Due to the devastation of the Hurricane Irma, St. Thomas and its two cruise harbors - Crown Bay and Havensight - have been off limits.
However, the good new is that cruise ships will start calling at St. Thomas on November 10, the day when the Adventure of the Seas (Royal Caribbean) is scheduled to dock in Crown Bay.
Local reporters and senior managment of Royal Caribbean assure that the downtown area of Charlotte Amalie is back in good shape and will be open for business.
It should be noted that Magen’s Bay, one of the most popular beach attractions in St. Thomas, is still being restored but that all work should be completed during the month of November.
In the paragraphs below and all other pages, you will find reviews and travel guides written and photographed before Hurricane Irma.
Do join IQCrusing in wishing a fast recovery and do all we can to get these ports back in the cruise ship itineraries.
St. Thomas is one of the most visited islands in the Caribbean and the most popular of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Located in the Northeastern area of the Caribbean Sea, St. Thomas is part of the Leeward Islands that enjoys both a wonderful and reliable weather in the winter months.
Photo by Matt Wade CC-by SA
St. Thomas is a small island with 32 square miles (about the same size as Manhattan - 33.77 square miles). One of the nicest aspects of calling on a cruise to this island is that St. Thomas is both safe and very easy to explore. Cruise ships offer excellent tours to most of St. Thomas attractions and highlights but if you wish to explore the island on your own the taxi services are very good alternatives. Taxis are fairly priced and can literally take the cruise ship traveler to all highlights, beaches, main sites and attractions.
► Explore: Top Highlights in St. Thomas
Reviews of Charlotte Amalie, Magens Bay Beach, Coral World, St. Thomas Synagogue, Mountain Top, Zipline, Paradise Point, Butterfly Farm and more ...
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Ancoring - Charlotte Amalie Bay
Photo © IQCruising.com
Being one of the most popular ports in the caribbean with more than 1.5 million visitors per year, St. Thomas has two cruise ship harbors: the Havensight Cruise Ship Dock with 3 docking spots - Check What's in Havensight; and the Crown Bay Cruise Ship Dock with 2 docking spots - Check What's in Crown Bay. Even so, sometimes cruise ships have to anchor in the bay right in front of Charlotte Amalie and be tendered to town - Discover where ships Tender. Wherever yor cruise ship docks it will be very easy to travel around.
St. Thomas is known for its sugar-white sand beaches - Magens Bay is rated amongst the top 10 in the World - although sometimes these can get a bit crowded when there are 5 to 6 ships in port. However, there are so many beaches to explore that you will surely find a nice spot to enjoy the spectacular Caribbean Sea with its crystal clear turquoise waters.
Shops - Charlotte Amalie
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St. Thomas is also praised amongst savvy cruisers as a Shopper's Paradise and it is guaranteed that before arriving in port you will have onboard your cruise ship 'shopping guides' marketing selected stores - the likes of Diamonds International, Effy, Tanzanite and so on. The onboard guide will be offering all sorts of bargains, coupons, deals, and promotions. However, besides the stores promoted by the onboard shopping guide, there are many other shops that the cruise traveler should look into.
If the cruise ship traveler chooses to explore Charlotte Amalie, the capital of St. Thomas, where most shops are located and where you will find some very interesting landmarks, you should contemplate having lunch or even a quick bite downtown where there are quite a few nice places to eat.
Most of the historical landmarks in St. Thomas are located in Charlotte Amalie and there is an interesting itinerary that will take you to all of these, including the famous Blackbeard's Castle, the 99 steps and Fort Christian amongst 20 other landmarks. But if you do not have the time, the energy or the interest to see all of these, you should at least visit the Synagogue with its unusual sand floor.
Cruise Ships Docking - St. Thomas
Photo © IQCruising.com
For those interested in more active pleasures Ziplinning in St. Thomas is a must. The Coral World Ocean Park offers exotic aquatic adventures and the Mahogany Run Golf Course a unique green experience. A sightseeing tour of the island will take you to the Mountain Top, Drakes Seat or the Paradise Point where you will enjoy astonishing sceneries. The latter is easy to do it on your own if docked at Havensight Cruise Ship Dock. For those that prefer to explore off-the-beaten-track sites or that have been in St. Thomas before, an excursion to the pristine beauty and quaint charm of St. John should be in your plans.
|Language||English is the official language.|
|Currency:||The US$ dollar is the official currency and legal tender.|
|Phones:||Area Code: 340. Most US phones may work but is advisable to check with your provider to avoid roaming charges.|
|Entry Requirements:||Passport NOT is required for U.S. citizens with valid photo ID such as a driver's license. Non-U.S. visitors are required a valid passport.|
|Electricity:||Standard American 120 V current.|
|Rent-a-Car:||Avis and Budget by the Havensight Mall. Thrifty and Dollar at the Airport.|
|Driving:||Driving is on the left.|
|Drinking:||Legal drinking age is 18 years.|
|Smoking:||Smoking is prohibited in restaurants and public buildings. Bars may allow smoking outdoors.|
|ATM's:||On the main street in Charlotte Amalie and at both cruise terminals.|
St. Thomas and the all U.S. Virgin Islands are on AST (Atlantic Standard Time) and do not participate in daylight saving time. When the mainland United States is on Standard Time, the U.S. Virgin Islands are one hour ahead of (EST) Eastern Standard Time.
When the mainland United States is on daylight saving time, Eastern Daylight Time is the same as AST (Atlantic Standard Time).
How FREE is Tax FREE?
St. Thomas is a duty-free port that offers tax breaks to both retailers and also consumers. Hence the lower prices offered by shops in the U.S. Virgin Islands. However, the cruise ship traveler should be aware that there are limitations to the amount of goods that can be taken home. U.S. residents are allowed: $1,600 per person; 5 liters of liquor (residents over 21 years); 5 cartons of cigarettes and 100 cigars (but not from Cuba); all island made items and loose gemstones are exempt.
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