St. Croix has a lot to offer but they do not do a good job of self promotion. Several other people from the ship commented that it didn't seem like there was much there, when, in fact, there is a LOT on the island! We have spent some time in St. Croix, so we took a taxi to Christiansted (on the other side of the island). We arrived in time for church (it was Sunday and many of the shops in Christiansted stayed closed even though a ship was in port) at Holy Cross in the downtown area. It is a beautiful old church with interesting stained glass windows. Downtown Christiansted has a lot of historic sites, but on a Sunday, there were no park rangers or other tour guides to show them off. Our driver did not do much to point out interesting points of interest; in fact, we were pointing things out to the other passengers. For example, he passed Whim plantation and St. George Botanical gardens without even a mention. He did not offer to show us Columbus landing which we could have accessed on the way to town with only a slight detour. I LOVE St. Croix, so I hope others will take the opportunity to check out some what the island has to offer.
Because we had never been to Protestant Cay during our stay, we decided to take the ferry over (it costs 6 dollars per person round trip). DON"T BOTHER -- it was a waste! The beach is small and not very nice. There is a restaurant on the cay, but the service was very slow (even by island standards which we are familiar with) and the food was NOT good! I would opt for another beach (the one in Fredericksted just off the cruise ship pier is bigger but also not really pretty). For souvenir shopping, the straw market on the square in Fredericksted is probably the best bet when a ship is in port. If you travel to Christiansted, you can visit the Purple Papaya which has a LOT of souvenirs, t shirts, etc.
We took a taxi first to visit the French harbor in St. Martin. This is a bit costly ($18 pp one way) but we found out from fellow passengers that we could have negotiated for a round trip price that would have been a bit cheaper. They have an open air Market on St. Martin when cruise ships are in town. The prices are a bit high and they don't do a lot of negotiating. We were told by our return taxi driver that a lot of this has to do with the fact that St. Martin switched over the euro and it has caused many stores to close and prices to remain high in order to compensate for the exchange rate of the euro vs. the U.S. dollar. The French side is very pretty and worth a look. We then returned to Philipsburg and did some shopping. The beach is right behind the downtown area which can both be accessed via water taxi (cheaper than a cab. BUY a ticket for five dollars and go back and forth all day on the taxi). The taxi stand is located to the Left of the pier as you exit the ship. It is BEFORE you enter the mall area of the port.
We went to the African Market Store in Philipsburg and then spent a couple of hours on the each. Two chairs and an umbrella was $15.00