St. Thomas is one of the most popular cruise ship ports of call in the world. Nearly every cruise that passes through the eastern Caribbean stops at Charlotte Amalie. Major cruise lines also call on Road Town, Tortola, but with considerably less frequency. The mega-ships of Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruise Lines, Holland America Cruise Line, and Costa Cruise Lines are among the most frequent visitors.
Several smaller ships also call in the Virgin Islands. Arabella (800/395-1343, www.cruisearabella.com) cruises around St. Thomas, St. John, and the British Virgin Islands every winter with no more than 42 people. The American Canadian Caribbean Line (www.acci-smallships.com) has no more than 100 passengers on its Grande Caribe, which cruises the eastern Caribbean, including the Virgin Islands, in the winter. You could also check out Seabourn Cruise Line (800/929-9391, www.seabourn.com), noted for luxury, and Star Clippers (305/442-0550, www.starclippers.com), which offers a “Treasure Islands” cruise that visits many of the Virgin Islands.
The cost of cruises varies considerably depending on the type of cruise, the length, and the season. Short, three-day cruises on major cruise lines can cost as little as $300 per person, while 7-day cruises can range from $700 to $2,000. Upscale cruises on small ships can cost upwards of $3,500 per outing per person.
© Susanna Henighan Potter from Moon Virgin Islands, 4th edition