Celebrations and renovations welcome clients

CHARLOTTE AMALIE, St. Thomas -- Visitors to the U.S. Virgin Islands this winter will find renovated properties, new restaurants, expanded services and frequent festivals. A rundown follows:

The Crucian Christmas Festival on St. Croix runs through Jan. 7 with islandwide celebrations, such as quadrille dancing, pictured above. • St. Croix's Crucian Christmas celebrations run through Jan. 7 and take place from Frederiksted on the west to Point Udall on the east coast.

• Renovations are complete on the 152 guest rooms, suites, public areas and restaurants at the Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas. Still to come as part of the resort's $75 million expansion are 48 rooms and suites, a club lounge, a 5,300-square-foot fitness center and the 80-unit Ritz-Carlton Club private residences. Completion of the 48 suites and rooms in two new buildings on Bluebeard's Beach is targeted for June. Room rates this winter range from $350 to $1,500 per night, single or double, from Jan. 1 to 17, and from $545 to $2,000 from Jan. 18 through March 31. For reservations, call (800) 241-3333.

• Harbour Night in St. Croix takes place every other Wednesday at Frederiksted's Ann E. Abramson Pier. The event draws more than 4,000 cruise passengers, locals and visitors to the street festival, which features calypso bands, stilt-walking mocko jumbies and food stands. For information, call (340) 772-4000.

• Boston Harbor Cruises launched new ferry service this month between St. Thomas and St. Croix aboard its 600-passenger Salacia ferry. The service will operate through April three times a day on weekdays and twice-daily on weekends. The departure point on St. Croix is Gallows Bay in Christiansted; on St. Thomas it is the Marine Terminal in Charlotte Amalie. Roundtrip fares are $75 for adults and $65 for children from ages 3 to 12. The trip takes one hour and 15 minutes. By comparison, Seaborne Airlines' seaplane service costs $100 roundtrip for the 20-minute flight between the two islands. For details, call Boston Harbor Cruises at (877) 733-9425 or visit the Web site at www.virginislandsfastferry.com.

• US Airways will resume daily nonstop service to St. Thomas from Charlotte, N.C., on Jan. 5. The carrier will continue to offer year-round, nonstop service between Philadelphia and St. Thomas. American Airlines begins daily flights from Boston to St. Thomas Dec. 15 aboard 176-seat 757 aircraft. For U.S.V.I. information, call (800) 372-USVI or visit the Web site at www.usvitourism.vi.

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