Almost all of the sailing between islands during our cruise was done at night. We left Puerto Rico at 10pm on our first night and woke up in St. Thomas, which is part of the US Virgin Islands, around 7am. For someone who likes to travel as much as me, it was a magical feeling going to bed in one place and waking up in another. It felt like a dream! A few seconds after groggily waking up, it occurred to us that we were somewhere new and beautiful so we immediately hopped out of bed and eagerly peered out our cabin window to take in the sights!
It was unreal to me how the ship came into port and docked without us feeling a thing! Unfortunately, we were docked on the starboard side of the ship, which was the side that our stateroom was on, so we didn’t have much of a view because the harbor was on the port side. So we excitedly got dressed and went upstairs to the lido deck for breakfast.
Having a free breakfast on the ship before our day of adventuring!
The lido deck had expansive windows and the upper decks were open air so we were able to get our first views of the island, and it was stunning!
The picturesque anchorage was dotted with sailboats, while million-dollar yachts lined the shoreline near Charlotte Amalie. One of the yachts even had its own helicopter parked on the bow!
In the backdrop, the rolling hills towered over the harbor. It was idyllic, and we couldn’t wait to get off the ship and go explore!
We had originally planned on taking a beginner’s scuba diving course in St. Thomas as an excursion through Carnival. However, due to the short amount of time on the island and wanting to be able to explore it more, we opted to take an open-air island tour with a beach stop at Magen’s Bay. Upon getting into our tour vehicle, we noticed that the driver’s seat was on the left hand side of the vehicle, however, people drove on the left side of the road there. Typically, in countries that drive on the left side of the road, the driver’s seat is on the right side of the vehicle, so this was kind of unique to see. It was the first place we had ever been where they drive on the opposite side of the street from what we are used to, so it was simple fun for us to experience.
Our first stop was at a lookout called Drake’s Seat. This spot offered fantastic views of surrounding islands, as well as the pristine Magen’s Bay, which was the beach we were headed to. The water along the shoreline was a beautiful transparent teal blue color due to the sandy bottom.
After a short stop at Drake’s Seat and snapping a few photos of the gorgeous landscape, we hopped back in our buggy for a short ride down the mountain to the beach. Our driver gave us two hours to swim, relax and explore.
The water was so transparent that I had to try out my underwater camera! There were a lot of lightly colored fish swimming around that almost blended in with the water and the sand, but I managed to capture a couple before they swam too far away.
Camouflaged fish at Magen’s Bay
After a salty swim, a walk on the beach, and witnessing a wedding at Magen’s Bay, we wandered up to the snack bar and had some pizza for lunch and did a little shopping at the beach store. Dustin was happy to find that the shop sold his favorite sandals!
After our peaceful time at the beach, we were driven back into Charlotte Amalie and our tour ended at Paradise Point. Paradise Point is a beautiful lookout point situated 700 feet above Charlotte Amalie, overlooking the harbor, cruise ships, and the islands. There are cable cars that take you to the top and once you reach the top, there is a restaurant, bar, shops, free Wi-Fi and beautiful photo ops!
There is one really neat shop in particular called the Pirate’s Chest, which sells authentic treasure coins, salvaged from the sea. I wanted to be a salvage diver/oceanographer/marine biologist when I was little (and still do!) so this place was really fun for me to look around! Dustin and I purchased a coin ornament here for our Travel Tree. Outside of the store, they had a fun pirate cut out for photos.
After taking in all of the beauty that we possibly could, we rode the cable cars back down to sea level and started walking towards the main town of Charlotte Amalie to see what we could get into with our remaining few hours on the island. Dustin’s foot had been bothering him, and it was quite a long jog around the bay to town, so when a taxi driver stopped and asked us if we wanted a lift, it was a very welcomed $4.00 air-conditioned ride! We got dropped off about 5 minutes later downtown and after walking around a bit, decided to see if we could find a boat ride to be able to see a little more of the island. However, our narrow window of time that we had left prevented us from being able to go on any of the tours that we found so we just hung out by the water for a bit.
A little depressed that we had to leave already, we started heading in the direction of the ship. On the way back, I saw a sign in front of Bones Rum that said “Free Rum Tasting” and “Pour Your Own Rum”. Intrigued and in need of a refreshing drink after walking around in the hot Caribbean sun for the past couple of hours, we decided to stop by and try the local rum. We had a really outgoing and funny local server who seemed quite amused when she handed us a bottle of rum and we expected there to be a limit on how much rum we could actually pour ourselves. I ordered a Bushwacker, which is a popular frozen drink on the island with coffee/Bailey’s and added a little spiced rum and Dustin had a rum runner. Both were really tasty! And although offered unlimited rum to pour ourselves, we kept it to a pretty modest amount! After our drink, we flagged down another taxi that took us to a shopping village right near the ship.
Jealous of Dustin’s new sandals and wanting a souvenir from St. Thomas, I went into a few surf shops in search of some sandals of my own. I found a swim suit that I really liked in one of the shops but the price was pretty steep at $79 just for the top alone! I took a picture of the tag so I could remember the style and try to find it online cheaper and noticed that the style name was “Becky”. How ironic!
I ended up finding a pair of Reef sandals that I really liked though so I bought those and called it good! We had a little time to kill and didn’t want to get back on the ship early so we sat at a little tiki place near the ship and enjoyed the sunshine until it was time to go.
The ship was scheduled to depart at 5pm so when we heard the horn blow, we went up to the deck near the bow of the ship to get one last glimpse of St. Thomas. We ended up making this a nightly tradition throughout the cruise. As we were leaving, a rainbow formed, sort of framing this idyllic island and the route we were on to Barbados.
There were tons of islands popping out of the sea in the distance as we left, and it ignited an excitement in us both, in hopes of one day being able to explore them all from our own sailboat!