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Anyone done a Paradise Jam before?

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#1
We're thinking about it. We're familiar with St. Thomas but have never gone to a tournament before. Are there activities/events for fans outside of the games? Does each team have a selected hotel? Etc.? Any info appreciated. Thanks.
 

oldude

bamboo lover
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#2
Never done the Paradise Jam, but my wife and I have been to the USVI on many occasions and we love it. Great restaurants, boating, snorkeling, diving, hiking or just hanging out on one of many gorgeous beaches drinking rum. The one thing that has many of us concerned is the damage that resulted from the two Cat 5 hurricanes that hit the USVI last fall. Many of the hotels and related businesses are closed for major repairs. It takes a long time to build or repair anything in the USVI. The Governor of the islands has suggested that it will be 4 years before everything is back to normal, assuming they don't get hit again by a major storm.

Not saying don't go. My wife and I are also considering making the trip. But I strongly advise that you do your homework, checking out hotels, rental car agencies, etc. in advance to make sure that once you get there the island is in reasonably good shape to accommodate visitors.
 

HuskyNan

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#3
I went last time and am planning to go again this year. I think if you go thru UConn there is some kind of reception but the cost is much, much higher. Booking the trip myself got my family a relatively cheap vacation.

The games are in a gym about the size of a high school gym. You can sit directly behind the team - it’s open seating - and it’s a hoot to hear a relaxed Geno commenting on the game. I had a ball last time.

 
Joined
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#4
My wife and I went last time and stayed at the Frenchman’s Reef, the tournament HQ, along with all eight of the teams. We mainly spent the days at the pool complex with the players and rode the shuttle to the games in the evening. We took all our meals, including a very nice Thanksgiving buffet, at the hotel. The hotel is not walking distance to downtown, but we did shuttle down and walk around one day. This year we plan to return and build in a trip to St. John before the games begin.

It’s neat to hang out with players and observe their interactions. I remember being impressed with Stef Dolson’s leadership and extroverted personality. Several players’ parents and families were there and we had a chance to chat with some of them as well.
 
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#5
My wife and I went last time and stayed at the Frenchman’s Reef, the tournament HQ, along with all eight of the teams. We mainly spent the days at the pool complex with the players and rode the shuttle to the games in the evening. We took all our meals, including a very nice Thanksgiving buffet, at the hotel. The hotel is not walking distance to downtown, but we did shuttle down and walk around one day. This year we plan to return and build in a trip to St. John before the games begin.

It’s neat to hang out with players and observe their interactions. I remember being impressed with Stef Dolson’s leadership and extroverted personality. Several players’ parents and families were there and we had a chance to chat with some of them as well.


out of curiosity just checked on Frenchman's Reef and according to their web page they are closed for reconstruction until the end of 2019
 
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#6
If you go, stay wherever the players stay and enjoy being around them at the hotel. They will charge you an arm ana leg, but if you can afford it, do it. Then drive to the game. We went years ago when UConn played and we did not do this, because I am cheap. I would never do that again. Not only was driving from the other side of the island an incredible (and potentially dangerous) experience, the islanders we encountered were downright hostile. I would worry that given the damage, they may be even more hostile. Given the level of US financial support, I would not necessarily blame them. Historically, the US provides nowhere near enough support for the Virgin Islands, anyway.
 
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#7
My wife and I went...had a great time...my wife got to pose for a photo-op with Mel Thomas her favorite player. The picture in my avatar was shot on that trip while we were on a water taxi...
 
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#9
If you go, stay wherever the players stay and enjoy being around them at the hotel. They will charge you an arm ana leg, but if you can afford it, do it. Then drive to the game. We went years ago when UConn played and we did not do this, because I am cheap. I would never do that again. Not only was driving from the other side of the island an incredible (and potentially dangerous) experience, the islanders we encountered were downright hostile. I would worry that given the damage, they may be even more hostile. Given the level of US financial support, I would not necessarily blame them. Historically, the US provides nowhere near enough support for the Virgin Islands, anyway.
Wow I hadn't heard that about the hostile treatment before. The one time I went we also didn't stay at the team hotel, but Phil did get us to a party there. We had a good experience at the place where we stayed, and I thought we were treated great by the islanders.
 

HuskyNan

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#10
Wow I hadn't heard that about the hostile treatment before. The one time I went we also didn't stay at the team hotel, but Phil did get us to a party there. We had a good experience at the place where we stayed, and I thought we were treated great by the islanders.
We had absolutely no problems with our fellow Americans on St. Thomas or St. John's and we drove all over both islands. My husband and sons went to Red Hook on a fishing charter and enjoyed that part of the island as well. Never at any point did I feel unsafe, in fact, I walked all over the downtown area by myself and found everyone to be very friendly.
 
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#11
Wow I hadn't heard that about the hostile treatment before. The one time I went we also didn't stay at the team hotel, but Phil did get us to a party there. We had a good experience at the place where we stayed, and I thought we were treated great by the islanders.
We never felt unsafe. We felt unwanted. We stayed in a complex across the island from the games, and the people there were friendly and helpful. But we love to be off the beaten track, so we stopped at stores and restaurants --oriented to tourists but not downtown -- and people barely tolerated us. I remember stopping for directions at a store at one rural intersection and the four or five guys who were standing in front could barely bring themselves to talk with us.

And yes, I was aware of them being our fellow Americans at that time and have continued to be aware of it as we watched the tragedy that was the aftermath of the hurricane develop both in Puerto Rico, where they also are our fellow Americans, and the Virgin Islands.

If you google "Safety in the Virgin Islands," you'll see that the issue of crime has been a greater or lesser problem there over the years. Truth is, many of these people, our fellow Americans, are poor as churchmice. Other than jobs tied to tourism, mostly with no benefits and often part-time, there is little work. It is not hard to see how and why we tourists, their fellow Americans, would be resented.

I'm not saying to not go, or that you will have a bad time. I'd just advise to not do what we did. Stay where the team stays, or at a facility close by. Enjoy the beaches, which are beautiful. Watch the games, in (as someone else pointed out) a really unique atmosphere. And just be sensibly careful.
 
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#12
Wow I hadn't heard that about the hostile treatment before. The one time I went we also didn't stay at the team hotel, but Phil did get us to a party there. We had a good experience at the place where we stayed, and I thought we were treated great by the islanders.
I believe a few years ago the US Navy prohibited sailors from going ashore on St Croix due to severe crime......St Thomas has always had petty crime and a fair amount of violent crime too but as long as you stay in the major tourist spots it's pretty safe overall....I know they need the money but I do find it a bit strange that they are having a tournament down there with so much reconstruction still to be done..
 
Joined
Jan 11, 2018
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#13
I l
If you go, stay wherever the players stay and enjoy being around them at the hotel. They will charge you an arm ana leg, but if you can afford it, do it. Then drive to the game. We went years ago when UConn played and we did not do this, because I am cheap. I would never do that again. Not only was driving from the other side of the island an incredible (and potentially dangerous) experience, the islanders we encountered were downright hostile. I would worry that given the damage, they may be even more hostile. Given the level of US financial support, I would not necessarily blame them. Historically, the US provides nowhere near enough support for the Virgin Islands, anyway.
I live in the USVI and I am not hostile. Every place in the world has good and bad people. Trust me , you don't hear about people blowing up their self over here with suicide vests
 
Joined
Jan 11, 2018
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#14
Wow I hadn't heard that about the hostile treatment before. The one time I went we also didn't stay at the team hotel, but Phil did get us to a party there. We had a good experience at the place where we stayed, and I thought we were treated great by the islanders.
Thank you !!!!!!!
 

oldude

bamboo lover
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#15
I l

I live in the USVI and I am not hostile. Every place in the world has good and bad people. Trust me , you don't hear about people blowing up their self over here with suicide vests
Yes, but it sure does hurt when you step on a sea urchin. ;)
 

vtcwbuff

Civil War Buff
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#16
I've never done the Paradise Jam but I have vacationed on St Thomas and St Croix, including a couple of marlin fishing charters out of Red Hook, and visited both islands when in the Navy.

The reality is that the USVI has the highest murder rate (per capita) in the country. The FBI UCR has the USVI's murder rate almost half again that of Washington, DC. I don't know if the policy has changed, but in the 80's Navy policy was that sailors on liberty were not to wander around the island alone.

That doesn't mean that it's an especially dangerous place but visitors should be aware. I certainly wouldn't be walking around alone after dark but then the same could be said about most major cities on the mainland.
 
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#17
Of course there are wonderful people in any given locale. But we really did have the experience I described. It was not once, twice or three times. It was even in restaurants where pleasantness would be rewarded with a better tip. I don't know why it was that way. It just was.
 
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#18
Of course there are wonderful people in any given locale. But we really did have the experience I described. It was not once, twice or three times. It was even in restaurants where pleasantness would be rewarded with a better tip. I don't know why it was that way. It just was.
Totally believe you. We just didn't have the same experience. I had never heard of the high murder rate in ST until this thread. Never would have suspected that. Just seemed really laid back to me.
 
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