Thursday, December 31, 2015

NCL Escape - Day 4 (St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands)

NCL Escape - Day 4
(St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands)

With our arrival at 8AM, we were ready to get off the ship and hit the town.  Only a short ride on a taxi ($4 a person) to the downtown area, there is plenty of walking and shopping to do.  We had already mapped out some ideas of what stores we wanted to go to and no plans to go on a tour.  However, as we were walking to the downtown area where the taxi dropped us off, there were some local vendors selling their services to do a 2 hour tour of the island for $20.  Not a bad deal.  We signed up to meet them later at 12:30PM and headed to the stores. 

Our first stop was, of course, Diamonds International and Del Sol.  As you probably already figured that as soon as you walk into the store, they are going to try and sell you something.  Well, as soon as you pull out your card to get the free bracelet that they push on you from the cruise, they try to keep you there to continue to get you interested in something.  Since I have been through this many times, on many cruises, or I am sure that some of you have experienced it as well, J.C. got suckered into it.  That’s ok though.  Gave me some good ideas on what he likes and it was something to experience together.  Lesson learned.  Del Sol is where everything they have turns colors in the sunlight.  A little overrated and pricy but some things might be worth it, but it depends on your taste and what you like.

Next, it was time to visit Cariloha.  This is one of my favorite places in the market.  All of their products are made from Bamboo and extremely soft.  I have one shirt I bought from them two years ago on my last cruise and it is so comfortable, keeps me cool/hot when needed, and as you continue to wear it, it forms to your body.  Oh the comfort!!

Time to head back now to get ourselves on the tour of St. Thomas.  Several people were on this tour and of course, those tour operators have people on the island that they contract with to bring them to their store so that tourists can buy from them.  Ok, not a big deal and prices are a lot more reasonable.  You just have to be a smart shopper and really know your pricing.  Anyway, we hit Beacon Point first for a flavorful and famous drink of Banana Rum Runner!  You were able to pour as much Rum as you wanted into your frozen Banana runner, so trust me, it can get pretty strong!  

Next, off driving up the mountain to get a good view of St. Thomas and enjoy a Carib beer, the official beer of St. Thomas, and tasty too!

Beautiful view of St. Thomas!

Now the last stop of the tour was at the Cruzan Beach Club at Sunset Grille at Secret Harbor Beach where you can enjoy the beach for ½ hour and a Mango Sunrise drink!  Those are delicious and a must stop on any tour!  Even if you wanted to just go there and spend the day, you must do this or you can go to Coco beach.  I have been to both and they are not crowded, clean, and pleasant people.

Back on the tour bus, we headed back to the downtown area to hit the straw market.  Now here is where the locals sell all the tourist items and some are seemingly overpriced.  You really need to bargain with them and check the items to make sure they are what they say they are.  You can get taken but sometimes you can leave with a good bargain.  Remember, most of these vendors sell the same, exact item!  So check the vendors that sell the same item and get the lowest price for it!

As time is passing by, it’s time to head back to the ship.  Everyone has to be onboard by 5:30PM, but as I have stated to many of my clients, make sure you get back at least ½ hour PRIOR to what the cruise line is telling you when to get back on board.  If you miss the boat, you are responsible to get yourself to the next destination to catch the ship!

Back at our cabin, we rested a little, got dressed and headed to the 80’s party at H2O.  Pretty interesting to see all the videos of the 80’s, but not many people from the ship at this party.  Pretty surprising as usually NCL pulls off some great parties. 

Overall, the visit to St. Thomas is usually the best one out of the whole cruise.  Good pricing when shopping, great tours and beaches, and people are friendly.

Please feel free to comment as I would love to hear from you.  Tune in for day four of our cruise on Norwegian's newest ship the Escape!

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