This is the third in a three-part series featuring our experiences on a Viking Ocean Cruise through the West Indies.


St. John’s, Antigua

Following breakfast, we leave the ship, head out to port and arrange a round-trip taxi to one of Antigua’s numerous (365!) fine-sand beaches, Little Ffryes, about a half hour south of the cruise ship terminal.


White sand, refreshing dips into the deep turquoise water, some pretty sweet beach combing and lack of crowds make for a couple of blissful hours away from the bustling duty-free and shopping areas near our ship.

We get into some pretty thick local traffic headed back to the ship for lunch, but make it with just enough time to wash up, eat and get ready for our three-hour afternoon island tour.

[Block House]

Our adventure takes us along small roads headed out of town. Some of the industrial areas we pass by were formerly covered by sugar plantations. Our entertaining local guide Sekou has a wealth of information to impart, from culture to history to folklore.

[Shirley Heights]

There’s three major stops on this tour: Block House (containing ruins of former British military buildings), Shirley Heights (a restored military lookout and gun battery at the southernmost part of the island with stunning views!) and Nelson’s Dockyard (the only remaining Georgian dockyard in the world, beautifully restored and still in use as a working dockyard for yachts and ships).


This last stop includes a cup of rum punch and brief overview of the old buildings now being used as a museum, gift shop, two hotels, a pub and restaurant.


Glitzy yachts line the waters here; Antigua is famed for its yearly classic yacht regatta, attracting Hollywood A-listers to this tropical paradise.

St. Maarten

Philipsburg, St. Maarten/St. Martin

The ninth day of our West Indies Explorer cruise aboard the MS Viking Sea brings us to a dual-island nation. The northern portion comprises Saint Martin while the south is home to Sint Maarten, a constituent country part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

St. Maarten-8

As we’ve got a full day of exploring in store for us, we’ll be covering St. Maarten “by land and sea” in a separate post.

St. Thomas, USVI-4

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands

Our final full day of cruising brings us to the port city of Charlotte Amalie on US Virgin Islands. We take the morning to shop in the center of town before making our way back in the heat to our ship for lunch.

St. Thomas, USVI-2

In the afternoon, we board open-air taxis for an included excursion that highlights three amazing viewpoints around the island.

Our guide, former “Muscle Man” Winston Hanley offers up a bit of history as we wind our way up the steep, curvy roads towards our first stop, Skyline Lookout, at 900 feet (274 meters) above sea level.

St. Thomas, USVI-5

The second stop, on the Atlantic side, offers stunning views of Magens Beach, ranked amongst the top 10 beaches in the world.

St. Thomas, USVI-3

We continue weaving up narrow, curvy roads until we reach Mountain Top, elevation 1,547 feet (471 meters) where there’s ample time to shop and sip on a banana daiquiri, supposedly invented right here at the bar 50 years ago, although Cuba also claims to have invented the beloved concoction in 1898.

St. Thomas, USVI-7 St. Thomas, USVI-8

While most of our group head back to the ship after Mountain Top, we grab the chance to get dropped off in town to stroll the streets and take in the local food market and atmosphere (plus we could really use a good, sweaty walk to help burn some calories!).

St. Thomas, USVI

We were guests aboard Viking’s West Indies Explorer sailing. Opinions, as always, remain our own.

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