Well because the line was only a few people long, the DHS guys could really savor the experience of asking us weird questions and digging in our luggage. Of course the whole search thing was silly, because we didn't leave the ship directly afterwards, and could have easily gone back to our room and filled our bags with the contraband tiger paws and blood diamonds we'd purchased in Nassau. The DHS guy was pretty perplexed as to why we were leaving the cruise midway, and even asked our Carnival employee escort if we were a "security risk". Insult to injury: I asked if he would stamp my passport with his cool US Virgin Island stamp, and he said no.
Amusingly the most dangerous part of visiting the Virgin Islands that I could find is that if you are in the US Virgin Islands, you can use your cellphone just like you are in the continental US. If, however, you stray too far east, then your phone may pick up a signal from a cell tower located in the British Virgin Islands and you'd have to pay international roaming rates. Scary stuff.
We got off the ship in the same tidal wave of people just as with the Bahamas stop. Only this time, we had all of our luggage with us. We got several sideways looks from the other cruisegoers, wondering why we were abandoning their floating paradise. One little girl even asked her mom why we were leaving. It was a little embarrassing. When we got off the ship they even deactivated our cruise ID cards. Good riddance to us.
The shuttle van that Carnival had arranged to take us to the airport had a license plate that read "US Virgin Islands-America's Caribbean". I thought that was pretty cool.
This weird picture is conclusive proof that we are living in The Matrix.
We made it back to St. Louis in time for a New Years toast with our friends.