St. Thomas to St. Croix – Rum Running in a Seaplane

Seaborne Airlines is fast, affordable and fun.

The adrenaline rush you get as the pilots go to full power launching the Seaborne Airlines, Twin Otter across Charlotte Amalie Harbor and skyward is a thrill. As the pontoons break free of the Caribbean the plane levels out less than 50 feet above the harbor to pick up speed. This trip to islands is starting out magnificent.

At the Seaplane Base

At the Seaplane Base ©2011 Carl Grooms

Seaborne Airlines has been flying the only seaplane service between St. Thomas and St. Croix since 1992. They have safely carried over 1.7 million people between the islands with around 35 flights per day. The best part? If you book it right, it’ll cost you less than $100 each way and only take 18 minutes. Compare that to a ferry that will cost you $50 and take 90 minutes. If you do the rum math, you spend an extra $50 but have an extra hour and 12 minutes at the tiki bar. Works for me.

The service flies from downtown Charlotte Amalie harbor almost every half hour making it very convenient. The seaplane base is nestled to the western side of the harbor near the traditional ferry terminals. It is a short taxi ride from Cyril E. King International Airport. If you have time you can walk over to the Edward Wilmoth Blyden Marine Terminal next door and enjoy a drink from the second floor patio at the Petite Pump Room. They have a real strong rum punch if you need one prior to take off.

Twin Otter Takeoff

Twin Otter Takeoff ©2011 Carl Grooms

If your plane arrives in St. Thomas later in the afternoon you will most likely miss the Seaborne connection as they do not fly at night. My recommendation is save a little money and a lot of energy by booking the Best Western Carib Beach Resort. If you packed light you can walk the 300 yards to the hotel from baggage claim and save the taxi fare. Calling this a resort is an overstatement, the rooms are run down but clean. The bedding is acceptable and the staff nice.


Skyward! ©2011 Carl Grooms

Once you drop your things walk over to the tiki hut for your first rum drink. They make a passable Painkiller. The setting on Lindbergh Bay is beautiful, take your drink and walk down past the pool and reconfirm that life is good. The bar closes at 10 (the travesty) which will ensure you get a good night sleep. Grab some breakfast back at the bar in the morning and get over to the seaplane base early. If you time it right you can still grab a rum punch at the Petite Pump Room. You are in the islands you are allowed a rum for breakfast.

St. Croix Bound

St. Croix Bound ©2011 Carl Grooms

The first flight of the day goes at 7 but with flights every thirty minutes don’t stress. Once aboard make sure you have your camera out. You will want to remember this trip and share it with friends back home. The 44 mile flight is over too fast. Before you know it you will be on final approach to Christiansted harbor in St. Croix. Your approach will be unlike any landing you have ever experienced. The pilots will level out just above the water and ever so gently feel their way down the final few feet. As soon as the pontoons make contact with Caribbean the plane will quickly decelerate due to the friction and tension of the water.

Your time in St. Croix is underway and you’ve arrived in style. The grin on your face says it all. Enjoy the beauty of St. Croix. What might seem as a luxurious way to get here is really the best solution for island hoping.

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One Response to “St. Thomas to St. Croix – Rum Running in a Seaplane”

  1. Conchyjoe August 10, 2011 at 11:54 am #

    Watching the Seaborne planes take off and land from the restaurant at the Marine Terminal in Charlotte Amalie is an inexpensive attraction.

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