The island of St. Thomas is a popular cruise destination on Eastern Caribbean cruise itineraries with thousands of cruise ship passengers visiting each year. In this guide to St Thomas Cruise Port, I share useful information about the port and the best things to do whilst you are there.
About St Thomas
St Thomas is one of the U.S. Virgin Islands situated in the Eastern Caribbean. It neighbours St. Croix and St. John along with the British Virgin Islands. The island is relatively small (32 square miles) and therefore you can easily travel around to different parts of the island in one day.
As it is one of the United States Virgin Islands, the local currency is U.S. Dollars.
Where do Cruise Ships Dock in St Thomas?
The major cruise lines will dock in one of two cruise ship docks near the town of Charlotte Amalie:
- The West Indian Company Dock or Havensight Cruise Terminal (Carnival, Norwegian, Celebrity, and Royal Caribbean)
- Crown Bay Dock (Cunard, Princess Cruises, Holland America, Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas)
There is also a Tender Dock close to Downtown Charlotte Amalie that is used sometimes whilst cruise ships wait for docking space.
St Thomas Cruise Port Information
- St Thomas has reopened to cruise ships following the Coronavirus Pandemic and is busiest during the winter months
- Cruise passengers require their cruise card and one form of photo ID to leave the ship
- Ship tours that have been booked independently have meeting points at the cruise port exits
- Taxis can be found outside of the cruise port exits and at the exit of the Havensight Mall
- Downtown Charlotte Amalie is a one mile walk from the Havensight Cruise Terminal
- Downtown Charlotte Amalie is two miles from the Crown Bay Dock
- Free Wi-Fi is available in the Crown Bay Cruise Terminal area near the Information Centre
- Restrooms are available in Havensight and Crown Bay cruise terminals
Things to do near St Thomas Cruise Port
Whether you decide to book one of the cruise ship shore excursions or explore independently, there is plenty of options to choose from. St Thomas is a small island so you may choose to do a combination of things during your visit.
I’d recommend taking a look at the following St Thomas excursions and independent options to help plan your cruise.
Charlotte Amalie Harbor
St Thomas Cruise Port is in Charlotte Amalie Harbor and the hub of activity in St Thomas. It’s a natural harbour where the first settlers landed.
This area is easily walkable and so for anyone looking to get off the ship and have a wonder around, this is the best option. There are shops, bars and restaurants that could easily help you while away the hours.
Coral World Ocean Park
Coral World Ocean Park is a popular tourist attraction near Coki Beach. It’s situated on the opposite coast to St Thomas Cruise Port but as the island is so small it’s no more than a 20 minute cab ride.
Coral World Ocean Park offers tourists the opportunity to get up close to local marine life. You can pay for general admission to the park or choose to book special experiences, including private tour guides and animal encounters.
One of the most impressive features of the park is an 80,000 gallon coral reef aquarium with tropical fish. This is likely to be very popular with families.
This type of attraction may not be to everyone’s liking. Most people would prefer to see wild animals in their natural habitat, rather than a pool or aquarium.
One thing to note is the education and conservation work that Coral World Ocean Park carries out and many of the animals you will see have been rescued. For example, the permanent resident sea turtles were rescued as hatchlings and the park also has a rehabilitation centre for sick and injured sea turtles.
Duty-Free Shopping near St Thomas Cruise Port
U.S. citizens should be aware that St Thomas is a particularly good place for duty-free shopping. This is because it has a higher duty allowance than other Caribbean islands. In St Thomas, you can purchase up to $1,600 of duty-free merchandise, compared to $800 outside of the US Virgin Islands.
Downtown Charlotte Amalie
At the heart of Charlotte Amalie, in the Downtown Area, there are a lot of shops spread between three main streets:
- Waterfront Highway
- Main Street
- Back Street
In this shopping area there are quaint shops found in historic buildings. Some of these buildings are made from Danish bricks that were used as ballast on the trading ships that arrived to the island in 1700 and 1800s.
Shopaholics could easily spend a day shopping in the Downtown Area.
To avoid carrying large amounts of cash with you in port, consider taking credit cards but ensure you keep them in a safe place, along with your passport and cruise card.
If you are cruising with Princess Cruises, you can now use MedallionPay in St Thomas in selected outlets. This means that you can use your OceanMedallion to pay in shops on shore. You can find out which shops accept MedallionPay in St Thomas.
Havensight Mall is no more than a minute walk from the Havensight Pier at St. Thomas Cruise Port. Here you will find familiar shops like Diamonds International and Little Switzerland as well as a small selection of bars and restaurants.
It’s a good option for those who don’t want to stray too far from the cruise ship or simply want to do a little shopping on their way back to their ship.
The Butterfly Garden is in short walking distance of the Havensight Dock. The Butterfly Garden has exotic butterflies from around the world in its three gardens.
It’s proximity to St Thomas Cruise Port makes it a perfect option for families with small children. Admission to the Butterfly Garden is very reasonable too: adult $12; Child (4-12) $6; Child (0-3) Free.
Paradise Point near St Thomas Cruise Port
Paradise Point is one of the highest points in the whole of St Thomas and only a short walk from the Havensight Dock. It’s one of the more popular attractions with cruise ship visitors because it’s a great place to get an aerial view of the ships in the cruise docks.
To get to Paradise Point you need to take the SkyRide cable car. At the summit is an observation deck, bar and restaurant. It’s home to the Baileys Bushwacker, a frozen cocktail that’s very tasty but rather strong!
Tickets for the SkyRide are $21 for adults and $10.50 for kids 12 and younger.
A short taxi ride from St Thomas Cruise Port is Mountain Top. It’s a popular spot for those in search of spectacular views of the island and its famous Banana Daiquiri sold here.
Mountain Top is on the summit of St Peter Mountain and is a good stop-off point if you are planning to visit Magens Bay. From the viewpoint, you can look down over the crystal clear turquoise waters of Magens Bay.
For visitors in search of some local history, Fort Christian is a good option. It’s a 17th Century Danish fort and museum in walking distance of St Thomas Cruise Port.
It only takes around 30 minutes to see everything so can easily be incorporated into your day ashore.
In the past it was used as a prison and cells are still in place for tourists to look around.
Red Hook is a town located on the east of the island and offers a number of good quality bars and restaurants. It gets its name from the red roofed houses and businesses in this area.
If you’re planning to visit St John, you can take a car ferry from Red Hook but be mindful of you cruise ship’s leaving time so you don’t get left behind in St Thomas Cruise Port.
Beaches near St Thomas Cruise Port
There are plenty of beaches you can visit on Caribbean cruises and so wherever your cruise ship docks, you are never very far from a beach.
Magens Bay is one of those beautiful beaches that you shouldn’t miss whilst visiting Saint Thomas. It has apparently been voted by National Geographic as one of the top ten beaches in the world.
The journey from the cruise port to Magens Bay is very hilly so it’s definitely not walkable. I’d suggest a taxi or shuttle bus, which you can pick up at the cruise port.
We took a taxi on the way there and the shuttle bus on the way back but there was no difference in the price (around $7-8 per person). Entry to Magens Bay is $5 per person.
It’s important to be aware that Magens Bay is probably the most popular beach in St Thomas and so if there are several cruise ships in port, it may get quite busy.
This beach is situated on the east coast of St Thomas and is a great spot for snorkelling due to it’s reef and calm waters.
The journey to Sapphire Beach from Charlotte Amalie is around 20 minutes by taxi and there’s not entry fee to the beach.
Many say this is one of the best beaches on the island.
Brewers Bay Beach
On the west coast of the island and only 11 minutes ride from the cruise port is Brewers Bay Beach. It is close to Cyril E. King Airport so you can watch planes take off and land from the airport (a less extreme version of Maho Beach in St Maarten).
Secret Harbor Beach
This small beach has clear waters perfect for snorkelling. It has pristine white sand and the option to rent beach chairs and parasols. It’s fairly popular with families.
Water sports are available at the Sapphire Beach Resort including parasailing and wind surfing.
A taxi from the cruise port to Secret Harbor Beach is approximately $10 each way but the beach itself is free to use.
Lindbergh Bay (also known as Emerald Beach) is what you would imagine a beach in the Caribbean to look like, with palm trees for natural shade and peaceful surroundings.
If you want to enjoy a swim or some water sports in the Caribbean Sea, this is a good choice of beach but is not known for good snorkelling. Overall, there’s everything you need for a relaxing day on the beach.
Taxis are around $8 each way from St Thomas Cruise Port to the beach.
The Caribbean is the ideal destination to cruise to if you are a beach lover. If you enjoy scuba diving, I’d recommend that you take a look at the ultimate diving in the Caribbean. There are over a thousand islands that make up the Caribbean so there is sure to be a beach out there for you.