One popular attraction on St. Thomas is very cool. In fact, at 22 degrees Fahrenheit, it is downright cold.
Magic Ice on Dronningens Gade, the street with a Danish name that parallels the waterfront in downtown Charlotte Amalie, bills itself as the largest permanent ice gallery in the world.
Ice sculptures and carvings in the gallery are focused on the Caribbean's Golden Age of Piracy, complete with an ice bar that is shaped to resemble a sunken pirate ship.
On a hot, humid day on a recent trip to St. Thomas, I donned a knee-length parka, black leg warmers and gloves and stuck my sandaled feet into rubber boat shoes.
I was there on a day when there were no cruise ships in port. The day before, when five ships were in port, Magic Ice had a line that stretched out the door.
"People love it, especially the cruise passengers who come in after hours of shopping and strolling in the sun," said Cassandra, a ticket agent and wardrobe handler. "We have to limit the number of people inside the gallery to a maximum of 20 at a time. We don't want all that body heat to melt the ice sculptures."
The Magic Ice company was established in Norway in 2004. Magic Ice St. Thomas opened in January 2012.
Ice artists come twice a year from Scandinavia to redo the exhibits. Each sculpture is carved from a single large block of ice, made in the back of the gallery.
An ice oasis seems a bit incongruous on a tropical island where temperatures average in the high 80s, but the formula appears to be working .
"It's an unexpected attraction," said Cassandra. "Customers like the break from the heat, and for many it's the first time they've seen anything like this."
I entered the gallery through a door that resembled the entrance to a meat locker. Inside, the blast of cold air fogged my glasses. Revolving colored lights illuminated crystal-clear, intricately carved sculptures, a kids slide made of ice, a wedding chapel and the bar.
Twenty minutes later, when the cold had penetrated my parka and gloves, I downed a shot of Rum Chata, a creamy Cruzan drink that is included in the admission price, and asked the bartender how long she could tolerate the cold.
"I take a break when there are no customers, but on a busy day I'm in here for a long time," she said.
The admission charge is $22 for adults ($12 for kids age 12 and younger). In addition to the rum shot (orange juice for the kids), guests receive a souvenir shot glass.
"The rum will warm you right up, especially if you drink it right after going down the ice slide," said Cassandra.
Magic Ice is open daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit www.magicice.vi.