The first stop of the cruise visited the US Virgin Island of St. John. If you aren’t familiar with the US Virgin Islands, the islands are a territorial region of the United States and include the islands of St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John. Typically, most cruises lines stop at St. Thomas, which is the most populated island in USVI and a massively popular cruise port. This cruise itinerary was on the unique side because it stopped at St. John instead. Not often do cruises lines include St. John on the itinerary.
An interesting fact about St. John is over half the island is a US National Park. Trunk Bay, one of the most famous beaches in USVI, is located on St. John and is also part of the US National Park Service. Furthermore, the beach at Trunk Bay has been voted as a top ten beach by Conde Nast Traveler. If Trunk Bay doesn’t meet your needs, there are numerous other beaches on the island, including Cinnamon Bay, Maho Bay, and Hawksnest.
Now some of you may already be familiar with St. John because of a trip over from St. Thomas. The ferry from St. Thomas to St. John is a popular day trip for some cruisers since St. John is just a short ferry ride away. If you plan on taking the ferry back and forth, definitely make sure you have enough time!
Cruise ships anchor just outside Cruz Bay for St. John, which requires a short tender ride. Additionally, Cruz Bay is where the local ferry docks. The area around Cruz Bay features restaurants, bars, and shops. When we were in St. John there were a few other cruise ships visiting, which definitely caused the island to feel packed from the beaches to the town. This is definitely an island that should limit the number of cruise ships.
We ended up walking around Cruz Bay since the island was busy and we weren’t sure how the weather would turn out (ended up being a hot day!). First, we started out by exploring the wharf area and shops. Next, we moved over to Mongoose Junction, which is supposedly the a “world-famous premier shopping and dining destination” (according to the Mongoose Junction website).
After checking out the shops we stopped at St. John Brewers, which had a small tap room at Mongoose Junction. The tap room was being expanded in December and the new section was still under construction at that time. Once the new tap room is complete, I’m sure the new space will be well utilized!
Now one thing I was not sure on was the beer production scale on St. John. It seems much of the beer produced by St. John Brewers is actually brewed on the mainland of the United States. I’m sure there is a small production facility on St. John, but most of the bottles are all coming from the East Coast. This is becoming rather common in the brewing industry today with contract brewing across the United States.
Overall the tap room was small but had a local feel to it and the service was good. I was really disappointed though the tap room did not offer a beer tasting flight. I really like having a tasting flight when visiting a brewery because this allows you to try the product and experience all a brewery has to offer. Unfortunately, this prevented us from really trying the beer by St. John Brewers. I ended up trying their Winter Ale since the Wheat Beer I wanted was not available due to a keg problem. This is a different style for me to drink since I’m not typically a fan of Winter Ales (unfortunately the name and tasting profile of the beer now escape me). I do recall I enjoyed the beer and the spicy notes to it.
Overall St. John was a fun day, though an extremely hot day. If you have the chance to check-out St. John while on a cruise or a trip to St. Thomas, I highly recommend popping over to St. John for a day.