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Thread: Flight v. Ferry for Nervous Traveler

  1. #1
    celesteA is offline
    SBH New Member Joined: Jul 2019 Posts: 7

    Flight v. Ferry for Nervous Traveler

    Hello!
    So my husband John & I have decided to visit St. Bart's again without children just one more time before we decide to introduce them to the island!....we are visiting in June (same time we went this year--we loved it!) as it works better for my husband's work schedule....The question this time around is: flight or ferry? Background: we took the ferry last time...overall, it was fine but I'm a nervous nelly with everything so I managed to find something to feel anxious about regardless...this time, we are working with a new concierge company who has been great so far (Sibarth) and they are insistent upon flying as it is faster, etc. Now if there are any of you reading this who share my fear of flying (& fear of most everything that isn't on the solid ground), which do you prefer? Please share honest experiences...I'm really trying to weigh the two options...I know the flight will be more convenient, etc. and it's perhaps a matter of feeling miserable for 45 min or 15 but the descriptions I have read online in other places about flying talk about needing a change of underwear because it's that bad or people nearly having heart attacks so I'm not sure how much of that is exaggerated or not and I find I trust this group much more...Many thanks in advance!!!
    Best,
    Celeste

  2. #2
    amyb is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 25,528

    Re: Flight v. Ferry for Nervous Traveler

    Fly--it is a fun experience. Never regretted the trip and it is over and done with so quickly.

    They do not call it the VOMIT COMET for nothing-seas can be rough.

    In any case, try the plane and you will then be better able to choose what to do when you come as a family.

    Be strong! Take drugs. God knows it helped Missy aka Lambchop!
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  3. #3
    KevinS is online now
    Senior Insider Joined: Jul 2003 Boston Posts: 19,705

    Re: Flight v. Ferry for Nervous Traveler

    Stop reading other people’s over-dramiticized experiences.

    15 vs. 45.

    Fly.

  4. #4
    andynap is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 43,682

    Re: Flight v. Ferry for Nervous Traveler

    Fly. If you take pictures while you are in the air it will take your mind off of any fear. There are plenty of photo ops around starting with the port in St Martin with the big ships and ending with the harbor in St Barts and the landing. 15 minutes goes by in a flash.


    Andy

  5. #5
    GMP62 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Feb 2015 Martinsville, NJ Posts: 1,427

    Re: Flight v. Ferry for Nervous Traveler

    I wholeheartedly agree with Amy and Kevin...flying is the best way to go. You'll never know unless you give it a try, Celeste, and then you can make your own comparisons!

    Gayle

  6. #6
    NancySC is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Sep 2017 Posts: 842

    Re: Flight v. Ferry for Nervous Traveler

    I would fly & have done so more times than I can count, this comes from a 1st time flier, solo, at 10 yrs old, in the states, later on becoming a fearful flier & overcoming that fear eventually flying as far as Hong Kong, home from Singapore. Have done Winair/WM & Tradewind...short vs long, SXM vs SJU. With children, would do SXM. Don't forget St Barth Commuter too/SBC.

  7. #7
    Tiffany is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Jun 2014 Virginia Beach, VA Posts: 642

    Re: Flight v. Ferry for Nervous Traveler

    The flight is fun and pretty, and I don’t love to fly. I do opt for Winair because I’m one of the people who like having two pilots in the cockpit.

  8. #8
    GramChop is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2007 Austin, Texas Posts: 17,039

    Re: Flight v. Ferry for Nervous Traveler

    Quote Originally Posted by amyb View Post
    Fly--it is a fun experience. Never regretted the trip and it is over and done with so quickly.

    They do not call it the VOMIT COMET for nothing-seas can be rough.

    In any case, try the plane and you will then be better able to choose what to do when you come as a family.

    Be strong! Take drugs. God knows it helped Missy aka Lambchop!
    Celeste...I get your anxiety as I, too, suffer. Claustrophobia is my issue. I put a .5mg of Lorazepam/Ativan pill under my tongue about 30 minutes prior to boarding ANY plane and that is sufficient to keeping anxiety at bay for several hours. I can't board a plane without it..I've tried. Phobia/Anxiety is not a joke and it affects us all uniquely.

    I have taken the ferry (once) to avoid medication and I will NEVER take it again. I am not prone to seasickness but it hit me hard. The effects of that 45 minute ride lasted well into the next day.

    My opinion is to see your Dr prior to departure and secure a prescription for Lorazepam and take the 15 minute plane ride. I also keep my camera in my hand and photograph/video the entire way to keep my brain occupied.

    I truly hope my experience helps you, Celeste. Reach out by PM if you'd like.

    -Missy
    The waves of the sea bring me back to me.

  9. #9
    MartinS is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2003 Snead Island, Florida. Posts: 3,102

    Re: Flight v. Ferry for Nervous Traveler

    Andynap said it best,,,, busy yourself with something to keep your mind on something else.

    There is so much hype on the landing that many believe it is a death dive to the runway. If you are looking out the window, marveling at the island view, you wont even know what the plane is doing. Take pictures, get a great video, before you know it you will over.

    I captain yachts, US seaboard and Caribbean. I have flown to and from SXM/SBH 25 + times.... I wouldn't even consider the ferry ride.

    Earlier this year I was moving a yacht with the owner and his son on board. In conversation the son, 25yrs old or so, mentioned that he recently visited SBH. The son is a blue water sailor (racing) and all. Atlantic crossings. The son stated he had ferried from SXM to SBH, and would NEVER do that again.

    I am headed to SBH late June, book my flight, I'll hold your hand,,,,,


    And then there's what Missy said,,,,,


    M
    Sometimes there's Justice, sometimes there's just us.

  10. #10
    stbartshopper is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2013 Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A. Posts: 8,213

    Re: Flight v. Ferry for Nervous Traveler

    We took the Ferry once because we had to. Seas were rough and my wife was sick all the 45 minutes.
    As Steve Miller said ‘FLY Like an Eagle.’

  11. #11
    dadto6 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Aug 2013 Northern Virginia Posts: 1,809

    Re: Flight v. Ferry for Nervous Traveler

    I have been countless times and have never taken the ferry. What is the point of risking sea sickness?

  12. #12
    lvbookworm is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Feb 2019 Las Vegas, NV Posts: 59

    Re: Flight v. Ferry for Nervous Traveler

    We took the ferry to/from SBH in February. The trip over was a delight as it was a perfectly calm, sunny day. I felt like I was on a sightseeing cruise. BUT...I believe this was a rare event. Our return trip was somewhat rough and, although I didn’t get sick, I was VERY happy to get back on dry land.

    I like Amy’s suggestion above: fly this time so you can make an informed decision about what to do with kids in tow.

  13. #13
    bkeats is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2010 Nuevo York Posts: 604

    Re: Flight v. Ferry for Nervous Traveler

    I think that people (especially those that have never been) and the internet tend to exaggerate everything. Its always the best or the worst. One star or five stars.

    The actual flight time is more like 10 minutes. Its a beautiful ride.

    I've taken the ferry twice before. I'm a blue water sailor and I found it to be an uncomfortable ride. Didn't get sick but the pounding to windward for an hour was not fun. In contrast I love actually sailing between the islands with a stiff breeze and spray flying over the bow.

    But these days I fly every time unless there is no choice. My wife isn't the best flyer but she has gotten so used to the flight that these days she doesn't even look up from the book that she is usually reading until we land.

  14. #14
    chiz is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Sep 2017 Richmond, Va Posts: 46

    Re: Flight v. Ferry for Nervous Traveler

    I have a fear of height...flying was always a concern...on our early trips I would have a couple of adult beverages at SXM...then fly with my eyes glued to the floor of the plane.Now ...the flight does not bother me...no adult beverages are consumed and my eyes are glued to the window just soaking up the sights and experience....feel very safe in the plane. As many have stated the ferry can be a real problem if there is any kind of "weather". We did one trip on the ferry...it was packed solid...very hot, up and down on the waves...there were only a handful of people that did not get sick...I was a lucky one but my wife was not

  15. #15

    Re: Flight v. Ferry for Nervous Traveler

    We have always taken the ferry until our most recent trip when we flew. We had two rough ferry crossings over the years and many more smooth ones. I think we're converts to flying now, though. I can be a nervous flyer, but, for me, the anticipation was far worse than the actual experience. It was quick, smooth and scenic--which made it seem even quicker.

  16. #16
    Dennis is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Apr 2004 Austin, TX Posts: 9,445

    Re: Flight v. Ferry for Nervous Traveler

    The hysteria about the flight is the most overhyped thing about St Barths.

    My wife was terrified the first time, now she wants to sit in the co=pilot seat.

    Due to flight delays, we were forced to take the ferry our very first trip to St Barths. It was disgusting. Never again.

    We stay over in St Martin rather than take the ferry.

    Fly, baby, fly!

  17. #17

    Re: Flight v. Ferry for Nervous Traveler

    Cheryl gets sea sick when she sees a boat so that decision was taken away from us back in 87. Yes we agree Cheryl takes a gazillion pics in the air and the time passes quickly. The exhilarating view 2 minutes towards touchdown can’t be replicated anywhere else.

  18. #18
    Jim A is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Jan 2017 NY Posts: 321

    Re: Flight v. Ferry for Nervous Traveler

    I can't speak for anyone else but after one bad ferry experience I will never do it again unless forced, plus I love the plane ride. I see that you had a good experience on the ferry last time and having only done it once myself I can't say if you were lucky or just a "ferry person" or both. I do get the idea that those small planes would probably be an immense source of anxiety for someone with a fear of flying, but when you are actually on the plane it's kind of weird. The plane is so small that you feel like you are in a mini-bus and nothing about it feels dangerous or scary or that anything can go wrong and although obviously I could not, you kind of get the feeling that you could just land it yourself like a car (er...a flying car). I guess my point is that I suspect that your fear of what the flight will be, will ultimately be much different than how you will actually feel during the flight. It's really an incredibly scenic flight. BUT,,,if it makes you so nervous that the thought of it is going to ruin the anticipation of your upcoming trip, you do have the ferry option. My advice is have a couple of rum punches at the SXM waiting area and enjoy the flight!!!

  19. #19
    cassidain is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2007 Ailleurs Posts: 6,264

    Re: Flight v. Ferry for Nervous Traveler

    do I recall that le col de la tourmente was lowered at some point ? presumably to make the approach safer?
    Fils du Sud - Ministre de la Santé

    If I can't wear my Havaianas, I ain't goin'...ÀMHA

  20. #20
    andynap is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 43,682

    Re: Flight v. Ferry for Nervous Traveler

    Quote Originally Posted by cassidain View Post
    do I recall that le col de la tourmente was lowered at some point ? presumably to make the approach safer?
    Yes


    Andy

  21. #21
    cassidain is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2007 Ailleurs Posts: 6,264

    Re: Flight v. Ferry for Nervous Traveler

    I think the Col de la Tourmente was lowered at some point. Does anyone know when and by how much?
    Fils du Sud - Ministre de la Santé

    If I can't wear my Havaianas, I ain't goin'...ÀMHA

  22. #22
    elgreaux is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2003 Saint Barth Posts: 10,241

    Re: Flight v. Ferry for Nervous Traveler

    Quote Originally Posted by cassidain View Post
    I think the Col de la Tourmente was lowered at some point. Does anyone know when and by how much?
    I don't remember when but the road was not only lowered but moved closer to the mountain side, away from the approach to the runway, as I recall following an incident where a plane almost ripped the roof off of a truck. I remember years ago, often literally ducking in the car when a plane was overhead, knee-jerk reaction...

  23. #23
    KevinS is online now
    Senior Insider Joined: Jul 2003 Boston Posts: 19,705

    Re: Flight v. Ferry for Nervous Traveler

    Quote Originally Posted by elgreaux View Post
    I don't remember when but the road was not only lowered but moved closer to the mountain side, away from the approach to the runway, as I recall following an incident where a plane almost ripped the roof off of a truck. I remember years ago, often literally ducking in the car when a plane was overhead, knee-jerk reaction...
    When was the landslide on the road between the Dispensary and La Tourmente, which sent two Gendarmes on a wild ride? My recollection is that work on the road realignment had started before then, but was temporarily halted after the storm, but I don't remember which storm it was.

  24. #24
    Cctdad is offline
    SBH New Member Joined: Jan 2016 Posts: 3

    Re: Flight v. Ferry for Nervous Traveler

    Did the ferry the first time. 45 minutes of rocking and rolling. By plane 15 minutes of slipping and sliding maybe. Your choice. We love the plane.

  25. #25
    dadto6 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Aug 2013 Northern Virginia Posts: 1,809

    Re: Flight v. Ferry for Nervous Traveler

    Welcome to the forum Cctdad.

  26. #26
    TPunch42 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2006 San Diego, CA Posts: 1,721

    Re: Flight v. Ferry for Nervous Traveler

    fly

  27. #27
    bkeats is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2010 Nuevo York Posts: 604

    Re: Flight v. Ferry for Nervous Traveler

    Quote Originally Posted by TPunch42 View Post
    fly
    The flys [sic] have it. Motion carried.

    Let us know how it goes. We will probably be back in June too. Maybe we will run into you on the flight over.

  28. #28

    Re: Flight v. Ferry for Nervous Traveler

    Have a few stiff drinks, plug your favorite music into your ears... and fly
    Steve and Aimee

  29. #29
    TPunch42 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2006 San Diego, CA Posts: 1,721

    Re: Flight v. Ferry for Nervous Traveler

    Junies are the best!

  30. #30
    Mrsm6-7-08 is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Jan 2013 Long Island Posts: 188

    Re: Flight v. Ferry for Nervous Traveler

    First hand experience, my first few trips to St. Bart’s was on the ferry. It was brutal. Not only is driving from the airport long and not a fun experience but the whole ferry with the waves is just really bad if you hit bad weather. We were both scared of flying on a small plane. We started taking win air and now we do San Juan to SBH via tradewind. Which is longer but more enjoyable.

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