St. Croix, USVI Cruise Port
- Overview of St. Croix, USVI
- What language is spoken in St. Croix?
- What is the national currency?
- How do I get around St. Croix?
- How can I stay in touch with home? Either via Email or phone?
- What are the top attractions and must-sees in St. Croix? How long will it take me to get there and to explore?
- What are the best eats in St. Croix?
- What are the must-drinks in St. Croix?
- Which are the best souvenirs to buy in St. Croix? Where can I get them?
- What is the weather like in St. Croix, USVI?
St. Croix is a mixture of the other two islands in the US Virgin Islands. Although it is the largest of the three islands, it is not as developed as St. Thomas but is not as quiet or laid-back as St. John. There are two main towns on St. Croix, Christiansted and Frederiksted - cruise ships dock in Frederiksted. Because there is generally only one cruise ship in port at a time, you won't encounter the crowds that you sometimes encounter on other islands.
Frederiksted underwent a recent renovation, and you will enjoy strolling among the restored historic buildings, Fort Frederik and the shops along the waterfront, which is referred to as "The Strand".
Check out this video of a scenic drive to and a dip in Cane Garden Bay↑ Back to Top
English is the official language of the US Virgin Islands. The locals speak with a strong Creole accent, referred to as "Crucian" (pronounced Cruzan).↑ Back to Top
The US Dollar is the official currency of the US Virgin Islands.
Do they accept US Dollars around the port?
Yes, the US Dollar is the official currency.
Where can I get or exchange money?
If you are from the US, there is no need to exchange money; however, if you need to exchange other forms of currency it can be done at banks and exchange facilities in Road Town where the cruise ships dock.
- Banks closest to cruise port:
There is a Scotia Bank and a First Bank right on Strand Street as you leave the cruise ship pier.
- ATMs closest to cruise port:
You will find ATMs are at both the Scotia Bank and the First Bank locations on Strand Street.
Use caution when walking on the island - remember that cars may be approaching from the opposite direction than expected. St. Croix is a safe island, but exercise the same common sense that you would in any city, particularly after dark.
Dohm's Water Taxi service offers service to and from the US Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands. They use custom catamaran power boats built on St. Croix for a fast, smooth ride.
There is also a water taxi from Christiansted to Protestant Cay, just across the bay, a 7-acre private island which has a great beach, a restaurant and offers good snorkeling as well. All types of water equipment can be rented on the Cay when you arrive.
Taxis on St. Croix are not metered, and you should confirm the fee before getting into the taxi. There will be taxis waiting at the dock when the ship arrives, and taxis are readily available at all of the major tourist areas. Licensed taxi drivers have plates with the word "taxi" on them as well as a placard or light on the roof. If you are offered a ride by one of the "gypsy" drivers, you do so at your own risk - they do not have to adhere to any of the rules set by the government for the licensed cab drivers.
The VITRAN bus system runs regularly between Christiansted and Frederiksted except on Sundays. The bus system, as with most services on Caribbean islands, runs on "island time" - which means there is no specific schedule, so it is a hit or miss opportunity to find one at a specific time at a specific bus stop.
- Budget St. Croix has an office right across the street from the cruise ship pier in Frederiksted. For more information contact them toll free at 888-264-8894.
- Olympic-Ace has an office at 69 Queen Street, one block from the dock.
- Judi of Croix Car Rentals offers free delivery and pick-up anywhere on the island. Contact them at (877) 903-2123.
Remember that driving in St. Croix is English style (on the left) although the steering wheel is on the left as in the United States. The roads are not in good condition, and you need to use caution when merging or pulling out onto the road.
- My Turn Rentals, located next to Armstrong Ice Cream in Frederiksted. Contact them at (340) 713-7555 or (340) 771-1735.
There is no international roaming with most of the major US cellular carriers (excluding Verizon.)
How can I call home? Are there call centers?
There are pay phones available for use using US coins.
Where are the Internet cafes?
There are numerous Internet cafes in St. Croix and many restaurants offering free WiFi as well.:
- Polly's at the Pier in Frederiksted (see map) offers Internet service as well as coffee, ice cream, and smoothies.
- The Namaste Cafe, on Queen Cross Street in Christiansted (see map), offers free WiFi
- Turtle's Deli, located less than half a mile south of the port in Frederiksted (see map), offers free WiFi. They also have great sandwiches.
What are the cell phone rates?
Verizon is $1.99/minute. ATT, T-Mobile and Sprint do not charge international roaming rates on any of the US Virgin Islands, therefore you can use your cell phone as you would at home. Contact your cell phone provider to verify your international roaming rates.↑ Back to Top
What are the top attractions and must-sees in St. Croix? How long will it take me to get there and to explore?
- Buck Island Reef National Park is an absolute must-visit during your day on St. Croix. It is a 176-acre island just a mile and a half offshore near Christiansted. Created in 1961, there is a reef that circles two-thirds of the island with an amazing array of tropical fish, coral, and other marine life. You will find an underwater snorkeling trail, with signs pointing out specific plants, coral, etc. Buck Island is also home to the endangered brown pelican and provides a nesting area for sea turtles. There is also a beautiful but small white sand beach, called Turtle Beach, for swimming.
- Soldier Crab Races are held in downtown Christiansted on Mondays at Marina Bar in King's Alley and at the upstairs terrace of Stixx on the Waterfront on Fridays. Both places are right on the boardwalk and attract quite a crowd. The way it works is you choose your crab (for a small fee). The crabs are then placed in the middle of a large circle. The first crab to to leave the circle is the winner. The person that chooses the winning crab wins a very nice prizes donated by local businesses.
- Mt. Pellier Hut Domino Club, located in the rain forest on the western side of St. Croix, is a bar most famous for for its two beer-drinking pigs, Oreo and JJ. For 20 years the pigs at the club have been entertaining locals and visitors alike, and you probably won't see this sight anywhere else. If given an unopened can, the pigs can open the can and drink the contents without any further assistance from you. They have become so good at this trick that they owners have had to restrict the treats to non-alcoholic beer... the pigs were getting a bit too tipsy every day.
Check out this video of beer drinking pigs in St. Croix, USVI↑ Back to Top
St. Croix offers every type of beach you could imagine: Beaches with calm water, perfect for families and snorkeling; beaches with rough waves and amazing scenery, and beaches with bars, restaurants and water sports. Below are some of the best:
- Turtle Beach, located at Buck Island National Park, has been voted one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
- Rainbow Beach is the closest beach to the cruise ship pier, about 1 mile north. There is a nice restaurant and bar as well as picnic tables if you want to pick up your own lunch.
- Cane Bay is St. Croix's most famous beach, offering divers the 3,200 foot "The Wall". Cane Bay is Rated one of the best dive sites in the Caribbean, there is also a reef only 25-30 feet from the beach for snorkelers. Divers can easily access the dive site from the beach as well; there is no need for a boat.
- Mermaid Beach, located east of Christiansted, is the main beach of the Buccaneer Hotel. It has daily passes at a reasonable cost for non-guests - you can use their beach chairs as part of the daily pass. The Buccaneer has 3 beaches, water sports of every kind, and an excellent oceanfront restaurant and bar.
- Cramer's Park Beach, on the east end of the island, has been recently renovated and has changing areas, rest rooms, etc. Picnic tables are available as well as shaded areas, and there is snorkeling just offshore.
There are lovely shops in both Frederiksted and Christiansted, in and around historic building. Both downtown areas are compact and easily walkable. As on other Caribbean islands, shopping is duty free on most merchandise, and you will find jewelry, liquor, perfumes, and Crucian arts and crafts in both shopping areas.↑ Back to Top
St. Croix has three lovely golf courses:
- Carambola Golf & Country Club has an 18-hole course built by one of the Rockefellers and designed by Robert Trent Jones. If you call ahead they will send a shuttle to the cruise ship dock to pick you up. Contact the Pro Shop by email or by phone at (340) 778-5638.
- The Reef Golf Course, located on the -ortheast side of the island, offers a 9-hole golf course in the Teague Bay valley. This course is the most eastern golf course in the United States territory. Contact them at (340) 773-8844.
- The Buccaneer Golf Course is the most famous course on the island. This stunning 18-hole course overlooks the ocean with a challenging mix of holes. Senator Edward Kennedy remarked after playing the #3 signature hole, "The only problem with this hole is that it's so beautiful, you don't want to leave the green."
The most well-known area for scuba on St. Croix is Cane Bay, where "The Wall" is found. There are both scheduled and unscheduled dives that leave the area every day. From the Cane Bay Dive Shop there are 20 different dive spots to explore. You will see shipwrecks, moray eels, 19th Century anchors, dolphin, reef sharks, and many other species of marine life and coral.
The old pier (and the new pier) in Frederiksted are also an excellent scuba locations, especially for a night dive. It has been called "one of the best macro dives in the world". Seahorses are especially plentiful in this area.
- N2 the Blue Scuba Shop is right across the street from the cruise ship pier - they offer both day and night dives of the pier area.
- St. Croix Scuba in Christiansted has water shuttles that will pick you up at the cruise ship pier and offers dive tours for less than what the cruise ships charge.
- As mentioned earlier in the "Attractions" section, you absolutely must not miss a visit to Buck Island. Big Beard's Adventure Tours offers full day, half day, and sunset cruises on their 42-foot custom catamaran and they will tailor a tour specifically for cruise ship passengers if requested. There is an open bar with rum punch on the boat and, depending on which tour you choose, a BBQ lunch. To book a tour, go to Big Beard's office is in downtown Christiansted - you can also e-mail or call ahead for a reservation. You will know Big Beard when you see him, that won't be a problem.
- The Cruzan Rum Distillery Tour is both interesting and delicious (for those over 18, of course!). Their location is just outside Frederiksted, They have been making Cruzan rum at this location since 1760. During the tour, you will see all the steps needed to produce the rum from molasses made with sugar cane from the Caribbean and mixed with rain water. The factory itself smells wonderful, and you will have ample opportunity to taste their various rums at the end of the tour. Ask for a mango-tango, one of their specialties. The prices on rum at the distillery itself are very good - you can take back 6 bottles of rum and store it on the ship until you arrive at your home port.
- The St. Croix Heritage Trail is a 72-mile, self-guided tour of historic sites. The route includes Point Udall, the easternmost point in the United States, the Whim Plantation Museum, several forts, and the Cruzan Rum Factory. Maps outlining the tour route are available at the St. Croix Landmarks Society office, 52 Estate Whim in Frederiksted or you can download the map before leaving home.
Remember that everyone is on "island time" on St. Croix - nothing runs on schedule, or gets done in a hurry. Just relax and enjoy the scenery and eventually everything will be taken care of. Greet everyone with "hello" or "good morning" etc. before getting down to business, whether ordering a drink at a bar or just passing people on the street.↑ Back to Top
Crucian Rum Cake is a must while on St. Croix. There is no better place to sample it than at Rum Runners Restaurant in Christiansted, right on the water. They have a deck bar and a friendly school of tarpon who visit looking for handouts. Some are over 5 ft long!↑ Back to Top
Basically anything with Cruzan Rum. The Buccaneer serves what they call their "vintage cocktails" - most made with Cruzan Rum, of course. Be sure to stop by and take a seat on their terrace overlooking the ocean, especially if you can be there at sunset. Raising Cane, The Rumbler, and The Swashbuckler are particularly delicious.↑ Back to Top
Cruzan Rum is an appropriate souvenir from St. Croix. You are allowed to bring back 6 bottles duty-free, and they will package it for you for flying. Just have the ship store the rum until you arrive at your home port.
Although the Cruzan hook bracelet is very famous, there is another type of jewelry specific to St. Croix that you might like as well. It is made from old pieces of china scattered across the island from the old sugar plantations and each piece is completely unique. Children used these broken pieces, called Chaney, as play money (thus the combination of the words China and Money = Chaney.) Jewelry shops in both Christiansted and Frederiksted carry this beautiful reminder of your visit to St. Croix.
Mahogany sculptures can make an unusual and unforgettable reminder of your trip to St. Croix. Make a journey out to the St. Croix LEAP (Life Environmental Arts Project), in the rain forest. The LEAP is home to some very unique woodcarvers who work with Mahogany and have a wide selection of hand-made wood products for you to choose from as well as sculptures to enjoy on the property. St. Croix LEAP is located 2.6 miles northeast of the cruise port (see map.)↑ Back to Top
Average Monthly Temperatures and Rainfall in St. Croix↑ Back to Top
Eastern Caribbean Cruise Ports:
- Catalina Island, Dominican Republic
- Coco Cay, Bahamas
- Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos
- Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
- La Romana, Dominican Republic
- Labadee, Haiti
- Nassau, Bahamas
- Samana, Dominican Republic
- San Juan, Puerto Rico
- St. Maarten / St. Martin
- St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
- St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
- Tortola, British Virgin Islands