Cruise ship Viking Sea was the first post Irma commercial cruise call to St Maarten on the December 4th! The Marella Discovery was the second on the 5th and two ships will be in on Christmas day! This is mazing because in Sept 2017 it was hit by the west weather in its history. However, but the roads and beaches have been cleared and health authorities have said the sea is fit to swim in. Full statement is on the tourist web site with lots of other useful information. The local hotels have been hit hard and will re-open in 2018, so cruise ship passengers visit without seeing much of the affected areas. More than ever, the island is welcoming.
Sint Maarten + Saint Martin make a vibrant island with many diverse flavours; the French creole feel is a bit New Orleans and a lot Caribbean on both sides. It has a Savannah climate; very warm to hot, humid weather throughout the year. Marigot is on the west coast of the island easily got to by public bus from the Dutch side. The bus says Marigot on the front, the name of the French capital – and you will find it a few blocks back from the Philipsburg sea front. They are small mini buses, see our film. We did both sides in a day. The bus from Philipsburg got us there surprisingly quickly. There is one main road, so whatever method you choose, that is the road they have to take. The French side extends from the coast to the west, along the Bay of Marigot and the hills of the interior of the island to the east. On the south-west it is bounded by the Simpson Bay. Vibrant music, gaffitti and colours make for a party feel however it has a French Riviera feel. Shoes! You might reconsider flip flops if you intend climbing the rocky hill to the fort for a great view.
There is a market on the sea front in Marigot, boats and shops. You could be in a small French Riviera resort. Here you can take a ferry to other close islands, Anguilla and St Barts and there was definitely a feel that we could have done that had we left the ship and hit the bus first up. The ferry to Anguilla leaves every 35 to 45 minutes and takes just 20 minutes to cross. It was under $15. However we headed for the hill over looking the bay. The ruins of a fort built to protect them against much piracy destroyed by time and nature. Again, we did this without a guide, it was easy to find and the exorcise was not too taxing though Jean should perhaps not have worn flip flops. She must have been thinking of the beach. Having had both a snack, a drink, looked at the stalls and local art we caught the bus back with time to spare we took another bus into a town which was just for residence and revealed nothing extra. There may be undiscovered things we have yet to find in St Maarten, but that is for a second trip. However, it is over-running with charm. The second walk in the Dutch side and back to the ship was very easy and casual. Coterie farm which is a tree top farm is a tour that is often offered. If you have pictures please share them in a post on our Caribbean chat site. Many posts get featured on Doris Visits.
If you fancy the beach, Orient Beach is a long soft powdery sand beach in St Martin about 8 miles north of Philipsburg. Although on the windward east coast, facing the Atlantic, it has a reef which normally ensures it is perfect for swimming. Here there are beach bars, shops and cafes. In typical French style, it has a nudist section at the southern end. The ambitious might head 15 minutes from Marigot to Grand Case Beach and maybe have a glass of wine and lunch at the Oyster Cafe.
Why not have a look at the LATE DEALS over a coffee from your arm chair? Doris Visits allows you to SEE THE CRUISE BEFORE YOU CRUISE THE SEA. We have videos of many of the cruise stops you might make.
P&O Cruises cruises to St Maarten – view P&O St Marteen cruises hereMarella Cruises to the Caribbean – View Marella Caribbean page nowFred Olsen cruises to Sint Maarten – view now on the Fred Olsen site here Saga Cruises to the Caribbean – view there site here by clicking now
BOOKS SET IN ST MAARTEN: American Portrait. Violet cruised to find love, but found and as a mature woman was shocked to find interesting employment, but then romance, then the employment goes wrong and ends in St Maarten. You will recognise the ship as well as the location. Kindle and book on Amazon