History is a big draw in St. Croix: planes are filled with Danish visitors who come mainly to explore the island's colonial history. Of course, like the rest of us, they also make sure to spend some time sunning at the island's powdery beaches, getting pampered at the hotels, and dining at interesting restaurants. Until 1917 Denmark owned St. Croix and her sister Virgin Islands, a fact reflected in street names in the main towns of Christiansted and Frederiksted as well as the surnames of many island residents. View more
In the 18th and 19th centuries, some of those early Danish settlers, as well as other Europeans, owned plantations, all of them worked by African slaves and white indentured servants lured to St. Croix to pay off their debt to society. Some of the plantation ruins—such as the Christiansted National Historic Site, Whim Plantation, the ruins at St. George Village Botanical Garden, and those at Estate Mount Washington and Judith's Fancy—are open for easy exploration. Others are on private land, but a drive around the island reveals the ruins of 100 plantations here and there on St. Croix's 84 square miles (218 square km). Their windmills, greathouses, and factories are all that's left of the 224 plantations that once grew sugarcane, tobacco, and other crops at the island's height. The downturn began in 1801, when the British occupied the island. The end of the slave trade in 1803, an additional British occupation (from 1807 to 1815), droughts, the development of the sugar-beet industry in Europe, political upheaval, and an economic depression all sent the island into a downward spiral. St. Croix never recovered. The end of slavery in 1848, followed by labor riots, fires, hurricanes, and an earthquake during the last half of the 19th century, brought what was left of the island's economy to its knees. In the 1920s, the start of prohibition in the United States ended the island's rum industry, further crippling the economy. The situation remained dire—so bad that President Herbert Hoover called the territory an "effective poorhouse" during a 1931 visit—until the rise of tourism in the late 1950s and 1960s. With tourism came economic improvements coupled with an influx of residents from other Caribbean islands and the mainland: St. Croix also depends on industries such as the huge oil refinery outside Frederiksted to provide employment. Today suburban subdivisions fill the fields where sugarcane once waved in the tropical breeze. Condominium complexes line the beaches along the north coast outside Christiansted. Large houses dot the rolling hillsides. Modern strip malls and shopping centers sit along major roads, and it's as easy to find a McDonald's as it is Caribbean fare. Although St. Croix sits definitely in the 21st century, with only a little effort you can easily step back into the island's past. Although there are things to see and do in St. Croix's two towns, Christiansted and Frederiksted (both named after Danish kings), there are lots of interesting spots in between them and to the east of Christiansted. Just be sure you have a map in hand (pick one up at rental-car agencies, or stop by the tourist office for an excellent one that's free). Many secondary roads remain unmarked; if you get confused, ask for help. Locals are always ready to point you in the right direction.
The romance of the seas, small ship sizes and intimate atmosphere, Silversea has long been a leader in the ultra-luxury market. Travelling to both iconic and secluded ports, Silversea’s award-winning itineraries inspire wanderlust and exploration. With over 900 destinations, longer port stays and more late-night departures than ever before, even the savviest traveler will find something new. A butler for every suite, a complimentary in-suite bar stocked with your preferences, all-inclusive exquisite dining, award-winning onboard entertainment and an unparalleled space to guest ratio all contribute to the Silversea experience. Not forgetting our famed Italian hospitality, where new faces become old friends. Bienvenuti a bordo.
Experience a half-day trip to Buck Island, a must for every visitor, whether you snorkel the underwater trail or just enjoy the cruise.
Proclaimed as a National Monument by President John F. Kennedy in June, 1962, Buck Island sits off St. Croix's North Coast and consists of approximately 40,000 acres of sea and land. Its' main beauty lies in the fantastic reefs and a unique underwater trail.
Tour will depart from the Frederiksted pier for a 45-minute scenic drive across the island to Christiansted. Enjoy a relaxing 40-minute powerboat ride touring the North Shore of St Croix on your way to Buck Island Reef to enjoy an hour of snorkeling time at the beautiful underwater Marine Garden.
All snorkeling equipment, flotation devices and lessons are included in this underwater adventure, with guided touring as well as free exploration time. Soft drinks, water and rum punch (on the return) will be provided.
Following your snorkeling adventure, return to Christiansted and re-board your transport for the return drive to Frederiksted.
Please note: This tour involves extensive activity and guests must be in good physical condition to participate. This tour is not suitable for guests who utilise a wheelchair. Guests should wear a swimsuit under a cover-up, sun protection and bring a towel from the ship.
Discover the nature and history of St. Croix as you pedal your 21-speed bicycle on this half-day adventure.
Departing the pier on foot, take the short stroll to the bicycle base. Upon arrival, meet your guides and receive your helmet, bicycle and safety instruction before heading off on your exciting ride.
This green adventure tour will take you on a 12-mile (19-kilometre) bike ride through fascinating places, accounts and wilderness experiences of the lush west end of St. Croix. Sugar plantations, rainforest, wild coastline and historic Freedom City are all packed into this rolling tour.
This is a great way to get away to learn, see and feel the true beauty of the Caribbean. Bring your cameras and this tour will provide the rest.
Please note: Tour involves extensive activity and is recommended for guests in good physical condition and able to ride a bike. Guests should wear shorts, closed-toe shoes (required) and sun protection. Minimum age to participate is 10, accompanied by an adult. Helmets are provided and must be worn at all times while riding. Guests must sign a waiver / release to participate. Maximum weight limit on the bicycle is 250 pounds (113 kilograms).
Discover the history and architecture of Christiansted, the former capital of the Dutch West Indies during this half-day walking tour.
St. Croix is a quiet, laid-back island generously endowed by Mother Nature and steeped in a rich cultural, heritage and Old World charm.
After a 45-minute transfer to Christiansted, be greeted by a tour guide for your walking tour, the best way for the town to be explored. Christiansted's well preserved Danish architecture and graceful shaded archways tie together many points of interest in the town.
Walking Tour Highlights
Among those overlooking the harbour is Fort Christiansvern, a yellow brick fort built by the Danes to ward off pirates and threats from other countries. Nearby, Steeple Building is the islands first church which is now a museum. Visit the Old Danish Customs House and the stately Government house.
Following your visits to these historical sites, enjoy one hour of free time to stroll along the Christiansted boardwalk and take in the sights and sounds of its quaint shops, restaurants and picturesque harbour.
At the appointed time, rejoin your transport for the 45-minute return drive to Frederiksted and your awaiting ship.
Please note: This tour involves moderate to extensive amounts of walking and is not suitable for guests with limited mobility or for those who utilise a wheelchair. We recommend guests wear lightweight comfortable clothing, flat walking shoes and sun protection.
Enjoy the true wonderful sights on St. Croix on this Panoramic Drive tour. This tour affords you the opportunity to see St. Croix in its natural beauty with its breathtaking views. Throughout the tour you learn of the culture and heritage of St. Croix and experience panoramic views that provide for excellent photo opportunities.
Following a panoramic drive of approximately 90 minutes with photo stops, you reach the beautiful and historical town of Christiansted. Enjoy one hour free time to browse around, do some shopping or visit on your own the famous Fort Christiansvern.
At the assigned time, re-join your mini-coach for the return drive to Frederiksted and your awaiting ship.
This is a panoramic tour, mostly scenic driving with photo stops, suggested for guests with walking limitations.
Please note: This tour involves minimal walking and is suitable for guests with limited mobility and for those who utilise a wheelchair as long as they can embark and disembark the coach with minimal assistance. Wheelchairs must be foldable. We suggest guests dress in seasonal attire and wear flat, comfortable shoes and sun protection.