10 AM is departure time from the Villa (and also the time by which you must return your rental vehicle; otherwise you can be charged for an extra day!). If there are guests arriving at Great Expectations the day of your departure, the housekeeping staff will be at the Villa around 9 AM to start washing the sheets and towels and begin cleaning. If there is no arrival the day of your departure, it may be possible to extend this time (if you wish a later check-out time, please discuss it in advance with Patti). If your flight is not leaving until later in the day, you may wish to leave your luggage at Connections in Cruz Bay or the Visitor Center in Charlotte Amalie in order to spend some more time shopping or whatever.
Unless you have rented vehicles on St. Thomas, there are two main ways to get to the airport on St. Thomas (you can also reserve a private water taxi from Dohm’s Water Taxi @ 340-775-6501):
The ferry takes about 45 minutes and costs $13 per person (children under 12 yrs of age $3.50) plus $4 per bag. It is a lovely ride (as long as there is not a lot of wind which may build up swells on the south side of St. Thomas) into the beautiful, turquoise harbor of Charlotte Amalie. You will be about a 5 minute ride from the airport and there are always taxis (should be about $10 per person) waiting to meet the ferry which leaves St. John for Charlotte Amalie at 8:45AM, 11:15AM, and 3:45PM.
If your flight is leaving in the afternoon (as most flights to the states do), we highly recommend taking the 11:15 AM or 1:15 PM ferry from Cruz Bay on St. John to downtown Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas. If you go early to do some duty-free shopping in Charlotte Amalie or to have lunch there (we recommend the Greenhouse across from where the ferry docks, or Hook, Line and Sinker in Frenchtown – just walk along the waterfront past the seaplane dock and take the first street on the left at the corner past the Post Office), you can leave your luggage with a taxi and arrange to be picked-up later to be taken to the airport (see below for how much time you will need at the airport).
This ferry costs $7 per person (children under 12 yrs of age $1) plus $4 per bag and takes about 20 minutes and then it is about a 30 minute (depending on traffic) taxi ride ($15 per person plus $3 per bag) to the airport. There are always taxis waiting to meet the ferry on St. Thomas to take you to the airport. This ferry leaves St. John every hour on the hour from 6 AM to 11 PM.
If you have rented vehicles on St. Thomas, the vehicle barges are scheduled (mechanical breakdowns, US Coast Guard inspections, hangovers, etc., may cause cancellations/delays which is why we recommended not renting vehicles on St. Thomas) to depart Cruz Bay at 5:30 AM on weekdays (Boyson), 6 AM except on Sundays (Boyson), 6:15 AM on weekdays (Love City).
If you have a very early plane or just want to spend time exploring St Thomas you might consider staying at Bluebeard’s Castle Hotel located on the east side of Charlotte Amalie and a convenient taxi ride to restaurants and the airport. Many of Bluebeard’s rooms include a small kitchen with refrigerator, microwave, and coffee maker and most have views of Charlotte Amalie harbor. If you are a guest of Great Expectations tell Reservations and you will be given a 10% discount on your stay!
You may have been told by your airline to arrive at the airport 3-4 hours before your flight (2 hours is probably plenty, but American Airlines is reportedly refusing to check-in passengers arriving less than 90 minutes before their flights so be very careful, or follow our advice – see the paragraph in red below – and hire a porter). Once you get through US Customs and TSA security, you will be in a large (air-conditioned) waiting room with an informal restaurant (good local food), your usual airport gift shop, and duty-free jewelry, liquor and perfume stores.
If you have luggage to check, you will need to go to the airline check-in counter at the St. Thomas airport so do not bother to print out your boarding passes in advance; they will not even look at them (but they will want to see your passport or government-issued photo ID). They will weigh any bags to be checked (but not your carry-on’s) and then hand the weighed bags back to you (with the baggage tags for your flight attached) so if you have any doubt about the weight of each bag, leave out the heavy stuff to carry with you and then you can re-pack the luggage after it is weighed and before you turn it over to TSA for screening and loading on your flight).
Upon arriving at the airport terminal, we recommend hiring a porter (the charge is only $3 per bag, but a little more will ensure the process goes smoothly); whether you are checking your luggage or carrying it all on-board your flight, the porter will escort you and your baggage to a ‘special’ line for US Customs and Immigration and then direct you (while he/she takes your checked luggage to TSA) to a special TSA area (for the usual TSA check of you and your carry-on baggage) thereby, eliminating any long, public lines. Trust us, it is well worth the cost, especially on a Saturday when the airport is crowded with passengers!