As a cruise director for many years, I visited the small, quaint island every Tuesday. Twenty-five years later, it has matured into destination adulthood, but in spite of its modernization, the island retains its playful appeal. Its protected harbor, once a haven for swashbucklers and trading ships from around the world, is now a playground for chic globetrotters and private yachts. With the ideal attributes of paradise, it’s no wonder that it enjoys the distinction of being the reigning Best Caribbean Cruise Destination from Porthole Cruise’s Readers’ Choice Awards.
In the mid-1700s, the island became a Danish crown colony and evolved as an essential trading destination for vessels from around the world. With the enormous influx of ships loaded with supplies, it was only fitting that the island became such an attraction for pirates.
Swashbuckling and scalawag stories abound, and whether they are accurate or not is irrelevant. What is true is that the rumored booty of Blackbeard and Bluebeard has given way to the bounty of Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren. The once-crowded sidewalks of Main Street have recently been reimagined into a pedestrian utopia of shops and boutiques that branch off into alleyways like Palm Passage, where old stone warehouses play host to designer stores and sidewalk cafes. The colonial architecture provides a colorful facade to shops offering fashion, china, crystal, perfumes, gold, and diamonds. Not only will shopaholics find added elbow room, but because St. Thomas is part of the U.S. Virgin Islands, they are also treated to a duty-free allowance twice as high as would be found elsewhere in the Caribbean.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Sipping on the Sand
The unique beach bars near South Florida’s cruise ports are a perfect reflection of the shorelines they represent.
St. Thomas, Sophisticated
A former cruise director revisits the tiny, charming paradise he adored...only to find even more to love.
Traditional Tlingit Tastes
In Hoonah, Alaska, food is about much more than just what's on the plate.
Mardi Gras Déjà Vu?
The ships couldn’t be more different, but the return of the Mardi Gras name to Carnival’s fleet may just bring revolution and renaissance to the line and industry all the same.
A Rising Star in the Art World
Let's Get Physical
Having long marveled at the technology of the high-end workout equipment on the high seas, Porthole goes all in on putting together a home fitness center.
From Russia With Love
Seen throughout Alaska, the matryoshka nesting dolls are as poignantly meaningful as they are increasingly adorable.
CONNOISSEURS OF COZY
Amsterdam has launched a lifestyle based on the convivial concept of gezelligheid: lively, comfortable contentment.
25 Celebrating Twenty-Five Years of Cruising
A Milestone, but far from Mission Accomplished...
RIDING THE STORM
THE BEST TIME FOR BIRDERS TO SEE THE FASCINATING STORM PETREL IS DURING A STORM. IN FACT, SOME LEGENDS CLAIM THE SEABIRD CAUSED THE STORM.