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St. Thomas, Charlotte Amalie

St. John and St. Thomas 1/5 Thursday, March 21, 2002
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At Sea
At Sea
St. Maarten
St. Thomas
Great Stirrup Cay

St. John and St. Thomas

We dropped anchor off of St. Thomas in the early morning hours, and had to get up at 6:30am to pass a customs check. All the passengers and crew were required to show evidence of identification and a boarding pass while a US Customs/immigration agent briefly checked documents. People waited in lines for sometime, got checked, then most went back to bed. We had to do this check regardless if we got off the ship or not.

St. Thomas

After the first few hours of ticketed tender service to shore, I got on the tender and headed for St. Thomas. The islands here were racked by a series of hurricanes in 1995 and 1996, the most severe one ripped apart the entire area and sand several boats (which can still be seen piled up on a shore across the bay).

Paradise Point

There are a host of tours offered on St. Thomas and St. Johns, including shopping in the local markets. I opted for a short taxi ride ($3.00 gets you anywhere local in a group van) to the end of the cruise ship pier where the tramway is to Paradise Point. I had seen Paradise Point on Boats & Places TV and wanted to see it for myself. The tramway ride was $15.00 round-trip to the top. There is also a road where small tour vans can also access the point. Once on top, you are greeted by a grand vista of the entire area. Looking down upon the harbor below is quite spectacular. Off in the distance, I could see our ship, the Norway, as well as the three cruise ships parked at the dock below (Celebrity Millennium, Carnival Paradise and RCCL Enchantment of the Seas). At Paradise Point there is a nice little bar/cafe and a few shops. I indulged in a strawberry daiquiri and a margarita while relaxing in the shade with a nice tropical breeze which kept the heat down.

Cruise Ship Docks

Since I love cruise ships, I took the tramway down the side of the mountain to the base of the cruise ship pier and went to look at the huge ships. There were three here, and another two at dock across the harbor. In all there were at least seven cruise ships at St. Thomas that day (which is about 12-15,000 people). It's clear that the economy here is driven by tourism.

Internet Cafe

After looking at the ships, I proceeded to an internet cafe which was at the foot of the cruise ship pier, and used mostly by the crew of the ships. St. Thomas has a number of cyber cafes, and some good deals can be found if you look around. I paid $5.00 for 30 minutes of access. It's a far cry cheaper than the $.75 a minute offered aboard ship. Of course, my best deal yet was in Cartagena, where the internet cafe was only $1.00 an hour ! Most of these cafe's offer phone cards, and international calling options, all of which are much cheaper than using the ships satellite phone for $5.00 a minute.

Additional Photographs: St. John and St. Thomas 1/5

(click on photos to enlarge)
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