The first stop on our 7-day Caribbean cruise with Carnival Valor was today the island of Saint Thomas (U.S. Virgin Islands).
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Arrival in Saint Thomas
The island of St. Thomas is one of the U.S. Virgin Islands in the southeastern Caribbean, along with Saint Croix and Saint John. Charlotte Amalie is also the capital of the region. Saint Thomas has a population of more than 50,000. The island boasts one of the most beautiful ports in the world and has some fantastic beaches. The road network is well developed, but there is left-hand traffic. The most famous sights are Blackbeard’s Castle in Charlotte Amalie, Water Island, Fort Christian, Magens Bay, Honeymoon Beach, Phantasea Tropical Botanical Garden, St. Thomas Synagogue and Coral World Ocean Park.
Rent a car or scooter?
To explore Saint Thomas, we actually wanted to rent a car. Near the Cruise Terminal we found two different car rental providers: Avis and Budget. We had first asked for the prices of a small car at Budget and got an offer of $65 + $25 fees (if you don’t have a U.S. driver’s license) + .25 insurance. Not exactly cheap for a car for 6 hours! In order to be able to compare the prices better, we then went to Avis – but there were no more vehicles available here. So back to budget and zack, the price was now at ’89+ fees and insurance. When asked why it was more expensive now than it was 20 minutes ago, only an unfriendly answer came “the system just says that now”. Customer-friendly is different for us. Since we didn’t see this and we found the price far too expensive overall, we simply rented a scooter from a local vendor for $65.
After we had received an island plan and the staff of the rental station had shown us the most important spots on the map, we went (on the left side of the road) first to the eastern part of the island. St. Thomas is the only part of the USA where there is left-hand traffic. Despite left-hand traffic, the cars all have their steering wheel like we do on the left.
Our route across the island
All in all, we have chosen the following route for today:
Der Sapphire Beach
Since the course of the road on the island is very hilly, from there one always had a very good view of the landscape, the bays and beaches. The first beach we liked (Sapphire Beach) belonged to us. For the first time on our journey to the Caribbean Sea – fantastic. The ride then took us to two great vantage points. From one (Scenic Overlook at road 40) you could look at the cruise port well.
The Magens Bay
And from the other vantage point (Drake’s Seat) one had a great view of Magen’s Bay, from which we had already read a lot in advance. So nothing like that. Entrance to the beach cost 4 dollars per person. At the entrance area the beach is relatively full. If you want to have it a little quieter here, just go a little bit the beach to the left. The further away you are from the entrance and the whole bars, the fewer people you will find on the beach. Here we had time to relax, bathe and sunbathe.
We found interesting the many pelicans, which dived into the water in front of us again and again in search of fish in search of fish.
The capital Charlotte Amalie
Before we went back to the Cruise Terminal, we made a short detour to the capital Charlotte Amalie and drove a little through the city. If you have become accustomed to riding a scooter and left-hand traffic, a scooter is a great alternative to explore the island on your own.
At 5 p.m., the Carnival departed on time. The following day was a pure sea day before we will reach Barbados on December 24.
All travelogues from our Southern Caribbean CruiseThe Carnival Valor of the shipping company Carnival Cruise Lines has a capacity of almost 3,000 passengers and over 1,000 crew members. The ship, built in 2004, is 290 metres long, 35 metres wide and belongs to the so-called "Conquest Class". The Carnival Valor is a classic cruise ship that offers a wide range of entertainment. There is a huge theatre, a casino, numerous bars, a disco, a karaoke bar, sauna, jacuzzi, steam bath, a fitness centre with jogging track, two pools and several restaurants. Our route led us for 7 days through the southern Caribbean with stops in Puerto Rico, Saint Thomas, Barbados, St. Lucia. St. Kitts and St. Martin.
Day 02 » Saint Thomas: By scooter across the island (US Virgin Islands)
Day 03 » Day at Sea
Day 04 » Barbados: Catamaran Tour & Swimming with turtles
Day 05 » Saint Lucia: A tour of the island to the sulphur springs
Day 06 » Saint Kitts: Diving on the west coast in Basseterre
Day 07 » Saint Martin: Island Tour & The Planes at Maho Beach
Day 08 » Puerto Rico: San Juan – Tourist Attractions, Things to Do & Photo spots
Day 08 » Puerto Rico: El Yunque National Forest – Hiking through the rainforest