I went to a stunning Caribbean island on my cruise that you've probably never heard ofIn:
I had never heard of Water Island in the U.S. Virgin Islands, but as soon as I read about this gorgeous island, I knew I wanted to check it out.
I’ve been to St. Thomas more times than I can count, so when I saw that it was a scheduled port of call on my current Symphony of the Seas sailing, I was planning on staying onboard and grinding out some of my work.
That is, however, until I heard about Water Island, a quiet and secluded island off the coast of St. Thomas that's also the smallest of the four U.S. Virgin Islands and only has about 180 full-time residents!
The water ferry
I disembarked around 8:50am and began the ten minute walk to the Crown Bay Marina, which is right outside of the cruise terminal. The ferry sails from Dock D and is located directly next to Tickles Dockside Pub.
I had just missed the 9am departure, so I planned on making myself comfortable for the next hour. I was pleasantly surprised when they did an extra run around 9:40am!
You don’t need to worry about going to a ticket office prior; the $15 roundtrip fare is payable via cash only upon embarkation. I received a hard piece of plastic that was my return ticket, and I really appreciated how it listed all of the departure times!
We departed for Water Island at 9:42am and arrived only ten minutes later. The views of St. Thomas on the way there were breathtaking, and I got to see a (nearly) 360° view of the ship.
When we arrived, we were greeted by a bus driver who was providing free transfers to Honeymoon Beach.
It was a quiet day despite five ships docked in St. Thomas (that means over 17,000 passengers), and there were plenty of beach chairs and umbrellas available for rent, as well as complimentary palapa umbrellas.
There wasn’t even any music playing on the beach; it came from excursion boats or the restaurant.
If relaxing on the beach isn’t your vibe, don’t worry! They also offered a variety of different water sport equipment, including paddle boards, kayaks, and snorkel gear, and for the first time in my life, I saw a floating cycling class.
Apparently, you can also pay for a floating picnic table ride for a minimum of $100. Unfortunately, I did not see anyone picnicking in the bay, even when I returned in the afternoon.
You can also rent golf carts to help you navigate the island. They start at $45 per hour, but you can rent one all day for $125.
Other amenities include a restroom and souvenir store.
After checking out Honeymoon Beach, my plan was to walk (fourteen minutes, according to Google Maps) to Limestone Beach, but I quickly realized that this might not be possible; everyone I saw was riding in a golf cart. The incline of the roads were steep, and there were no trees or buildings to provide any shade.
I did, however, stumble upon the cutest shed called The Crossing, which was probably the highlight of my morning. Outside, you can purchase virgin shaved ice for $5 (they offer twenty different flavors!), beer, wine, hard seltzer, soda, or water.
On a more pleasant day, there’s some outside seating available, which is probably ideal before hopping back onto a golf cart. I can see some major and unfortunate spills happening this way!
To escape the heat, I went inside and checked out the local art that’s available for purchase. I’m regretting not buying one of the stickers that I saw!
After cooling down with a cherry flavored shaved ice, I decided to keep trekking towards Limestone Beach. One local in a golf cart stopped me to tell me that I was heading in the wrong direction and that it wasn’t the best beach to visit because of how rocky it is.
I was also told that Sprat Bay Beach is only accessible to those staying within Sprat Bay Estates. There went my entire plan!
I was still curious as to what the Limestone Beach was like, even if I had to navigate some rocks. After I was pointed in the right direction and kept going for a few minutes, a vacationing couple stopped and asked, “Are you trying to walk this entire island in the heat for fun?”
They shared the same sentiments about Limestone Beach and told me I was better off hitching a ride with them and visiting Fort Segarra, an underground fort built during World War II. However, the war ended before it was completed, so the structure was abandoned.
The ride in the golf cart took about five minutes, but it went up a lot of hills and poorly paved roads.
When we walked inside of the fort, we all agreed felt like a horror movie. There were no lights, and giant holes in the floor were covered with wooden planks.
Plus, I could tell that this was a place that people go to party, as there were broken beer bottles everywhere. If you walk all the way through, you’ll find to two gun embankments.
The sweeping views of St. Thomas and the ocean made the journey worth it. There was a picnic table on top of the fort, and I’d highly recommend adding lunch here to any Water Island itinerary.
Lunch at Dinghy's Beach Bar & Grill
After taking in all of the views, the couple planned on giving me a ride back to Honeymoon Beach, where I was planning on grabbing lunch at Dinghy’s Beach Bar and Grill.
Well, like the rest of my morning, this did not go as planned. We were stopped a little over halfway there by the owner of the golf cart rental company who said that the golf cart was only able to seat two people. Thankfully, she gave me a ride the rest of the way.
The menu felt standard for a beachside joint, with offerings like burgers, sandwiches, tacos, and salads.
Even though I ate a shrimp based appetizer and entree last night for dinner, I opted to order the bang bang shrimp ($16.00), and, of course, their signature frozen cocktail: the creamy dinghy ($11.00). After all, I was at the beach!
It took almost twenty minutes to receive my food after placing the order. Since I technically ordered an appetizer, I wasn’t expecting the portion to be large.
I was served five fried shrimp coated in sauce and garnished with green onions, enough to satisfy me until I returned to the ship!
The shrimp was golden and crispy, though a few pieces were so large that cutting the tails off was difficult; you could barely see them through the fried batter!
I saw a lot of people eating the sandwiches, including some of the HiRO cast members, and I wish I had tried one of them instead.
On the other hand, the creamy dinghy was fantastic! This was my first frozen drink of the cruise, and I was not disappointed. It tasted like a piña colada with a more muted pineapple flavor.
The service at Dinghy’s Beach Bar and Grill was slow. It took over twenty minutes to receive my bill. This was upsetting because I was hoping to get some time to hangout on the beach before catching the water ferry back to St. Thomas.
While I had an adventurous morning on Water Island that allowed me to explore a new place, I think that I would want to rent a golf cart to maximize my time on the beach and see more of the island.
Since I really enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere of Honeymoon Beach, I definitely plan on returning in the future!