Disney Cruise Line and Its Ports of Call LIVE! Guidebook

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Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas & St. John

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas & St. John

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St. Thomas/St. John

Welcome to pretty St. Thomas, the busiest cruise ship port and duty-free shopping haven in the Caribbean! Pirates once roamed freely here, but your visit will be far tamer, thanks to its status as a U.S. Territory. Shopping not your cup of tea? The neighboring island of St. John is a prime, back-to-nature getaway paradise.

The Disney Magic in St. Thomas
(view from Paradise Point)

AMBIENCE

St. Thomas boasts beautiful beaches like many Caribbean islands, but its rugged mountain terrain gives it a distinctive look. St. Thomas is shaped like an elongated hourglass and is about 28 square miles (72 sq. km.) in size, making it the second largest island in the U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Croix is the largest). Shoppers throng the narrow lanes and old, stone buildings of St. Thomas’ downtown Charlotte Amalie, a duty-free port since the 1700s. The neighboring island of St. John is just a ferry ride away, home to the hiking trails, wildlife, and remote beaches of 7,200-acre Virgin Islands National Park. Your day in port is brief, so a trip to St. John will take most of your day.

HISTORY

Adventurers from many nations visited St. Thomas, but none put down roots until Denmark colonized in the late 1600s. The Danes made the island’s prime harbor a safe haven for pirates, cashing in on this early “tourist” trade. They also operated sugar plantations, a thriving seaport, and one of the busiest slave markets in the Americas. Charlotte Amalie’s waterfront is still lined with old stone buildings from its commercial heyday. The economy crashed after slavery was abolished in the mid-1800s, so by 1917 the Danes were happy to hand the islands to the U.S. for $25 million (it’s now a U.S. Territory). Then in 1956, Laurence Rockefeller donated 5,000 acres on St. John to create the Virgin Islands National Park (and not incidentally, to ensure an attractive setting for his Caneel Bay resort).

FACTS

Size: St. Thomas: 13 mi. (21 km.) x 4 mi. (6 km.) /St. John: 7 mi. (11 km.) x 3 mi. (5 km.)
Climate: Subtropical Temperatures: 77°F (25°C) to 85°F (29°C)
Population: 51,000 & 4,000 Busy Season: Late December to April
Language: English Money: U.S. Dollar
Time Zone: Atlantic (no DST) Transportation: Walking, taxis, cars
Phones: Dial 1- from U.S., dial 911 for emergencies
Note: Both St Thomas and nearby St John sustained heavy damage during Hurricane Irma on September 6, 2017 with 185 mph winds. We do not yet know how this will effect future ports of call here—the next visit is by the Fantasy on October 21, 2017
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Top Photo Slice: A view of St. Thomas, as seen from the St. Thomas Skyride (℗ 45391) Photo contributed by © SRisonS



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