Caribbean Cruise: Charlotte Amalie, Saint Thomas
Note: We visited Saint Thomas on December 12, 2017 while it was still recovering from severe hurricane damage from Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
I am likely to get pilloried here, but I didn’t care for Saint Thomas. There, I said it. But here’s the caveat: It’s entirely ***MY OWN*** fault. See, I can admit my mistakes!
So, what was my big mistake with Saint Thomas? I didn’t plan any sort of shore excursion, either through Celebrity Cruises or independently. I didn’t even think to ask for an island tour.
In Fall, my work schedule can be all over the place, so I didn’t have time to research stuff like I usually do. I thought we could just fill the day walking around Charlotte Amalie…WRONG.
We got into port at 8:00am and docked at Crown Bay, which is further from downtown Charlotte Amalie and not quite as nice as the other dock – Havensight. Here’s Crown Bay:
Not having big plans, we had a leisurely breakfast in the Oceanview Cafe and strolled off the ship around 9:30am. We payed the $4 per person and took the open-air shared taxi from the port into downtown.
We were surprised by the hurricane damage in Charlotte Amalie–much more noticeable than in Old San Juan. Lots of downed poles, non-working traffic lights, power lines down, missing roofs, and piles of rubble.
After being dropped off downtown, we walked over to Fort Christian. Not much going on there.
Then we headed over to the Frederik Lutheran Church. It was boarded up, having received extensive hurricane damage.
Before going on the cruise, I had printed out a little map of Charlotte Amalie with a listing of attractions. I found it helpful, especially since I didn’t have data on phone.
We headed over to 99 Steps to take some photos–very pretty area!
Then it was up to Blackbeard’s Castle, but it too was closed due to hurricane damage. Although we did stop to take a picture. Then we made our way to the waterfront and over to the Havensight dock to take the Paradise Point sky ride to get a bird’s-eye view of the harbor…BUT they weren’t in operation either. Or at least, the closer we got, we noticed no sky gondolas were moving…so we gave up.
Walking around the outdoor mall area (The Shops at Yacht Haven Grande) we noticed most stores were closed. I used the restrooms and the lights went out while I was inside. They had lost power. I fumbled around in the dark (no windows), washed my hands, and then had to feel my way to the door!
Back in the downtown area we noticed a lot of the shops had lost power too. We then walked through jewelry row, but neither of us have any interest in that. Taking a break from walking, we had drinks and a light lunch at Cafe Amici.
We then took the shared open-air taxi back to the Crown Bay dock. There we bought some souvenirs and one of the storekeepers told us she had just got power back on at her home for the first time the day prior. Then we boarded the ship.
Again, it was my own fault for not booking a tour or doing some research ahead of time…I won’t make that mistake again!
Here are pics from Charlotte Amalie, Saint Thomas:
For more photos, check out my Flickr album.