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Old 07-30-2012, 11:18 PM   #151
kpadalik
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Does anyone have any experiences travelling St Maarten (via taxi or otherwise) to visit both the Dutch and French sides? First on our list of things to do is a visit to Princess Juliana Airport (fingers crossed we see some big planes land and take off!) then we'd love to see more of the island, maybe grab a nice French croissant somewhere We're not really big beach people (a day at Castaway Cay will be our beach fix) so are more looking at shopping and exploring the scenery of the island. TIA!
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Us too...I was just going to ask this. We kind of just want to "check things out", wondered if we could walk around and still see things? Not so interested in beaches, as we will be satisfied with beach at CC. We've already taken one beach vacation this summer, so we would rather see the islands. None of the excursions seem to interest us. Is this possible?
When we went to St. Maarten a couple of years ago, we explored the French side/Marigot on our own. We got off the ship and took a water taxi over to downtown Phillipsburg (just a few minutes ride). We then walked along Front Street and then went back a couple of blocks to Back Street. It's not as touristy back there, but we found a city bus. Now keep in mind that their city bus is not the same as yours or mine...it is a small bus, no a/c, and no seatbelts (my girls couldn't believe that they didn't have to buckle up!). The busses are marked with their destination in the window. We grabbed one that said "Marigot". I think it was $2/person each way. It drove all through the island and let us off in Marigot. We met a store owner on the bus who was from the US and he told us some different places to go, etc. We walked around Marigot for a few hours, ate lunch, shopped the spice market, and hopped a bus back to Phillipsburg. If I remember correctly, the bus ride back was longer because we took a different route. We had the best time...one of our most memorable times in St. Maarten. Kind of lived like locals for the day
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Old 07-31-2012, 08:07 AM   #152
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Anybody do the Random Wind on St. Maarten? It's not a Disney Excursion.
We had booked the Random Wind for our Nov 2012 cruise. When I tried to confirm about 2 months out, the woman said she messed up and booked a private charter for that day. She was apologetic, refunded our deposits, offered a future discount, etc but it was a huge disappointment for us and by then, all the DCL snorkeling excursions were full. We ended up booking Captain Alan's privately, which was good, but not what we were looking forward to on the Random Wind.

So did Random Wind mess up? or did she get an offer too good to turn down and bumped us out? Either way, I won't be trying again if we go to St. Maarten again.

I did see a post recently that someone did go on the Random Wind, but I can't remember what thread it was on.
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Old 07-31-2012, 06:34 PM   #153
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Us too...I was just going to ask this. We kind of just want to "check things out", wondered if we could walk around and still see things? Not so interested in beaches, as we will be satisfied with beach at CC. We've already taken one beach vacation this summer, so we would rather see the islands. None of the excursions seem to interest us. Is this possible?
We vote for that as well. Anyone have any ideas?
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Old 07-31-2012, 07:50 PM   #154
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Originally Posted by kpadalik View Post
When we went to St. Maarten a couple of years ago, we explored the French side/Marigot on our own. We got off the ship and took a water taxi over to downtown Phillipsburg (just a few minutes ride). We then walked along Front Street and then went back a couple of blocks to Back Street. It's not as touristy back there, but we found a city bus. Now keep in mind that their city bus is not the same as yours or mine...it is a small bus, no a/c, and no seatbelts (my girls couldn't believe that they didn't have to buckle up!). The busses are marked with their destination in the window. We grabbed one that said "Marigot". I think it was $2/person each way. It drove all through the island and let us off in Marigot. We met a store owner on the bus who was from the US and he told us some different places to go, etc. We walked around Marigot for a few hours, ate lunch, shopped the spice market, and hopped a bus back to Phillipsburg. If I remember correctly, the bus ride back was longer because we took a different route. We had the best time...one of our most memorable times in St. Maarten. Kind of lived like locals for the day
Thanks for sharing- sounds like a great day!
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Old 08-03-2012, 08:51 PM   #155
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Has anyone just rented a car and driven around?
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Old 08-11-2012, 01:08 PM   #156
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Has anyone tried the Discover Scuba excursion?
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:08 AM   #157
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Question

My family (DH, me, DD (10, 8, & 4 at time of cruise) will be going on our first cruise next May. As this is our first cruise, I am trying to research excursions as best as I can.
Becuase one DD is only going to be 4, it has been a challenge to try to find an excursion where everyone will have fun & be safe. We are a very active family which includes travel of all types & many hours on various types of boats & water sports. While we wouldn't mind seeing the shops, shopping is not high on the list of things we enjoy doing.
My main concern in St. Martain. After looking into various excursions, I came to the conclusion that it may be best to rent a jeep & explore the island on our own. However, as I have began to research this, I am finding MANY warnings from people who have had issues with returning rental cars & being charged for damages that were there when they accepted the car. People have even taken pictures/video of the cars prior to accepting them, showing the damage, and are still being accused of & being charged for causing the damage.

So for those of you who have rented a car on St. Martain, did you experience any of this type of behavior? I really don't want to have to deal with a scam while trying to get back to the ship especially on our first cruise! Should we just take taxis to where we would like to go?
TIA!
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Old 08-14-2012, 11:49 AM   #158
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St John tour

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We also did the St. John Island Tour. This was a narrated, open air bus tour. He took us to some amazing places to take pictures. I would highly recommend this for those who don’t want to spend the day at the beach. We were able to spend about 45 minutes in the shops near the return boat dock and had some desserts at a small café in St. John.

We enjoyed a scenic boat ride along St. Thomas coastline towards St. John. On the way over, we sat on the top deck of the boat. Since it was morning and spring time, the sun really wasn’t too hot and we really enjoyed it. On the way back I would suggest trying to get on the lower deck on the side benches. This will let you enjoy the outdoors and see everything on one side of the boat, but have the shade from the boat.

This tour allowed us to see the entire island. Next time we are going back to Trunk Bay because it looked absolutely beautiful on our tour.
Was the boat tour a different company from the bus tour? Where did you get on the boat...at the end of the bus tour?
We are going at the end of September and would love to do the boat and bus tour. Thanks!
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Old 08-16-2012, 05:00 AM   #159
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San Juan

We were thinking of the rain forest walking tour in San Juan. Comments any one?

On St Thomas we are trying a day pass at the Emerald beach resort.
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Old 08-16-2012, 08:33 AM   #160
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St Thomas Captain Nautica and St Maarten Downhill Rainforest Trek

Great thread as we are starting to think about what excursions we want to do on our upcoming Eastern cruise! Below is a review of the excursions we did on our last Eastern...

St Thomas - Captain Nautica's Snorkeling Expedition
This was the highlight of or last Eastern cruise! The 'expedition' starts with a ride in a RIB boat to Buck Island. This was my son's (8) favorite part. We skipped over (my wife would say "crashed through") the waves as we sped to the island. We even hit a light rain that felt a bit more like small hail at our speed as we approached the island. My son quickly proclaimed the ride "more fun than the Yeti (Expedition Everest)!" Then, after a short safety and basic snorkeling instruction we dove into Turtle Cove where we saw rays, several turtles and even a curious barracuda. One of the turtles surfaced right next to my daughter (11)! After about 50 minutes we got back on the boat went the the other side of the island to Shipwreck cove where we swam out and explored an old ship wreck. There was some coral (not the most colorful), but multitudes of small fish. After some shrimp and drinks on the boat, we sped back to the ship. 14 thumbs up (two for each member of our party)! We would do this one again, but are thinking about the Honeymoon Bay excursion as well.

St Maarten - DOWNHILL Rainforest Trek
As was previously reviewed in this thread, this one was a dud. There are a couple of spectacular views that you get little time to enjoy. The bulk of the time it is a steep forced march through nondescript forest. Our guide was like a drill Sergeant (making DS cry at one point) until we were on the ride back the ship when he suddenly became friendly. Yeah... NO TIP FOR YOU! I don't see this tour on the port adventures page anyone, so maybe Disney got the message.
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Old 08-19-2012, 04:16 PM   #161
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Possibly booking with Soualiga Destinations, Captain Bob, for St. Marteen. Anyone ever do the boat/snorkel tour with him? It seems this would be the best way for our water loving family with kids ages 10, 8, & 4 to enjoy the island. Any information would be great.
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Old 08-20-2012, 08:49 PM   #162
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Recent Excursion Reviews

We're just off the Fantasy and did the following excursions (me, DH and 12DS):

St. Maarten Afternoon Beach Bash Tour - very enjoyable, we loved that it didn't depart until 1pm so we had half a day onboard a very empty ship which was great. There were 200 (!) of us on the excursion so it did take a while to get everyone to the beach (I think we filled 6 or 7 buses), however they did extend the time at the beach to compensate. It was more than enough time to enjoy the waves (lots) and didn't feel too crowded. Yes, we did some some topless women, but it didn't really shock us. I don't think little kids would even notice.

The company has a reserved seating area they direct you to - padded lounge chairs are included as are rum punch (virgin punch for the kiddos) - and an umbrella was $3. We had ample time there - didn't leave wanting more. While you don't visit the "town" as it were, you do get a nice feel for St. Maarten on the drive to the beach (20 minutes or so).

St. Thomas Kon Tiki Sightseeing Tour - we enjoyed this as well. Nice people led the excursion. A large boat is docked right next to the Fantasy so it's only a 200 yd. walk - super easy. Nice ride in the harbor with narration leads to a reef where they drop glass bottom cases so that you can view the reef and its inhabitants.

After, the boat takes you to a Honeymoon Beach (no waves, lots of rock, very calm and clear water) for an hour or so. No seating available on the beach, just benches, but we spent 99% of our time in the water (DS brought his snorkeling gear) so it was no matter to us. Towards the end, another tour boat arrived at the beach filled with 20-somethings pounding beers at yelling at the top of their lungs. So glad we were getting ready to leave - it certainly wasn't a family atmosphere! On the ride back the crew engaged everyone with music (there is a live steel drum band onboard), dancing, games, fruit punch, etc. All in all it was nice way to spend the morning. We're not shoppers and didn't want to be gone all day so this was the perfect fit for us, gave us time in the afternoon to once again enjoy a very empty ship and ride the Aquaduck with no wait!
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Old 11-11-2012, 01:13 PM   #163
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BF and I (no kids) will be on the Eastern in March. It will be the first Eastern for both of us - he has done a Western, and I have been to Trinidad and Tobago, so neither of us have been to San Juan OR the USVI before. San Juan I am happy to wander around and do my own walking out. St Thomas/St John we want to do the Turtle Cove Sail & Snorkel - the half day, not the full day. But I have some questions.

Does anyone know what time the Turtle Cove Sail & Snorkel starts? Will we have time to look around St Thomas afterwards? Is it easy to arrange a tour by cab of the island afterwards? Will they take you to Drake Point?

Thanks for help!
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Old 02-16-2013, 12:03 PM   #164
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I read the entire thread and did not see any info on the Island Drive and Explore Cruise on St. Martin. (Although I could have missed something) Anybody done this before is it worth the money? Is the Under 2 Flags tour better?
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Old 02-16-2013, 04:22 PM   #165
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Went on that excursion while sailing on the Magic last year (02/2012). We (My Wife, Son-5 at time, and I) really enjoyed it, but the boat ride was windy (Boat has two decks. If windy recommend lower one). We also prefered the Dutch side of the tour. The Bus part of the trip was narrated by a tour guide and the boat ride had a DJ who also was informative. I would recommend it, but have not done the two flags tour so cannot compare.
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