over to St John. As soon as the ferry docks, the crew directs the vehicles off the ferry. Make sure you go off at an angle or you will bottom out your car. Go enjoy the day on St John as there are many beaches to explore and excellent snorkeling. You could snorkel with the stingray like we did.