Although the Virgin Islands are surrounded by sea, most travelers will get to them by air. The U.S. islands have better air access than their British neighbors. The number and frequency of flights changes with the season, with the greatest number of airline seats from January through March.
By air from North America
Major airlines providing nonstop service to St. Thomas’s Cyril E. King International Airport (STT) are American Airlines/US Airways with service from Miami, New York, Boston, Charlotte, Philadelphia, and San Juan; Delta Airlines with service from Atlanta and New York; United Airlines with service from Chicago, Dulles, and Newark; JetBlue with service from Boston, via San Juan; and Spirit Airlines with flights from Ft. Lauderdale.
There are fewer direct flights to St. Croix’s Henry E. Rohlsen Airport (STX). During the winter tourist season, American Airlines/US Airways flies there from Miami and San Juan, Delta from Atlanta, and JetBlue flies from San Juan.
Tortola’s Terrence B. Lettsome International Airport (EIS) is not big enough to accommodate direct flights from the U.S. mainland. Cape Air and Seaborne Airlines fly from San Juan, while LIAT, Inter-Caribbean Airways and Winair and VI Airlink fly from Caribbean hubs Antigua and St Maarten. Most North American travelers to the BVI fly via San Juan or fly to St. Thomas and take a ferry to Tortola. There are direct flights from Canada to St Maarten.
By air from Europe
Travelers from Europe can reach the Virgin Islands on flights routed through several Caribbean hubs. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic fly to Antigua’s V.C. Bird International Airport (ANU) from London. Air Caraibes and Air France fly to the Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) in St Maarten from Paris and KLM flies from Amsterdam. Once in St Maarten or Antigua you can fly to Tortola on LIAT, Inter-Caribbean Airways, Winair or VI Airlink. St Thomas-bound European passengers will connect on LIAT via Antigua.
The Caribbean region attracts 40 percent of all global cruise ship “bed nights,” and these floating resorts make frequent calls in the Virgin Islands. St. Thomas is the second-most visited cruise ship destination in the Caribbean: An estimated 1.6 cruise ship passengers wake up to the sight of Charlotte Amalie each year. By comparison the cruise industries in St. Croix (130,000) and Tortola (700,000) are quite small; however, the number of cruise arrivals to Tortola has increased following the expansion of its cruise pier and opening of the Tortola Pier Park in 2016.
Cruise lines Carnival, Disney, Celebrity, Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Princess, and Costa are among the most frequent visitors.