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Cruise Diva Goes Ashore in the Caribbean
Sights to see & things to do

St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands

Charlotte Amalie, once a favorite port stop of seafarers and pirates, is the capital of St. Thomas. While it can be crowded with shoppers, it’s an energetic commercial center with stores housed in what were once warehouses full of pirate booty.

Most cruise ships dock at Havensight. However, with as many as ten ships a day calling during peak season, a few anchor in the picturesque harbor and others dock at the Crown Bay Marina pier.


Dominating the center of Charlotte Amalie is Fort Christian and the site of the Virgin Islands Museum, a rather smallish, but free attraction. Leave the city via taxi or tour van and venture to Mountain Top, the highest spot on the island and the place to cool off with a delicious banana daiquiri and marvel at the breathtaking view. Another dramatic way to enjoy St. Thomas’ panorama is a ride on the Paradise Point Tramway, a short stroll from Havensight. It’s a popular spot to enjoy lunch and a cool drink while admiring the cruise ships and harbor spread out below. 

A popular family attraction in St. Thomas is Coral World Ocean Park. View marine life in the three-story underwater observation tower (without getting wet) and observe everything from playful sea horses to sharks and moray eels in the tanks of the Marine Garden Aquarium. Take advantage of the proximity of Coki Beach to relax until time to return to your ship.

Some of the most popular and fun ships’ tours include a boat ride to a secluded beach for snorkeling and swimming. Often included is a lethal rum punch concoction.


Long revered as the Caribbean’s duty-free shopping Mecca, St. Thomas has lost some of its bargain-pricing luster, but you can’t tell from the number of visitors crowding Main Street in Charlotte Amalie or the Havensight Mall. Buyers beware—while low prices still abound on many items, it pays to check local discount stores before leaving home. At best you’ll find just what you want, at worst you’ll save the sales tax.

Should your ship call in St. Thomas on a Sunday, stores in Charotte Amalie close at 1pm; however, shops at Havensight stay open until 5pm.


Aside from world class shopping, St. Thomas is home to Magens Bay, one of the world’s loveliest beaches. There’s a small admission and changing rooms, snorkel equipment, and lounge chairs are available for rent. Other popular beach destinations are Coki Beach, Brewer’s Beach, and Morning Star. It’s a simple matter to hire a taxi to your beach of choice.

Fodor's Caribbean Ports of Call 2013
is all you need to plan your days ashore, PLUS a cruise primer section and cruise line profiles by Cruise Diva, Linda Coffman

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