Caribbean Adventure: St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Day one of our cruise and we wasted no time exploring the Freedom of the Seas. After a buffet lunch, we went our separate ways to find our personal hot spots. My son elected to check out the ice skating rink. Yes, this ship had one, and we made a mental note, not to miss the ice skating show coming up in the next few days.

I surveyed the pool deck and was pleased to find plenty of space for some water fun. In my previous cruises, the pools had been tiny and uninviting. Freedom of the Seas boasted of several whirlpools, family pools and even had a surf simulator.

I was pretty sure I would be indulging in delectable food on this trip, so I made an effort to find out where the fitness center and wall climbing facilities were located. Gotta have some kind of balance, right?

During dinner, we had the privilege of meeting our wonderful Filipino waitress for the first time. We took advantage of the fact that she was our “kabayan” (fellow countryman) and asked for her recommendations once we reached Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

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Freedom of the Seas offered plenty of excursions throughout our Caribbean cruise. But being the budget-driven mom that I am, I convinced my brother to ditch the more expensive excursions for a D.I.Y. tour.

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The next morning, we filled up at the breakfast buffet, packed our water bottles and hauled our snorkel sets and beach towels to the port terminal of Saint Thomas. We saw some air shuttles offering tours, but we opted to avail of a cab driver’s offer to take all five of us in her van for $60. She would take us downtown and to the world renowned Magen’s Bay.

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The plan was to hit downtown first, but we couldn’t wait to have our much anticipated dip into the Caribbean seas. After a scenic 20 minute drive from the port terminal, we reached our destination. Magen’s Bay Park and Beach charged a minimal fee of $5 per adult. For white sand and turquoise water, take my money!

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The beach had tables and chairs for rent, but we just plopped our belongings in the sand and ran towards the water. As of writing, Magen’s Bay is no longer in the list of top 10 beaches in the world, but is still a beauty to behold. What I love most about Magen’s Bay is the very calm water. We were immersed from 11:00 am to around 2:00 pm, and there were no big waves to contend with. It was our little utopia for four hours.

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The water was so calm that one guest fell asleep on her inflatable ring and floated past the designated swimming area. A stranger had to swim so far to wake her and pull her back into the shore.

When it was time to leave, I realized I had lost my phone. Not wanting to be late for embarkation, I hurriedly reported my missing phone to Magen’s security. The very nice folks who assisted me took my address and assured me my phone will be mailed to me if it ever turns up.

After our beach fun, we headed downtown to check out a few shops in Little Switzerland.

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We were welcomed back to the port by Iguanas and live Caribbean music. This was only our first stop and already, we were taken by the charm of Saint Thomas.

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