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What to do in Charlotte Amalie/St. Thomas for our day shore excursion??

This will be my first ever cruise! I am going with 3 friends and we are each researching our excursions for different islands. I have Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas.

What is recommended (for 4 fun loving 50 year old women) under $100? We are already going to snorkle in St. Lucia. And do you recommend doing the Shore excursion that they offer on the cruise, Royal Caribbean) or doing one on our own?

Thanks!
We depart 11/24/18!!!!

Posted by
3040 posts

Rather than suggest something you may not find interesting, I'll point you to another website instead.

Cruise Critic. Com is a site specifically focused on cruising. Especially if this is your first cruise, it can be a great learning tool. It has all kinds of special interest forums as well as ones for each cruise line (the Royal Caribbean forum is very active). There is also a Ports of Call Forum, with a large subforum just for the Caribbean. Each island has its own subforum, and should give you plenty of ideas.

Another forum you should look at is the Roll Call forum. There is one for each Cruiseline, with a subforum for each ship in the line. Within each of these ship subforums are further subforums for each specific sailing. Cruisers can join their Rolls Call and discuss plans for pre and post stays, shore excursions, and other topics specific to your particular sailing. You'll likely find some people organizing private excursions at some of the Ports. These are often excellent, since they tend to be much smaller than the same ship excursion, and at a better price.

Hope this will be the first of many great cruises for you.

Posted by
1040 posts

My parents took us on a Caribbean cruise in 2011, and one of the stops was Charlotte Amalie. We did not book any tours, but rather struck out on our own. We discovered Saint Thomas Synagogue which was built in 1833, and is the second-oldest synagogue on United States soil. It also has the longest history of continuous use by a Jewish congregation in the nation.

Next we walked up the 99 steps and then visited Blackbeard's Castle. After stopping for a drink, we went to the childhood home (now a gallery) of impressionist painter Camille Pissarro.

Posted by
2342 posts

My husband and I have taken two Caribbean cruises that started the Saturday after Thanksgiving!

Honestly, in Charlotte Amalie, I would just shop and drink - it's what they do best. At this time of year, the water is pretty rough, so any boating activity is going to be dicey. One year our catamaran trip to St. John was cancelled because the water was too rough, and the next year it wasn't cancelled but it should have been.

Posted by
3789 posts

Hard to believe an island with a 500 year heritage is only good at shopping and drinking - but each to their own.
As mentioned, Cruise Critic can provide a lot of information and also as mentioned, one can do a DIY historical walking tour. I downloaded the details and did the walk when I was first in port 10 years ago. I was there again last week and there is a nice Tourist Info office in the middle of Havensight Mall. It has free wifi and a group of very nice, helpful women working the desk. There is a tourist booklet and the walking tour is in there. However, some things were damaged during last summer's hurricanes and are closed - like Blackbeard's castle.
Magen's Bay is the frequently visited cruise tourist beach and can easily be reached by shared taxi. There are also plenty of drivers at the port offering island tours for $25 US. I think it is 2 hours.
St. John, a neighbouring island, has always been a popular idyllic destination, but it was hardest hit and beaches are not all up to past standards particularly for services, food and drink. I wouldn't advise it for a DIY as it requires time and logistics to get there and back. But if there is a ship's tour, it might be worthwhile.

Posted by
3500 posts

If you plan to go very far from the port, consider taking one of the ship's excursions. I know, I know, they do cost more than what one can do on one's own. But, if you are on a ship tour and there is a delay returning, the ship will wait for you. That's not the case if you are off on your own. Traffic on some islands can be a real problem that can cause delays getting back to the ship. We seen people literally running along the pier as the ship departed. Don't mean to rain on your parade, just offering food for thought.

Posted by
356 posts

We loved St John on a Princess Cruise tour, although I'm not sure what it is like now, since the hurricane. The suggestion to check Cruise Critic is a good one for tours others have enjoyed.

Posted by
7871 posts

We should have done a taxi tour. The walk into town from our dock was further than it appeared—personal lesson learned. We tried doing a self-guided walking tour, too, like Bob, but my husband and I always get lost and miss the landmarks. We spent the time talking with various people about the hurricane, rebuilding. Next time, a taxi tour.

Posted by
1869 posts

We went to Secret Harbor, a very nice beach that has a restaurant and is not at all crowded with cruise ship passengers. We took a short taxi ride to get there.