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How would you spend the day in St. Maarten/St. Martin

How would you spend the day in St. Maarten/St. Martin

Nov 24th, 2006, 07:03 AM
  #1  
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How would you spend the day in St. Maarten/St. Martin

I'm looking for some advice on how to spend the day in St. Martin/St. Maarten. Our cruise docks there for the day (in Philipsburg). We are a motley crew ranging in age from 11 months to 60 years, and since there are many of us, we may split up depending on what there is to do. Among us we have shoppers, beachgoers, wanderers, historians, etc., so are really open to any and all suggestions.

I seem to get the sense that although we are docking on the Dutch side, we should travel to the French side so I am curious to know if that's the prevailing recommendation. And finally, anything we should be mindful of beyond the usual safety precautions e.g., local traffic and travel times, currency, etc. Thanks everyone!
hannah25 is offline  
Nov 24th, 2006, 11:13 AM
  #2  
 
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Well, there are absolutely fabulous restaurants there so that will be no problem. Lots of shopping plus you could take the ferry from Marigot to Anquilla to check out the beaches (although there are very nice ones on Sint Maarten/St. Martin.)
Carrybean is offline  
Nov 24th, 2006, 11:30 AM
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In my opinion St. Marin is a very boring island except it has very reliable good weather in winter.
I visited there 25 years ago and again in 2003 for an 8 night stay at La Sammana and then again in 2005 for a day on a Windstar cruise. There are a number of very good restaurants on the French side and lunch at La Vie en Rose is quite lovely and not too expensive. In general the dinner prtices were very high at the better restaurants as is the case on Grand Cayman but not the case on Curacau, Bonaire and a few other islands in their general area.There are a neigbor of art galleries but not too many concentrated in a sigle are that we enjoyed. We actually bought a painting on one visited that cost more than the trip and enjoy it to this day.
Driving on the island is relatively easy but buy a detailed map even if it is $10-$12USD for it will remove some driving frustration, which is the case any where.
There is no good snorkeling around the island. They offerred us a day sail on a former America's Cup boat that was pleasant but too crowded even though it was suppossedly capacity controlled. On our last trip we stayed on the Wind Spirit for the day. Also, there are only a very few really duty-free purchases that are not the same or 10% less in US but you cannot easilty return it, if necessary.
StanKase is offline  
Nov 24th, 2006, 11:57 AM
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Whenever we've been on a cruise stop in St. Martin we've just taken a taxi/van to Orient Beach. People talk about it being a nude beach, but that is really only down at the very far end. There are some good restaurants there and it's easy to get a taxi back to the ship.
schmerl is offline  
Nov 24th, 2006, 01:31 PM
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There are many thigns you can do on SXM and it is far from a boring island.
For those who wnat to stay in town and shop, Front Street has it all. on the beach parallell to Front Street is the Bordwalk. it is lined with restaurnats and bars and water activities.
a lot of people just hang out there for the day.
If you are in town, the St. maarten Museum is located in the Speetjens arcade( near the eastern end of Front Street) and is worth a visit.
For those who like to gamble, there are casinos on front Street also.
you could also take a taxi to orient Beach as mentioned. it is a lovely beach and lined with beach bars and restaurants. you can have a nice lunch there while relaxing on the beach.
a tour around the island is another possbility. there are taxis at the dock that will give you a good tour.
If you get to the french side and the town of Marigot, visit the Marigot Market.. lots of vendors there selling practically everything.
One of the most popular things to do for cruise ship passengers is the America's Cup races. It gets rave reviews. I have done it and it is really a lot of fun and it is not overcrowded at all.
I am sure you will find plenty to do for the day.

Barbara1 is offline  
Nov 24th, 2006, 01:43 PM
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I've never heard St. Martin called boring before & have to ditto all that Barbara said.
Carrybean is offline  
Nov 24th, 2006, 01:47 PM
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yes, carrybean, it's been called a lot of things but never boring LOL
Barbara1 is offline  
Nov 25th, 2006, 02:20 AM
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Barbara1; I was not calling you boring. I was calling the island boring compared to stops such as; St. Lucia, Curacau, St. John, Cozemal, San Juan,etc.Sorry you took it wrong.
StanKase is offline  
Nov 25th, 2006, 04:54 AM
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StanKase
no,it's ok, I knew you were calling the island boring, not me.
I wans't insulted.
I just disagree.
I think SXM, for a small island, has a lot to do and frankly I was surprised you called it boring.
Barbara1 is offline  
Nov 25th, 2006, 05:11 AM
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I have to disagree too. I was never bored & I lived there for 7 years. It's a wonderful place. Different strokes for different folks?
Carrybean is offline  
Nov 26th, 2006, 08:21 AM
  #11  
 
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When we visited last year on a cruise, we hired a taxi and went to Dawn Beach on the Dutch side. It is really nice! We had the driver give us a little tour of the island first and had lunch in Marigot? right on the water and did some shopping. The drive kept our things for us and picked us up a couple of hours before boarding.

I have to agree that from what I saw, St. Martin,Maarten is anything but boring. We loved it and would go back for a vacation.

Denise
deniseb is offline  
Nov 27th, 2006, 09:39 AM
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We were there a week ago, also on a cruise, and really liked what we saw. We rented a car for the day from Dollar for a grand total of $23 US plus whatever gas we had to put in (we used $10 worth). It was a tiny little car, but that is ideal for driving there. It is not hard to drive, lots of traffic in Philipsburg and Marigot but quite easy to get around. Just be patient. Once in the countryside easy going. Roads are good overall and fairly well marked. We enjoyed the car, saw the whole island. It takes very little time to see it, even with stops for beach time, snacks, drinks, etc. We were still back to Phillipsburg in time for shopping before returning to ship for 530 departure.

There are car rental places right at the dock but they charge lots more than Dollar, which has an office close to the airport. Dollar will send a driver to pick you up and they return you to either the dock or will let you off downtown Philipsburg and that service is included in the $23 a day rate! A real bargain.

Curt is offline  
Nov 27th, 2006, 12:28 PM
  #13  
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Thanks everyone, for these suggestions. We're really looking forward to visiting and experiencing a lot of what the island has to offer. Since it's likely a group as large as ours will break up (there are 27 of us!) we'll get a chance to explore and report back on many different things the island has to offer.

If you have other suggestions, feel free to keep contributing as we don't leave until Saturday!
hannah25 is offline  
Nov 27th, 2006, 12:54 PM
  #14  
iw
 
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I have to agree with the other suggestions to hang out at Orient Beach or on the water at the shops in Marigot. There is a lot of traffic, so it may take a bit to get from place to place, so allow for that.
Orient Beach is fun and has lots of dining options.
iw is offline  
Nov 28th, 2006, 06:51 AM
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And, the "sights" at Orient Beach can be intersting as well
Curt is offline  
Nov 28th, 2006, 07:11 AM
  #16  
iw
 
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Well, there are the sights!
iw is offline  
Nov 28th, 2006, 10:15 AM
  #17  
 
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How long will you be docked on St. Maarten and what other islands will you be visiting on the cruise?

If I had enough time to do it, and if the rest of my itinerary already included islands with great shopping/food/beaches/whatever, I would be very inclined to fly over to Saba for the day. It's an island that is on my list to visit eventually--beautiful scenery, good hiking, fabulously friendly folks, no beaches, and I hear that landing on that runway is a real experience! Anyway, it's something to consider if you have plenty of time and are looking for something a little unusual. Perhaps the other folks who are more knowledgable about the flight schedules can chime in on whether it's doable.
ejcrowe is offline  
Nov 28th, 2006, 12:27 PM
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whata grand idea..going to Saba for the day.. very special but I do not think there is enough time to do that if you are just in for one day on a cruise ship. the traffic to the airport from the dock is horrendous.
it would really be too tight to do, I think.

I am not sure of the flight schedule but I think the planes leave early in the morning and then come back
around 5 PM which would make it too late to get back to the ship in time.
Barbara1 is offline  
Nov 28th, 2006, 12:51 PM
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Thanks for confirming that, Barbara. I figured it would be tight to make the daytrip before ship left port, but it was worth the mention.
ejcrowe is offline  
Nov 29th, 2006, 08:54 AM
  #20  
 
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Curt - was the car big enough for 4 adults? We'll be stopping there on our cruise in February and that sounds like a really great way to spend the day (not to mention extremely economical) - exploring ourselves.
sleeepy is offline  

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