Saturday 28 January 2017

The Glory Days: St. Thomas

St. Thomas is the oceanfront paradise of the U.S Virgin Islands. There are a million things to do on the island: shopping, sailing, snorkelling, sightseeing, diving and dining. We've docked at St. Thomas during every one of our Caribbean cruises, so we've definitely taken advantage of the snorkelling, sailing, shopping and sightseeing excursions they have to offer in the past. We were also very familiar with Downtown and the port area so we decided to take it easy this time. There are two ports at St. Thomas: Havensight and Crown Bay. Havensight is the port you'd want to be docked at. Thankfully, the Glory did docked at Havensight, the busier port with a shopping mall.

It was a very dry, hot day in St. Thomas. We had no real plans, but to revisit Downtown and the port area. We walked around the port area for a little while visiting the duty-free jewellery stores and liquor stores. I took this opportunity to buy some souvenirs for my colleagues. From the port, you can catch a taxi to Downtown for $4 per person. Since we had plenty of time, we decided to take a little ride. We didn't stay in Downtown for long, they do have the same stores as the port area - Diamond International, Little Switzerland, etc. They also have some American stores, such as Billabong and Foot Locker. The fiancé stopped by Billabong and bought a t-shirt. One nice thing about the Downtown area is that it is directly across from Havensight. You get a beautiful view of the island and the ships docked at the port. We took a few pictures before grabbing a taxi to get back to the port, which cost another $4. Tip: Be sure to ask your driver which port he/she is headed to before getting into the shuttle, you do not want to end up at Crown Bay when your ship is at Havensight during boarding time!

If you are in need of supplies, you're in luck. St. Thomas has a K-Mart. It is probably the only American big box store near the port on the island. Although the prices are a bit high, they have everything you may need. It's not a super far from the port, and you can definitely walk there in 7-10 minutes. However, if you are buying heavy items and you are not a fan of long walks in the heat, I definitely recommend taking a taxi because it is HOT. We'd walked to K-Mart during previous visits, so we decided to take a walk to buy some toiletries. On the way to K-Mart, we passed by a local grocery store. One of our favourite things to do is see what grocery stores have in foreign countries, so we popped in to take a look. There was nothing super interesting - after all, we were on U.S. soil, and most items were probably imported from the U.S. But we did decide to buy some pop. Pop on the ship is expensive! Be sure to buy cans, as they do not allow bottles back on board. They may allow the odd bottle or two, but a pack of 6 is a big no-no. We didn't end up buying anything from K-Mart. But next to K-Mart is McDonald's, we were sweaty and thirsty from our hike so we treated ourselves to a passion fruit sundae each.

We walked back to Havensight and passed by The Shops at Yacht Haven Grande. The Shops at Yacht Haven Grande is just around the corner from the port, a two minute walk. The outdoor shopping centre boasts local stores and high fashion stores, such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton. We were passing-out-hot-and-tired at this point, so we decided to pop in a few stores for their air conditioning. These stores are duty-free so if you're looking for a brand name item, this is the place! When we were cooled down, we finally headed back toward the ship. There was a very long line of people heading back onboard, so it was back to being in the heat! While we were in line, the fiancé went back to purchase two bottles of Hennessy Pure White Cognac. These babies were selling like hot cakes! Why, you may ask? Hennessy Pure White Cognac is hard to come by as it is only sold in Europe or the Caribbean.

Despite a very long line back onboard, we were back on the ship by 5 pm. Sail away was at 6 pm but so was dinner, so we skipped sail away and cleaned ourselves up for dinner.

I had a minestrone soup, a beet carpaccio with arugula salad and ceviche, while the fiancé had beef tongue, ceviche and prosecution (not pictured). For our entrees, I had pasta and he had a stew. We also used our wine gift card for a bottle of Moscato.

There was no Playlist Productions or comedy show during the evening, so we ended up watching the Love & Marriage Show with Eric, our cruise director.

It was another early night for me as we were sailing into Puerto Rico bright and early the next morning. Stay tuned for our exciting DIY day in San Juan!

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