St. Thomas cruises

The idyllic island of St Thomas has a rich and interesting history beneath its postcard-perfect, white sand surface.

St Thomas port guide

Around 40 miles east of Puerto Rico is St Thomas, one of the three main US Virgin Islands. The island offers a seemingly unending parameter of stunning beaches. But it’s so much more than this. In its interior, you’ll find historic buildings that hold within them stories of a colonial past peppered with pirates and characters from all over the world. Whether you seek time spent enjoying the sunshine and doing very little, or you’d prefer to explore the island and learn about its people, time spent in St Thomas promises an abundance of unforgettable experiences.

Top landmarks and sights in St Thomas

When the Danes first claimed in St Thomas in the 17th century, they founded what’s now the capital – Charlotte Amalie, named after the wife of the Danish King Christian V. Owing to its long, colonial history, today you’ll see many buildings that were once integral to the island, in Charlotte Amalie and beyond.

Fort Christian

Built by the Danish in around 1675, Fort Christian was the site of government and defence administration until 1917, when St Thomas was sold to the US. Built in the classic, Danish military style that echoes Gothic and Victorian architecture, the red painted building houses the St Thomas Museum today. Here you can explore art and artefacts from colonial times.

Blackbeard’s Castle

Named after one of the most notorious pirates who ever sailed the Caribbean, Blackbeard’s Castle is in fact a watchtower that dates back to 1679. It was originally known as Skytsborg, translating to ‘protection castle’, and was built on the peak of Government Hill so that the Danes could identify any ships approaching. Local myth says that Edward Teach – Blackbeard – used the tower himself for a period, for the same reason.

Camille Pissarro Gallery

Danish-French impressionist painter, Camille Pissarro, was born in St Thomas in 1830 and lived there until he was 12 years old. Today, you’ll find a small gallery of his works in his childhood home – the loft portion of a merchant’s building in Charlotte Amelie, on Main Street. Among the paintings you’ll find several of his Caribbean scenes, as well as works from a handful of other artists.

Things to do in St Thomas

In addition to getting to know the history of St Thomas, there are plenty of other ways to spend your time here. From basking in the sunshine on a sugar sand beach, to channelling your inner adventurer as you explore underwater, make memories that will last a lifetime on this captivating island.

Coral World Ocean Park

For those who want to get closer to the island’s marine life, a visit to Coral World Ocean Park won’t disappoint. Located around a 20-minute drive east of Charlotte Amelie, here you can swim among ocean creatures, walk along the seabed, and observe the underwater world in the Marine Gardens gallery and Undersea Observatory.

Skyride to Paradise Point

A superb way to see St Thomas is from the heights of the Skyride gondola in Charlotte Amalie, which towers up 700 feet above the town. You’ll end your ride in Paradise Point, from where you’ll take in a vision of the harbour below and, if you’re lucky, maybe even as far as Puerto Rico.

A day at the beach

As you’d expect with a Caribbean Island, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches in St Thomas. Magens Bay on the north coast is one of the most popular and is a 10–15-minute drive from Charlotte Amelie. At about a mile long, you’ll find busy patches and quiet ones, so you can enjoy a little hustle and bustle with refreshments on the side, or simply sit in peace if you prefer.

Eating and drinking near St Thomas

As one of the US Virgin Islands, you may well expect the plethora of North American-style food you’ll have access to on St Thomas. If you’d like to try something a little more local, however, there are a few dishes you could seek out.

The unofficial national dish is ‘fish and fungi’. This can be made with various fish, commonly a snapper or king fish, served with a cornmeal and okra dough. There’s also rice and whelks, and callaloo stew, which is a hearty broth made with a green leafy vegetable and spices.

For an on-the-go snack, you could try a pate, which is somewhere between an empanada and a Cornish pasty, made with minced beef and spices.

Shopping in St Thomas

Many of the annual visitors to St Thomas come along to take advantage of the duty-free shopping on the island. Main Street in Charlotte Amelie, sometimes known as Dronningens Gade, has long been a shopping hub on the island. Many of its 18th and 19th century buildings are said to have been used as pirate warehouses, and today house restaurants and luxury boutiques. Havensight Mall, at the cruise port of the same name, is another hotspot for duty-free shopping.

There’s also Vendor’s Plaza, an outdoor market in Emancipation Park, where stalls sell souvenirs varying from clothes and accessories to homemade candles and art.

Getting around: St Thomas transport

The cruise port you’ll likely dock in in St Thomas is in Havensight, which is a 5-10-minute drive from the capital, Charlotte Amelie. There are taxis widely available in the area, but keep in mind that if you hail one down it’s quite common to share with other people. You could also try the local buses. Known as the ‘dollar safari bus’, these are popular on the island and run regularly on consistent routes. There is no strict timetable, however.

St Thomas port facilities

The main cruise port that you’re likely to dock in is Havensight, which has become one of the busiest cruise ports in the world. There’s space for three ships to line up along the pier on which you’ll disembark, unless the port is busy, and you anchor further out and take a tender boat straight to Charlotte Amelie. In Havensight, the area has been largely developed and now boasts a shopping mall, restaurants, and a welcome centre.

Top tips for St Thomas


St Thomas is one of the US Virgin Islands, and as such uses the US Dollar as its currency. Dollars can be purchased on your Cunard Queen, or you can withdraw cash from ATMs dotted around the island – there are plenty in Charlotte Amelie.


As a US territory, as well as the currency St Thomas also adopts many of North America’s societal norms – and this includes tipping. It’s customary to leave a tip of 15-20% of your bill in bars, cafés, and restaurants.


Warm temperatures are felt in St Thomas all year round. The coolest months are January to March, but even then, the temperature is generally between 24 and 28 degrees Celsius. It’s hottest in July to September, when you can expect 27 to 32 degrees Celsius. The wettest months are September to November, when nights in St Thomas frequently see thunderstorms.