Cruising into St Thomas
St Thomas is one island in the Caribbean Sea that together with St John, Water Island and St Croix form a district of the U.S Virgin Islands. It's only small, 32 square miles to be exact and has a population of 51,634 people (2010) but it offers plenty of activities and is a popular port of call for Caribbean cruises.
The capital of St Thomas, Charlotte Amalie is the main cruise port and boasts one of the most breathtaking harbors you will find. It has a rich history which includes being a haven for pirates in the 1600's to a U.S. submarine base until 1966. The deep-water harbor is now one of the busiest ports of call for cruise ships in the Caribbean.
No longer a pirate haven Charlotte Amalie is now a favorite destination for vacationers looking for beautiful beaches. fishing, snorkeling and some of their own treasure in the form of duty free shopping. The best way to get around is on organized shore excursions although taxi's and rental cars are available should you wish to undertake your own adventure.
Here are some favorite shore excursions in and around St Thomas:
Visit Coral World Ocean Park and get up close and personal with resident animals including turtles, stingrays, tortoises, fish and other sea creatures. On offer are additional activities including Sea Lion Encounter or Swim, Snuba Dive and Turtle Encounter. This 4.5 acre park has an underwater observatory tower, tropical nature trail, marine gardens aquarium and an 80 000 gallon coral reef tank.
Shopping expedition - If shopping is your thing, you'll be impressed with what is on offer. You can find more information on the Port Shopping Guide courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line. The currency is USD.
Sail to Turtle Cove and snorkel with tropical fish and green sea turtles in the warm water.
Hire a catamaran and hit the beaches to snorkel and chill
Experience a BOSS underwater adventure
St Thomas exploration drive to visit points of interest such as Black Point Hill, Drake's Seat overlooking Magen's Bay, Mahogany Run, Beacon Point and the scenery along Skyline Drive. Take photos, enjoy the scenery and sit back and learn more about St Thomas's fascinating history.
Certified diving expedition
Water activities including sailing, kayaking, sport fishing, windsurfing, parasailing and kite boarding.
For those that don't want to get wet you can still enjoy the marine life on a submarine cruise and glass-bottom boat ride or just relax and enjoy one of more than 40 pristine white sand beaches with warm turquoise waters.
You won't be bored on your visit to St Thomas and there's something for everyone to keep you entertained during your port visit.
Fun facts about St Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Charlotte Amalie is the largest historical town in the United States
The U.S. Virgin Islands has been a shopping destination since 1607 when US settlers stopped off in Charlotte Amalie to stock up on supplies.
The U.S. Virgin Islands are the only place in the United States where you drive on the left-hand side of the road.
St Thomas has the second oldest synagogue with sand floors in the Western Hemisphere. It was declared a National Landmark in 1997 and its menorah dates back to the 11th century.
The U.S. Virgin Islands is the only US Territory to be bordered by both the Atlantic and Caribbean Sea.
St Thomas has the nickname of "Rock City", a name given to it by the locals due to its hilly terrain.
* Facts courtesy of United States Virgin Islands Department of Tourism Press Room