Shopping, Sightseeing and Sand on St. Thomas
Pristine white sand and calm turquoise waters lie close to the busiest cruise ship harbor in the West Indies: Charlotte Amalie on the island of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. This port is accustomed to welcoming as many as 20,000 day visitors from cruise ships. Your ship may dock at Havensight Pier or at Crown Bay Pier – either is just a five-minute cab ride from downtown Charlotte Amalie. If the docks are full, your ship may anchor in the lovely harbor, and a tender will take you right to the center of town.
Charlotte Amalie is known for terrific shopping. A multitude of shops and boutiques are filled with fine pottery, fabric, artwork, crystal, clothing, perfume, watches and local crafts. When you get hungry, head to Market Square, an open-air market where you can try some of the fresh, local produce.
The port and downtown areas have many interesting colonial buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries. A must-see is Fort Christian, which was constructed when the island was ruled by Denmark and is the oldest standing structure in the U.S. Virgin Islands: one of the dungeons now holds a museum. St. Thomas Synagogue is the oldest synagogue in continuous use in the U.S. It has beautiful furnishings, made of mahogany, that rest on a sand floor. Visit Blackbeard’s Castle – actually, an old watch tower – for a great view of the island and harbor.
If you would rather spend your time in St. Thomas on the beach, you won’t have to go far. Magen’s Bay Beach, Coki Beach, and Sapphire Beach are among the island’s best, and all are within 30 minutes or less of the port. You can snorkel, scuba, windsurf, swim or simply enjoy the soft sand and warm sun.
St. Thomas also offers ferry service to two other U.S. Virgin Islands: scenic St. John and tiny Water Island, known for beautiful Honeymoon Beach.
St. Thomas is a port call on many Eastern Caribbean and Southern Caribbean cruise itineraries. You can also find it on Panama Canal and South American itineraries, especially if the cruise sails from or returns to Florida.
For more ideas on what to see and do in St. Thomas, talk with your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.