Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cruise Review - Port of Call - St. Thomas, USVI

St. Thomas was the first port of call on the Celebrity Summit 7 night Southern Caribbean cruise. Since the Jet Lagged Vagabond is lucky to have a friend who vacations in St. Thomas regularly we did not buy any shore excursions through the cruise line and ventured out on our own with a list of recommendations from a semi-local.
View of the port from our deck. We woke up and there it was. A very smooth docking.

The view of the ship from 'downtown' Charlotte Amelia. I will tell you I did not like the way we were transported to downtown. Once we left the ship we maneuvered through the duty free shopping center to the 'taxi stand'. Several people were standing around trying to look official asking if we needed a taxi. When we replied 'yes' they pushed us into an already extremely long line of people as confused as we were as to how we are all going to share a taxi. Then something looking like a hybrid open air school bus slapped onto the back of a beater pick up truck pulled up in front of us. Herded like cattle they crammed as many people on as possible and then we sat there and sat there. Then we moved onto the main street and then we pulled over. The driver got out and began to ask for the required $4 dollars per person. Once we finally made it into town these so called taxi's roamed the streets and called out to you 'ship, ship' letting you know that they were ready to take you back to the ship and collect another $4.

Oh well, the view of the ocean helped ease our troubles.

Now the main area is a duty free shopping nightmare of store keepers yelling to you 'you haven't been in my shop yet!'. Like that is going to make me buy something in your shop. The main shopping drag if full of stores with watches, diamonds, perfume, sunglasses, liquor etc. I'm not really a shopper (who can afford diamonds?) so I went looking for local culture and flavor.

I was surprised to lean that Camille Pissarro was born in St. Thomas. And there is even a local art gallery in his name crammed in between all the stores selling their finest diamonds.

Beginning the trend of the day the gallery was closed. Oh, and wouldn't an art gallery have a better sign? It looks a little unloved.

This was actually a nice and cool shopping arcade. We did find an antique store that had vintage black and white post cards of the Caribbean. That I can afford.

Sadly this sign is really all there is to show you the island was once Danish. And really the only thing to show that the island was also once British is they still drive on the left side of the road.

We ran into this guy and his friends off the main shopping drag.

Our friend told us to take the 99 steps to all the local attractions.

Sign telling you what there is to do.

Another sign telling you that all there is to do is closed!

Closed - darn. I think I would have really enjoyed that!

Black Beard's Castle - closed for a tour/excursion through the cruise ship - D'oh!!!!

Oh well - the gate was open and I got some pictures.

So really we had no choice but to sit in this cute little bar and have some drinks! See it all worked out in the end.

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