St Maarten Sights, Shopping and Sand
Shopping, Sightseeing & Beach Day Trip in St. Martin
Two countries on one island for almost 400 years. Wouldn't you love to know how they do it? Come along on this St. Maarten excursion for an Island Drive and Beach Tour with a twist, and you'll visit parts of the island usually not seen by cruise guests.
Departing the cruise terminal, you will drive through part of Philipsburg driving towards Cole Bay and Belle Vue, making a photo stop at the Harold Jack lookout point high on a hill overlooking the sea where (clouds permitting), you will have fantastic views of the neighboring islands of Saba (the home of Kong in the original King Kong movie) and St. Eustatius to the south, and British Anguilla to the north. You will also begin to see Simpson Bay and its lagoon as you crest the hill.
Continue on into Marigot, the French capital, which is a quaint French village with a Caribbean twist. Sidewalk cafes serving cappuccino overlook mega-yachts, framed by palm trees. Gourmet restaurants sit in the shadow of a 200-year-old fort, and bold tropical prints in the open-air markets mix with the latest fashions from French boutiques. You will have some free time to experience this wonderful blend.
Then it's on to Orient Bay. This sweeping two-mile long, white-powdered sand beach is protected from the Atlantic waves by a reef, and the bottom has a very gradual slope. It is the island's most developed, most popular and busiest beach. You will have approximately an hour and a half to swim, beach walk, or relax on the white sand.
The beach is also lined with numerous restaurants for those who would like to purchase lunch or indulge in a tropical drink in paradise.
Returning to Philipsburg through the center of the island, you will have the option of being dropped off downtown for shopping or taken back to the pier.
Guests departing downtown will need to arrange their own transportation back to the cruise pier at their own expense via taxi, water taxi or walking.
Please Note: Due to hurricane damage to the French side of the island, this tour will stop at Friars Bay instead of Orient Beach until further notice. The tour will also make photo stops with scenic views of Orient Bay. The clothing-optional beach at Club Orient, the naturist resort, is located at the southern end of the beach, approximately 10 to 15 minutes from Bikini/Kakao Beach, where you will be visiting. Although most guests in the Bikini/Kakao Beach area will be wearing swim attire, be advised that you may encounter topless and possibly nude sunbathers anywhere. This excursion may operate in a different order due to traffic conditions or crowds at the venues. On Sundays, most shops and restaurants on the French side are closed. All stores are closed on the following national holidays: Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, Kings Day, Carnival Day, Labor Day, Ascension Day, Whit Sunday, Emancipation Day, Constitution Day, St. Maarten's Day, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day. Guests booking on these days will have the option to window shop or spend more time at the beach.
Nel was our "tour guide, driver and protector". We saw quite a bit of the island and he gave a good history. There was a significant amount of residual hurricane damage, especially on the French Side, which limited our beach experience, but overall it was good.
Tour guide was excellent we enjoyed ourselves.
Reviewer: Mary Howe
Our driver for the tour was very knowledgeable and pleasant. I was rather disappointed with the conditions of the island in particular on the French side. The visit to the market was ok but the only washroom was a public washroom which was very, very dirty (no toilet seat) and they wanted to charge me for a piece of paper towel to dry my hands. The weather that day was not the best and when it came to spend some time on the beach on the French side, it rained and was quite windy and the people there wanted to charge us $5.00 for use of lounge chair. We, the passengers, unanimously voted to return to the ship and found the weather was more pleasant on the Dutch side of island. As I said the driver was excellent and it certainly was not his fault for the weather conditions.
Reviewer: kathleen hance
Ship (royal Carib.) did not announce time change from ship to island where the excursion was to take place.. We were therefore 40 minutes late. The to excursion company was nice enough to drive us to the location where the tour was @ that time. The excursion was enjoyable. The driver knowledgeable & interesting. Several weeks earlier we were on a Norwegian cruise with a time change involved @ an island stop. They announced overhead the time change so all were notified
Reviewer: Cindy Stamper
Took the tour with Rick, he was great! Very personsonable and knowledgeable. He made the tour fun and exciting!!