Viking Ocean Cruises - From the Caribbean to the Amazon
January 7 - Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas
Weather high 85, low 75 with no precipitation. Map of Charlotte Amalie.
We arrived at Charlotte Amalie at 8:00. Because our excursion started at 1:00, Ann and I decided to walk around the dock area after breakfast so that we could stretch our legs and get a little exercise. Coming from the gangplank to the main street, we walked the gauntlet between dozens of shops that have been set up just for the cruisers. They were identical on the outside, very neat but not intimidating. Reaching the main street, we turned left passing a couple of small museums and the entrance to a gondola ride. Not seeing much of interest, we turned left again so that we could walk along the pier. We saw lots of upscale shops and restaurants before we got back to the ship. There were dozens of very large livable yachts tied up to various docks.
Ellen and the Matutes joined me on our afternoon excursion, Scenic Island Tour & Mountain Top. Ann stayed on the ship to go swimming. John wanted to read and work crossword puzzles. I have to admit that the tour was scenic. We climbed into the hills and stopped several times to take photos. I also shot a few from the bus. The highlight of our drive was Mountain Top. I thought that we were going to stop for a photo op, but I was wrong. The is a tourist destination with a huge store selling duty free gifts and baubles. It also serves very tasty banana daiquiris made with local Cruzan rum. Aside from the store's distraction (you have to walk through it) the view from its terrace is spectacular. You can see several islands and cays spread throughout several shades of blue ocean. We made another stop at an overlook where we could listen to a steel drum and buy some jewelry. The view form here was pretty good, too.
The ride in the open-air bus was fun with the warm temperature and the entertainment from two men in the back row who really enjoyed their banana daiquiris.
Back at the ship, we had dinner at the buffet and then retired to our cabins where we packed our bags and left them in the hall so that they could be transported to the port pickup area the next morning. We were careful to keep pour clothes, toiletries and travel documents for the next day.