Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Thursday, February 21, 2013 – Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, USVI – Mostly Sunny – 80F

Distance from Philipsburg to Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, USVI: 110 Nautical Miles

A beautiful day in the USVI…

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Charlotte Amalie from the Silhouette

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The Pier and entrance to bay from Silhouette

Originally, I thought I would be speaking late this afternoon prior to push.  No talk was scheduled in the Celebrity Today so we have the whole day to relax.

It’s a long walk into Charlotte Amalie from the pier so we signed up for an excursion to St. John instead - “St. John Island Tour”.  The tour consists of 90 minutes of ferry boat travel plus about two and a half hours of touring the island by open safari bus.  We did this tour years ago as part of a family cruise.

The ferry (really a ship) - “The Island Lady” – picked us up on the pier near the back of the Silhouette.  I sat at the back on the top deck of the ferry so I could get pictures – the ride was really rocky but I was OK.  I will be on the inside on the way back.

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Just leaving the port and Silhouette

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The ferry from my vantage point

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Leaving Charlotte Amalie behind

The ferry hugged the coastline of St. Thomas so we got some nice views of some of the luxury hotels along the shore (below).

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Soon, we left the vicinity of St. Thomas and headed to St. John.  St. John, St. Thomas, St. Croix, and the recently anointed Water Island (1997) make up the US Virgin Islands.  The USVI were purchased from the Brits back in 1917 for $26 million – now that won’t even buy you a small private island in the Caribbean.

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Our Ferry is really moving

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Alligator Rock (does it look like a gator to you?)

Forty-five minutes later we arrived at St. John (pop. 5500).  The ship pulled into Cruz Bay – the main town on the Island.  There is not much to Cruz Bay and we were glad we decided not to do “St. Thomas on your Own”.

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Approaching St. John

As we approached St. John, we were escorted by the ship’s bird mascot, Chuck, who buzzed the ferry several time.  He was tough to photograph but I captured him in the shot below.

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Looking back at St. Thomas

I tried to get into the ferry but the doors were locked.  I had to settle for the picture of Ellen below.

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We crammed into an open air Safari truck (really tight) driven by our guide, Chris, who was quite the “Island Boy” he claimed to be. Our first stop was a view point overlooking Cruz Bay.

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Cruz Bay Scenic Overlook

The bus continued its climb in the hills above the various beaches.

The next stop was at the Caneel Bay Rockefeller Resort.  This is a very pricey resort, with nice beaches and meeting facilities.  The only thing missing is a golf course – there are no golf courses on St. John.

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An even nicer beach, Trunk Bay, was next on the tour.

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Trunk Bay

Cinnamon Bay was the next scenic stop but the passengers wouldn’t get out of the bus so I couldn’t get any pictures.  The tour took us down to Cinnamon Bay for a rest stop and some snacks so I guess that made up for it.  We had brought some food from the ship and this was a good place to eat.  We also were able to go down to the beach itself for some nice photos.

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Cinnamon Bay Beach

We finally found someone who would take our picture.

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Cinnamon Bay had a nice snack shop and facilities and it also had chickens just wandering around – Ellen chased them down for a picture.

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ET – Chicken Hunter

From Cinnamon Bay, we headed back to town.  Right near Cinnamon Bay, there were ruins of an old Sugar Cane Plantation.

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Sugar Cane Plantation Ruins

On the trip back, I sat on the inside of the boat (hence the blue hues of the picture).  The picture below is of the home of the owners of White Castle Restaurant – in a show of conspicuous tackiness, their home looks like a giant White Caste Restaurant. 

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Chez White Castle

It was an early push so we watched the sail away from Deck 5.

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Sail Away St. Thomas

We had dinner in the Grand Cuvee Dining Room (lots of pasta to choose from) and then some time in the Grand Foyer listening to our Brit Party Band.

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Showtime tonight featured Vocalist, Guitarist Travis Turpin from the proud state of Nebraska (non one else on the ship from Nebraska).  We have seen Travis before and his show was very good.  He does some dead on impressions (Sammy Davis Jr and Frank Sinatra).  When he got into Rock and Roll we moved up to the balcony to reduce the noise impact.  He had some very neat visual effects, the best being a song he did with his singing family (four sisters and mom and dad) synchronized visually and vocally via computers.  He finished off with a tribute to his family replete with family pictures.  He puts on a great show.

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Travis Turpin (from the balcony)

On our way back tomorrow – first of two sea days. 

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