16 people found the following review helpful:
We had a nice time, May 3, 2012
Our snorkeling trip was AWESOME!
saw things this way
We went snorkeling on the Castaway Girl. The crew was great and we had a wonderful time. The recommended a nice place to eat which we went to and LOVED (I don't remember the name).
(Review ID: 707)
17 people found the following review helpful:
Beautiful beaches - but lots of run down buildings, poverty., January 19, 2012
Hands down - the beaches
Level of poverty
saw things this way
We decided to rent a car in St. Thomas so that we could maximize our day on the island (my friend's family decided to take the ferry over to Trunk Bay on St. John). Let me say YIKES - the drivers are CRAZY!! They drive SO FAST! There don't seem to be a lot of traffic rules! My husband is familiar with driving on the Left side of the road, so he drove us around. He actually said he had fun navigating the steep, curvy roads and avoiding other drivers (while the kids and I held our breath!) We started by going to Mountaintop to see the beautiful views of Magen's Bay. Yes, it IS a tourist trap in that it's a huge souvenir store (mainly), but oh my gosh, the banana daiquiris are DELICOUS (albeit expensive!) and the views are breathtaking. We went from there to Magen's Bay where we spent a few hours. The water is so gorgeous and clear (though it was chillier than I had expected). There are palm trees along the beach so it's easy to find a spot (like for our family) where my husband could sit in some shade and the rest of us could enjoy some sun time at the same time. I was fearful it was going to be super crowded as there were five ships in port, but we had not trouble at all finding a nice spot and did not feel overly crowded. There are chairs to rent (I think they were $7each) but we decided just to sit on our towels, particularly because the area in front of the chair rentals was PACKED! They do have shower/toilet/changing facilities which was nice. The fee to get in is $4 per person (under 12 free) and $2 parking per car.From Magen's Bay we decided to go to Coki Beach - but never made it. The turnoff was VERY hard to find (we did recognize, after we passed it, that we had missed it - but decided to keep going) and so we continued on to Sapphire Beach. This beach is beautiful also, though I must admit I liked Magen's Bay better. There is a resort directly on the beach...and I didn't love that.We decided to lunch on the water by the ferry (can't remember the name of the restaurant) but the food was delicious and the drinks were great, too. We then ended in Havensight about 1.5 hours before we needed to reboard the ship and did some shopping.
(Review ID: 692)
13 people found the following review helpful:
Nice beaches and shopping is available, December 16, 2011
You never need to leave the port area to shop
saw things this way
We walked off the ship and navigated our way through a vast maze of bars and shops designed to serve the cruise ships. Frankly - if you just want to shop you could do it there and get back on board before lunch.We opted to walk to the cable car. Strange to see an Austrian ski lift in a warm climate and we ended up chatting to a German lady from Stuttgart who was working there. It was nice to see the views etc. from the top, but many of the cages were empty and the ferris wheel did not seem to be working so it gave an air of "I don't care".We came down and took a taxi over to the beach near the Coral Point. Obviously very commercialized with beach vendors hawking drinks, clothing and whatever. I thought the coral exhibit was quite interesting and the place was overrun with iguanas. The admission was reasonable and there were many exhibits to look at and the opportunity to don a helmet and walk under the water to see things up close. It looked very cool although I did not try it.But we had to leave early to leave time to sit in the inevitable traffic jams to get back to the port. I realize our presence caused much of the traffic gridlock, which means we are spoiling the very thing we are trying to enjoy; peace and quiet.I rushed around a few of the stores at the port looking for a new shirt and eventually found one at a very decent price.So, bottom line, I am left with the impression of a pretty island being ruined by terrible traffic and crowding...of which I was part.
(Review ID: 427)
25 people found the following review helpful:
Sapphire Beach, sky ride to Paradise Point, October 3, 2010
BEST SNORKELING ever and beautiful island!
saw things this way
I was really skeptical about this island due to all the negative news reports after the shooting of the teenager from the cruise ship a few months ago and all the gang related violence taking place on this island. However, I’m SO glad I decided to go ahead with my plans for the island.We knew before going on our cruise that we wanted to go places in our own by taxi instead of a tour service. Our plans were to visit Paradise Point first for pictures, then on to Sapphire for some snorkeling, then on to Magen's for a short period before heading back to the ship.When we arrived at Paradise to get on the skylift, they were not open yet to my surprise. They did not open until 9 am. It was only 8 a.m. I was not only disappointed but shocked. Knowing that the ships come in this early, you would think that they would be open this early to make more money. We did buy our tickets on the ship (which is actually CHEAPER than purchasing them at the skylift box). Our cruise line also offered your money back if you didn’t use the tickets. WOW. The only time you would ever see that happen.So, we decided to walk back to the port and catch a cab and go on with our plans to Sapphire Beach. A lady was there to take us to the beach. She waited until that van was overpacked with people sitting on laps before she would leave. People in the van where complaining and saying “Seriously, you think you are going to fit more people in here -- no way” only for her to get more people in the van. 4-5 people in a 3-person seat!The driver was very talkative and talked about the island. She told us how they basically only rely on the cruise ships coming in to make a living. She stated how much it hurt them if a ship didn’t come in that day or rearranged their schedule. She told us that living in the “ghetto” would cost you no less than $250,000 per house and above. She said the nicer homes would cost you an average of $1 million. WOW.She took us to Sapphire and dropped us off. Upon entering this beach area, all I can say is WOW!!! I had found Paradise finally! The beach was absolutely beautiful. The beach was lined with natural shade grape trees, clear blue water and white sandy beaches. We quickly put out things under a tree and claimed our area then headed out to the water. Instantly fish greeted us. I didn’t realize just how many were under there until I put on my mask and went under. They were SURROUNDING ME! They followed us all over the place. They were very friendly and would get right up in your face. I couldn’t believe it. We swam over to the shaded area that we knew was coral and started investigating. When my husband went under the first time, right in front of him was a jelly fish. I ran back and got my camera and started taking pictures. I found it very hard to focus on something that isn't clear in clear water to begin with. It was a task and I wasn’t very happy with the results, but continued exploring for fish. They were everywhere. So many different species, colors and types of fish and coral everywhere. We were absolutely amazed at this place.I ran up and grabbed the box of fruit loops I had brought with me and began feeding the fish. They became our friends the rest of our visit and even took the food right out of my hand. It was amazing. We swam over to the right (in front of the Sapphire Beach Resort) and found even more types of fish. We snorkeled nonstop for hours only getting out a select few times to rest for about 10 min. When we did get out, we were exploring the sand and trees that were full of huge iguanas at that point looking down on us and watching us like a hawk. How amazing was that! The best of both worlds -- sand and water animals!I have to say this was the absolutely BEST beach I have ever been to. We decided right then and there that we not only wanted to come back some day soon, but we wanted to actually stay on the island for an extended visit (not just on a cruise ship). I was that impressed with this beach.We had brought our own snorkeling tube and goggles, but I was having a problem with my goggles fogging up for some reason. My husband did not. We were also lacking the fins to be able to adventure out deeper. So we decided to rent the entire snorkeling package (which included everything you needed) and it was only $7. The hut also sold ice cold pop and beer that hit the spot. I mean ICE COLD. We spoke to the workers there for awhile and they commented on how much they LOVE their job there at the beach hut. What a wonderful way to spend your working day.We snorkeled for awhile longer and decided that we had better head back toward the port if we wanted to try to squeeze in our trip to Paradise on the skylift. (As much as we hated the thought of EVER leaving this paradise)!!!We quickly caught the skylift up to Paradise Point after only having to wait for one round of trams to pull in (there are three together -- one set going up while one set comes down). It was beautiful up there. Breathtaking. However, I was very disappointed that I had my camera on for HOURS nonstop taking fish, beach, and iguana pictures that my battery was now dead. I managed to get it to come on long enough to snap a picture, then it would die, then another picture, then it would die again. I did this several times before it would no longer turn on. We then order the famous Bushwacker drink. We were going to order food, but the waitress was taking FOREVER 1) giving us a menu 2) coming back for our drink order 3) coming back with our actual drinks then 4) coming back again to see what we wanted to order. This process was about a half hour already. So we told her to forget the food, we’d just have our drinks. She acted very disturbed about this and rolled her eyes and walked away. It took another 15 minutes for me to flag her down to tell her we were still waiting on our check for the drinks. Then another 10 minutes to come back with the bill. Geesh. Either they need more help or different people. I did not find them friendly at all.There was some type of parrot/bird show going on up there, but we did not have time to watch it since we had spent so much time just taking care of the drink situation. It was time to head back to the port and catch a few stores along the way before boarding again. The ride back down did take a little longer. All in all, we didn’t find really GOOD prices on T-shirts there or any good discounts you would normally see in tourist spots. We got a tee for $18.99 and sun glasses for $20 (since my husband accidentally broke mine the first day on the cruise). We stopped in the jewelry stores to find that the prices they quoted us were outrageous compared to those on the ship.My final conclusion: St. Thomas is a beautiful island of paradise. I hate the thought of everything bad happening on the island and hope that things continue to improve in the months and years to come. It would really be ashamed if cruise ships stop coming to such a beautiful place. I really hope to visit again soon and actually stay on the island. I would still like to visit Magen's Bay. But if you want to go somewhere with excellent snorkeling and beautiful beaches, I highly recommend Sapphire!!Here are some pictures I took of the island.http://kimbakerphotography.smugmug.com/Vacation/4th-day-St-M aarten-1/13875332_BZdcm#1017703050_nhpoV
(Review ID: 384)
8 people found the following review helpful:
Pleasant place to spend a couple of hours, September 13, 2010
Nice setting, good for water sports
Not very interesting otherwise
saw things this way
We docked at Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas and had to go through US immigrations clearance prior to disembarking. You can take a taxi or walk 35-40 minutes into town. It's an easy walk, but it does get hot and sunny.St. Thomas offers little in terms of culture, architecture or art to do and see. It's really mainly for water sports and sun and beach worshippers.
(Review ID: 344)
9 people found the following review helpful:
Shopping, shopping, shopping, September 10, 2010
The best shopping!
saw things this way
We opted not to do a tour of St Thomas after our hectic day in St. Maarten the day before. Plus, we wanted to get some shopping done. We were told that this is the place to shop for jewelry and they were right. My husband bought me a beautiful Omega necklace and two pendants and not expensive at all. What a wonderful day. We bought souvenirs and just did alot of browsing. Today was more relaxed.
(Review ID: 284)
3 people found the following review helpful:
Ultimate cruise port, September 2, 2010
Reviewer: Todd Todd
Overrun with ships and people
saw things this way
St. Thomas has something for everyone. There are wonderful beaches, terific shopping and yes, yes, there's that extra duty free allowance.Take the tour to the beaches. Take a tour to St. John. There are those barge tours with all you care to drink. Downtown there are shops and more shops. Even right at the pier there are shops, especially for those planning on using their entire alcohol allowance. There are tours for everyone. Check around the web for prices better than those offered onboard on tours. There has been some recent violence in St. Thomas. Whether a local or a cruise passenger, this is a real concern. I wonder if some of this isn't the overloading of the island with free-spending tourists.