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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Travel –February 15, 16, 17 & 18, 2014,

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

First pool with movie theater outside.
Second pool with bar and Jacuzzi
A long outside hallway along the 15th floor of the ship.

Boarding the ship on the 15th of February was a long arduous affair. Not everyone is as organized as John. Once we arrived at the registration counter it took us all of three minutes to check in, however, to get to the counter took about two hours. Some people on board indicated that they waited as long as two and a half hours. I guess the ship is going to so many countries with so many visa requirement and so many foreign passengers there was a lot to check at the reception desk. The first afternoon everyone was wandering around to familiarize themselves with the ship. The elevators were very slow and crowded. Now that people have spread out and gotten into a routine the boat is like a mini ant hill. It is an amazing thing to see. The boat holds a maximum of 3,000 passengers and 1,400 crew. The ship is 19 stories tall….yes….I said 19 stories. That is above the water line. It is a city, holding more than some towns in the US.
Another cruise ship leaving the harbor just before sunset

The pools are great!!!! (That is for my swimming buddies.) They have two pools that are 5 to 7 feet deep…YEA!!! Now…if I can only find a time when the lappers are not in the pool. There are a few other pools too, but smaller. For those who swim the Crown Princess is TOPS! They also have great food too! I could do with a few less people, but then again, that is just me. Pictures always say more than words. This is a nice ship!!! Two days at sea was very enjoyable, and I found a large group of women that like to knit. What more could I ask for?
Back bar and third pool...AWESOME!!

Coming in to St. Thomas on Tuesday morning rain clouds were all around. We planned on going on a catamaran sailing trip and snorkel trip to St. Johns. By the time we docked and the sun was fully up, the clouds were gone. This is the tropics! I have been on both islands a number of times. John has been here at least once, and I keep on reminding him of that…. no recollection. I don’t blame him. When you travel as much as we have some time you can forget a few. It always looks different, nothing ever stays the same. You can go back to a place many times because things are always changing. We docked at a new port and everything was new for me too. All the shops were new and we were farther away from the old downtown area. It is not a big problem for us. We are not big shoppers of diamonds and gold so we skipped that.

A beach near St. Thomas

St. Thomas is about 30 miles due east of Puerto Rico, and one of the world's most heavily trafficked cruise ports.  It is the most popular port of call in the Virgin Islands. Charlotte Amalie, the capital of the Virgin Islands, welcomes visitors to its shores. The island is packed with attractions, beaches and world-renowned shopping as I mentioned above.

Driving to and from the catamaran was informative and gave us a view of what St. Thomas living was really like. There are the really rich and the really poor. We saw both. Not quite sure where our tourist dollars go, but they don’t trickle down very far. There is a fair amount of poverty when you get away from the tourist area. I guess it is like all the U.S. Territories. They primarily exist for the tourists, but the tourist dollars support just a very few. Not sure how this is fixed, it is so around the world.

View of St. Thomas as the ship departs.

Back at the ship we washed the sand out of our suits and off our bodies, checked our email and waited for the ship to sail. It was a quick, short visit to St. Thomas and St. Johns but this time the swimming and beach landing will be memorable. This is another place I’d highly recommend for its beauty and various activities.

Guess what?? It is raining….it is the tropics!! Tomorrow we are headed to Antigua and we are going to sail with another couple on a Beneteau 40 ft. sail boat. This should be a load of fun!! Stay tuned; our adventure shall continue.

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