The tour of the Caribbean officially started with the first port-of-call being the tax haven city of St. Thomas. I woke up early to see if there were anything glorious to see as the cruise ship moved gently into the calm harbour waters. Nothing much in fact and the skies were kinda dull. Being a tropical zone, rains were expected just like in Singapore. The ship was quite one time as planned disembarkation was to be at 8am. Proceeded to the buffet deck which was one deck below the open top to have breakfast. It was free seating and everyone could come and go as they please. There were a number of food stalls offering quite a variety which was nice since we had eat from the same restaurant for the next 6 days so we could spread the coverage a little.
We disembarked and went through a few warehouse type of tourists shops till we reached the road. There were taxis that seemed like a converted lorry with rows of benches to ferry tourists around. We told one of the “in-charge” there we were wanted to go to Magen’s bay and he ushered us onto one of them. It wasn’t too far a ride and soon we reached the isolated white sand beach. The costs seemed fixed and was all printed out and placed facing the passengers.
Admiring the view while having a beer at one of the few drinks stall till we thought it was time to see more of Charlotte Amalie. Took the taxi went back to town. Our next stop was to go to Blackbeard’s castle by taking the 99 steps (though there were definitely more) and on the way, pass by the Emancipation garden and Fort Christian.
There was some walking distance to the 99 steps and some climbing up to Blackbeard’s Castle. The climb wasn’t difficult as it wasn’t really steep but the beer had got to me somehow and I had to rest while near the top. After the steps, there were a bit more walking on sloped path. We thought we saw the entrance but we didn’t know how to enter as it looked locked and we went around and entered at the back of the property. It seemed like a private property now but there was a bar selling drinks at many statues of famous pirates dotted the small compound. There was a round stone castle column in the middle of the compound and that was about as much of a castle that we got. However, the view was worth the visit. Ordered the drink and just enjoyed the view (the cover page!).
It was already running late and we went around to look for lunch. As we walked through the alleys to look for cosy little Glady’s Cafe, one of the top few recommended places on Tripadvisor which served Caribbean cuisine.
After the filling dinner, we walked off the fullness through shopping! The main shopping street was pretty close to the cruise ship and it was a really long stretch! However, as it was a Sunday, shops were closing at 4pm. I had an item on my shopping list, a Seiko watch that was only available in the American market and I managed to find it after visiting several shops there. It was sold really cheap though I had to negotiate a little with Amazon listed prices and showed to the salesperson. As this was a duty free shopping, things were really cheaper. It was also interesting to find out that there were various Singaporeans who set up stores there selling stuff to the tourists, of all places! Some more last minute shopping and then it was back to the ship, going through the Xray scanners and the also logging in with our access cards.
Since it was still early for dinner which we had to adhere to the prearranged time slot, we went back to the room to take a nap. Dinner was served at the same place and we had the a American family of 6 as company for dinner with a fixed waiter. It was nice to know new friends and we were going to have the same company till the end of cruise. There wasn’t a port of call the next day and we would be just cruising to the next port of call on Xmas day. However, there was a formal dinner the next day also known as the Captain’s reception for Xmas Eve.
When we returned to the cabin, we were pleasantly surprised.