St. Thomas – part of the U.S. Virgin Islands – is a popular cruise destination on many Eastern Caribbean itineraries. We recently returned from a 7-night cruise vacation with St. Thomas as 1 of 3 ports of call.
My husband and I have visited St. Thomas several times – before we had kids – and our visits were usually spent sightseeing and shopping around Charlotte Amalie – the capital the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Why Cruisers Will Love Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort
This time around we decided to go the relaxing route and spend a day at the beach at Marriott’s Morning Star Beach Resort. Good thing we didn’t book any excursions in advance because our daughter fell ill the day before we ported in St. Thomas. She wouldn’t have been able to handle a sightseeing tour.
This 4-star resort hotel is part of a larger resort – Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort. Frenchman’s Reef Resort is the hillside property that offers guests stunning views of Charlotte Amalie and the cruise port.
It’s also where cruise guests check in prior to taking a shuttle down to the beach front property – Morning Star.
Cruisers can purchase Beach Day Passes which gives you access to Morning Star’s private beach, swimming pool, sports equipment (table tennis, volleyball) and complimentary WiFi.
The resort boasts 4 pools (Beach Day Pass guests only have access to the one at Morning Star Beach Resort), several restaurants and Grab and Go food counters, water activities, a fitness center, a day spa, and water taxi directly from the resort to downtown Charlotte Amalie.
This is a great way for cruise guests to get the best of both world’s actually – spend some time relaxing at the beach and then a few hours exploring the St. Thomas.
After a short 10-minute taxi ride from the port, we were greeted by friendly staff who arranged for a shuttle to take us down to the resort’s private beach (no vendors trying to get you buy a souvenir) and get us settled in our room for the day. Not before we took in the view from the lobby though!
The Rooms at Marriott’s Morning Star Beach Resort
Our ground floor had two double beds, a balcony, desk, TV and a small bathroom. The patio was only steps away from the beach and lounge chairs. Decorated in brown, turquoise and coral, both resorts are what you would expect of a Caribbean hotel – modern, laid back and airy.
It was spacious enough for our family and it’s where our daughter spent her entire day catching up on sleep and trying to recover from her upset stomach. My husband and I alternated taking our son out to play on the beach and splash around the pool.
It was great to have an air-conditioned room to return to after spending time in the hot sun and somewhere to wash off all the beach sand before heading back to the ship.
Lunch at Coco Joe’s
Our ship was in St. Thomas from 10 AM to 7 PM so we decided to have lunch at Coco Joe’s since it was only a few steps away from our room. Coco Joe’s is an open-air restaurant that offers both American classics and Caribbean fare.
Lunch was delicious and extremely filling – coconut shrimp (sweet and crispy), fish tacos (good but nothing to write home about), seafood ceviche (slightly spicy but very flavourful), seafood kallaloo (a popular Caribbean dish featuring vegetables and sometimes seafood – we love this as my father’s side is from Trinidad & Tobago and this is a staple in our family), and a Turkey BLT (for the 4 year old). We took our leftovers back to the room for an afternoon snack.
Beach and Pool Time
The beach at the resort is very well maintained with plenty of chairs and umbrellas for hotel and cruise guests. The water was very calm the day we visited and the temperature wasn’t scorching hot – it was 27 or 28C.
Our son enjoyed jumping over the waves so much he was on the verge of tears when I asked him if he wanted to check out the pool.
He reluctantly went with me when I told him we might see some iguanas on the way to the pool.
The pool is located next to Coco Joe’s and I was quite surprised there were only a handful of guests swimming in it. I guess it’s not a popular option when it’s warm and sunny in St. Thomas – people prefer the beach!
Lounge chairs and tables surround the pool for guests who just want to soak up some sun, catch up on some ZZZZs or read a book.
The water was slightly colder than the ocean so our son decided 10 minutes in the pool was enough for him.
As I promised earlier, there were several iguanas hanging out by the pool. This guy (he looked like he was 2 feet long) kept watching our every move while we were splashing in the pool. I’ll be honest, I was a bit scared when I spotted him. Luckily those sandals behind him weren’t mine so we didn’t have to cross his path to get back to the beach!
Do these iguanas know how to swim? The other pool guests including my 4 year old didn’t seem to mind.
We really enjoyed our day at Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort and would highly recommend it to cruisers who are looking for a relaxing day in St. Thomas.
Beach Day Passes can be purchased from sites like Resort For a Day or directly from the hotel (you’ll have to call in advance). I’ve been told there will be a Resort Room Day Pass that will be available online soon for cruisers who are looking for a room on top of beach access. I’ll update this as soon as I have details.
We can’t wait to visit the resort again and hopefully next time, we’ll be able to enjoy a relaxing day at the beach with some sightseeing in Charlotte Amalie.
You can read reviews and check prices for Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort here.