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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, February 8, 2023
HomeNewsArchivesTourist Is in No Hurry to Return to St. Thomas

Tourist Is in No Hurry to Return to St. Thomas

Dear Source:
I just returned from a Carnival Cruise Vacation and one of the stops was at St. Thomas. All I can say is that I'm in no Hurry to Return and most likely will make efforts not to return. In a Nutshell I was shocked by the rudeness and arrogance of the Local people that are supporting and island driven by the tourist industry. The Following is our experience on St. Thomas (Me, My Wife and her Brother's family, Total of 7 People).
We docked and disembarked about 8:00am. The plan was to check out the Shops around the Ship, Then Head downtown and then go to Megan's bay by Noon. When you leave the Dock your immediately thrown into the world of St Thomas Taxi Drivers that are lined up with one or two people coordinating boarding and asking your destination. When we told the dispatch team our intentions, we were told the local shops around the ship were closed till 9:00, and they were, but that the Shops downtown were open so we should go there first and we were lead to a waiting open air taxi. Price was $4 dollars PP. We were also on board the Taxi with people going the Megan's Bay and they said they Paid $4 also … 20 Minutes later and about a 2 mile ride were dumped off downtown and find that the Stores downtown are all closed to 9:00 am also. Lied too by the Taxi folks at the Ship, Strike one for St. Thomas. So we were stuck walking around an empty town for 40 minutes while being solicited by every Taxi driver that comes by asking us if we want to go back to the ship. Meantime, we find a Little Café opened early so I figure we'll get a drink, we enter and one of the girls with us ask to use the restroom. Now its very apparent I'm waiting to order drinks but the bartenders reply was "You can use the bathroom if you pay our buy something". Very Rude, Strike Two for St. Thomas. I ask for Jack Daniels (Yes I know its 8:45am, But I'm on Vacation) and he looks at a Bottle that is at least a quarter full and then tells me he doesn't have enough Jack Daniels and all I can have is Rum or Vodka Drink. One Rum and Coke, One Water and $8.75 later (Completely made up pricing) were back out on the street. Finally Shops open and we wander for less than an hour. Every corner were solicited by the Taxi's over and over again. We see multiple accidents. My Wife and the girls do not even feel safe downtown so we hop a Taxi a return to the Ship.
11:30am, we head off the ship bound for Megan's Bay. We know we need a Taxi and were told earlier in the day that it would $4pp. Were told now its $8pp. They do show us a list and explain it is standard rate, so maybe there was miscommunication during the morning. We decide to decline and see if there are other options. The Taxi people become increasingly berating as were walking up through the Shops, one statement when we said we didn't want to pay almost 60 dollars each way to Megan's Bay was " Let them walk up the Hill then, They'll be back." We were not arguing with these people and they were going out of their way to be arrogant. Strike 3 for St. Thomas, If not for hearing good things about Megan's Bay I would have turned around and got back on the ship. Low and Behold we find a Taxi going to Megan's for $35 and were off. I would never attempt to drive in St. Thomas, we were almost broadsided by a Construction Vehicle at the first, for lack of a better name intersection. We reach Megan's and relaxed for a bit. I get Hungry and go to the Bar with my Wife and order drinks .. In the meantime I go over to the snack bar to order Steak Fries. I asked if Fries were made and was told they were, 20 Minutes later I'm still standing at the Counter waiting for my Fries. Locals again that Staff the stand were completely unresponsive to my questions and were rude to the point of almost throwing my fries across the counter with no apology for the wait. 3:00pm … Time to leave Megan's bay, we know its going to be $8pp and head over to the gate. There are two to three air conditioned Vans waiting for passengers, as were approaching a Taxi driver stops me and tells me he'll take us back to the ship. I tell him no, I'll get on the Taxi's that are ready to leave .. He replies I'll leave now .. But his Taxi is Open Air, so I decline again in favor of the Air Conditioned vehicle that are ready to leave at the same $8 Price. I ask him if he'll take us for less … He agrees to $6pp so we accept, board and head back to the Ship. The ride back was nothing short of pure Terror, Safe speed was far exceeded and we all had the Physically hang on as to not get thrown around the Taxi. At the same intersection we were almost hit at on the way up, our Taxi Driver cuts off a local and has to come to a very abrupt stop, the Local jumped out of his car and has words with our Taxi driver who was completely at fault but berated and cursed the man down. We arrive at the ship and my Brother in Law hands the Driver the $36 and the Taxi Driver goes crazy " Where's my Money, Its $8pp" and starts waving his Price Sheet at us. We explain that he agreed to $6pp that's why we took his cab and not the Air Conditioned Vans. The he got increasing louder and more violent " Your disrespecting me" " Your Costing me my Job" to the Point a crowd gathered and made us out to be the bad guys. My Nephew handed the Taxi Driver some more money just to shut him up and we walked away as he continued to yell at us. Final Strike for St. Thomas.
In my opinion if left unchecked. These Taxi Drivers and Locals will have serious impact to your Tourist industry over time. I did not speak with one person back on the ship that had anything outstanding to say about their visit in St. Thomas compared to almost everyone gushing about St Marten the previous day. It was very apparent that the local people and specifically the Taxi drivers and dispatch personal do not care or even like visitors to their country.
I've seen the same thing start to Happen in Jamaica over the years and its my understanding that Jamaica tourist visitation is down almost 38% over the last few years. I can see the same happening to St. Thomas if this type of treatment is tolerated. I know I won't be back anytime soon.

Guy Czyzyk

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