Another day, another Caribbean shopping mecca!
We arrived in St. Thomas mid-morning, docking in a nice little port a few miles away from the downtown shopping areas. We headed straight to a little tour bus for our scheduled excursion, the “Best of St. Thomas” tour. We headed straight up into the hills of the island, giving us some breathtaking views of the ocean through the palm trees. We stopped at a couple scenic lookouts, one that let us look back out over the port area and another that looked down over Magen’s Bay on the north side on the island. Then we drove down to the bay for a couple hours of beach time.
Magen’s Bay is absolutely beautiful. The waters were extremely calm, and the sand was gorgeous. The water temperature was perfect for just standing out in the bay, watching the birds dive-bomb for fish. This part of the tour was hard to beat.
Then we were done at the beach, it was back to the bus for a trip to Blackbeard’s Castle. This area is a national monument, and has a huge collection of bronze pirate statues in addition to houses that preserve a lot of the artifacts from the island’s history. We wandered through the museums and shops, taking a ton of pictures, and then headed into the downtown shopping area of St. Thomas.
It didn’t take long for us to realize why St. Thomas is known for it’s shopping — jewelry and watch stores as far as the eye can see. Not to mention people wandering the streets, inviting the tourists to visit their store for 50, 60, 70, or even 80% off suggested retail prices. There are probably some very good deals to be had, but we didn’t have a lot of time to shop before we had to be back on the ship.
Of course, some people are a bit more concerned about being back on board the ship in time for departure than others. As a result, we were back in our cabin and getting refreshed when calls came over the intercom for two passengers to identify themselves if they were onboard. That went on for about an hour, and then we pulled away from the dock. Just as we were pulling away, two people started making their way down the pier and a whole bunch of passengers along the promenade deck railing started making noise. Yes, we had found the two missing passengers. Lucky for them, the ship’s captain is apparently somewhat lenient, and he reversed to go back to the pier (we were about 30 yards away when he reserved) to pick them up. Total delay — about two hours.
Note to self — don’t be late to the ship, because it will leave you.