Jason Daniel Shaw
Best Excursions to do on a Carnival Cruise to St Thomas
Charlotte Amalie – US Virgin Islands
St. Thomas is the United States’ small slice of the Caribbean, making up just 133 square miles spread over some 50 islands. The four larger islands are St. Croix, St. John, St. Thomas and Water Island. We planned our cruise excursion so that we were able to explore two of these, St. Thomas and St. John.
Arriving in St. Thomas
When you arrive in the USVI on a cruise, you will mostly likely arrive in St. Thomas and more than likely in Charlotte Amalie. There are a group of shops just off the boat but the main downtown area is a 10-15 minute walk. Here, you will find some of the best shopping in the Caribbean, or so I have been told. I do not travel to shop so I can’t confirm that statement, I travel to explore and see the beautiful sights of the world. Whatever you reason for traveling, you will find what you are looking for in Charlotte Amalie.
Excursion in St. Thomas
We chose the St. John Trunk Bay Beach Getaway & Snorkel that was offered through Carnival for $80 per person. One of the reasons for choosing this one was that it didn’t leave until 11:00am and returned at 3:30pm. That meant that we had a few hours in the morning to explore St. Thomas since we arrived at 7:00am and then a hour or so in the afternoon to pick up my souvenir magnet (I will explain more about my souvenir magnet obsession in another blog) since our departure was at 4:30pm.
We were one of the first to disembark the ship and quickly found a taxi to take us over to Magen’s Bay (around $15). It was a small shuttle taxi that took a group of folks and dropped us off right at the beach. The driver even stopped along the way to let us take photos and explained about the hurricane damage. We arrived at the beach and it was so early that we virtually had it to ourself. That gave us a perfect opportunity to take photos, fly the drone and enjoy the crystal clear water. There is a taxi stand right at the beach so we were able to pick up a ride quickly, just as the groups of tourists started arriving.
We talked to the taxi driver and asked if he could take us to Mountain Top so that we could check out the view and of course take photos. He agreed and said that he knew of a couple other places we would enjoy as well. Mountain Top is a bar and souvenir shop with incredible views. As the name suggests, it sits on top of the mountain and has views to the north and east, looking over Magen’s Bay and on to some of the other islands, including BVI. Amanda got an early daiquiri while I took a few panoramas. The view was absolutely incredible and I highly recommend a visit, even if it is only for a photo. Our taxi driver waited on us and took us to the next stop – Drake’s Seat. Again, similar views to the north, just slightly lower on the mountain. We made one last stop on the way back to the ship at the Charlotte Amalie Overlook. It was a postcard spot that you could just sit and enjoy the view for as long as you want and I imagine it would never get old. Arriving back at the ship, we gave him $40 for his time and the mini-tour before meeting up with our excursion group.
St. John Trunk Bay Beach Getaway & Snorkel Excursion
The “Island Girl” picked us up right next to the Carnival Fascination and dropped us off right in the heart of Cruz Bay. The ride over to St. John and the ride back were beautiful as we cruised past so many incredible places. The guides provided commentary and pointed our interested places. They had snacks and drinks on board for purchase, which came in handy because the concessions at Trunk Bay were closed due to hurricane damage.
When we arrived in Cruz Bay, we were met by a couple shuttle buses that took the group of around 20 of us over to Trunk Bay. Trunk Bay is part of the United States National Park System. The park was in great condition but they were not charging for admission and the vendors were closed. We picked up our snorkel gear and made our way to some of the clearest water I have ever seen. There is a small island in the bay that has some coral reef that you can snorkel around on. Despite snorkeling and diving all over the world, this was the first time that I have ever seen squid in the wild. We had plenty of time to snorkel and relax on the beach and even take a few photos.
It was time to head back to the boat and end our first excursion at our first port. As we pulled back into Long Bay, I launched the drone and got some photos and video of the ship and Charlotte Amalie. It is always good to get a different perspective on things and the drone does a great job of that. Back on board, we found what would become our daily ritual and one of our favorite spots on the boat, the rear of the Lido Deck. From there, we were able to watch the sun set over St. Thomas as we were headed to our next destination – Dominica.
Our Carnival Cruise
We were on the 7-day Southern Caribbean cruise aboard the Carnival Fascination (September 2, 2018 – September 9, 2018) out of San Juan visiting St. Thomas, Dominica, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Maarten and finally returning back to San Juan. Click on any of the links above to find out more about what we did in each of our ports of call or visit my Instagram.