As a cruising ground, it sometimes seems that the U.S. components of the alluring Virgin Islands are the Rodney Dangerfield of destinations: They get no respect. (Those same locals who goof on LIAT refer to St. Thomas as St. Trauma.) And, yes, if you hang around the crazy cruise-ship docks in downtown Charlotte Amalie for more than 10 minutes, there's a good chance you'll be trampled by a sunburned, inebriated yahoo sprinting to buy another rum or T-shirt. But once you're under way, it doesn't take long at all to immerse yourself in tantalizing, crystal-clear waters featuring taut anchorages, protected parks, great hiking, sensational snorkeling, and countless stretches of sandy, world-class beaches.