St. Thomas is one of the 3 U.S. Virgin Islands (the other two being St. John and St. Croix). Immediately upon arrival, you will experience the fun-loving and free-spirited beach vibe that is St. Thomas.
Christopher Columbus landed on St. Thomas in 1493, but quickly sailed on to Puerto Rico. The islands changed hands many times. For a period, St. Thomas was the home for many notorious pirates who preyed on the ships sailing between the U.S. and Europe. The two most famous were Blackbeard and Bluebeard. Both are memorialized by hills bearing their names in Charlotte Amalie (pronounced a-'mall-ya, the main business district and 'capital' of the USVI). The island was also the home to almost 50 sugar plantations at its peak. The remains of many sugar mills still exist. The United States purchased the islands from Denmark in 1917 for $25 million. The motivation was to have a strategic naval presence in the Caribbean and Charlotte Amalie was an excellent natural harbor.
History is very evident in Charlotte Amalie. Besides Blackbeard's Castle which is now a hotel and restaurant, Fort Christian which guards the harbor is the oldest structure on the island. Hassel Island in the St. Thomas harbor is the home to many historic structures including a garrison building from the mid 1800's and a steam marine railway from 1840 that was built to haul ships out of the water for repair. Most of the streets in Charlotte Amalie are still designated by their Danish names such as Kronprindsens Gade (street). Today the city is a lively place of shops, cafes and restaurants.
Today, St. Thomas is one of the most popular ports of call for Caribbean cruise ships. It has two excellent port facilities - one at the historic Dutch West Indies Company dock at Havensight and another in the newly developed dock in the former U.S. Navy Sub Base. When the passengers disembark, there are numerous choices of activities that include some of the finest beaches in the Caribbean, the excellent Mahogany Run Golf Course played by President Clinton, duty-free shopping with no sales tax, the delights of Coral World Aquarium, a myriad of water sports and numerous cafes and restaurants of every stripe.