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Old 03-01-2013, 10:48 PM   #1
Earning My Ears
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St. Martin with small children?

Hi all! We are going on our first 7 night cruise in September and I have been checking out possible port adventures for us. We are doing the Eastern Caribbean and I am pretty sure we are going to do the Magen Bay in St. Thomas but not so sure any of the port adventures suit us in St. Martin. Our boys will be 18 months and 3.5 years old so long boat tours, bike tours, etc. won't work. I suppose we could do the Family beach adventure but I actually want to know more about exploring on our own or going to nearby beaches on our own. Is that possible? Is it scary on your own like it is at Nassau? DH says he wants to be in the water but I also want to explore. Any ideas or info about this place?

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Old 03-02-2013, 07:40 AM   #2
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We have booked Beranard tours for December. I have heard great things about them.
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Old 03-02-2013, 08:50 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by stsomewhere View Post
We have booked Beranard tours for December. I have heard great things about them.
We did Bernard's last summer and we had quite a few little kids on our excursion. It makes seeing the island very easy, especially with little ones.
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Old 03-02-2013, 08:57 AM   #4
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St. marten is our favorite port from all ports on the Eastern & Western! It's an easy port to do on your own. There's shopping & a beach right by the port. We took a tour to see the island & the other side then went exploring on our own. We wish we would of skipped the tour.

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Old 03-02-2013, 09:36 AM   #5
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There is a beach by the port, I believe it is Great Bay. There have been issues with sewage runoff.
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Old 03-02-2013, 10:35 AM   #6
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St Martin isn't at all scary. Very easily done on your own. Good shopping and beaches. If you wanted to rent a car for exploring it is a very drivable island. And beautiful. One of our favorite places. However, for your young ones you might research the calmer beach locations. The waters can be rough in one place and calm in others.
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Old 03-02-2013, 12:04 PM   #7
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We've been to St. Maarten and St. Thomas a couple of times with little kids. We've enjoyed just catching a taxi from the cruise ship and heading to the beach. We didn't sign up for any excursion...just researched the taxi prices ahead of time to be sure we didn't get ripped off.
Most people head to Orient Beach and it was fine. I think we did that both times we've been there. I think we'll check out Le Galion beach this time, but I still need to look into it more.
I don't know about exploring the island, as we've been content to just have a beach day.
In St. Thomas, weve been to Magen's Bay and to Sapphire Beach. We liked Sapphire better, but it may depend on how many ships are in port on the day you are there. We did a taxi directly to that beach too and told them what time to pick us up.
Have fun!
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Old 03-02-2013, 12:07 PM   #8
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We looked in to Bernards but it was $$ for our family of 5 to do private tour. We had a 2 and 5 year old and were concerned about the alcohol on the group tour as on cruise critic there were stories about drunk members in the group.

We rented a Jeep from Coastal Car Rental. Easy to find right off port and we got some car seats from them as well. It was the highlight of our whole cruise! St Maarten is awesome and very easy to navigate. We drove around the island and hit some beaches for a few hours then did some shopping. The kids loved driving with the top down taking in all the sights. Very fun!
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Old 03-26-2013, 04:07 PM   #9
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We are in the same boat with a 4 yr old and a 1 yr old. For St. Martin, I am on the fence between taking a taxi to Orient Bay and renting lounge chairs and just staying on the ship and enjoying the peace of having an empty ship after a couple days at sea. Going to the beach will be costly and we can probably only get a couple hours in before the kids need to head back. We also won't have car-seats so we will have to buckle the kids into the grown-up seats. For our family, I would not consider going on a long island van tour. They can be fun for adults, but not for our kids. We'll see if we feel stir-crazy after the sea days.

For St. Thomas, I think we'll push a little harder to get off the boat. We'll do the Skyride to Paradise Point which I think my 4 yr old son will love. I've never been but have heard from past cruises that this is a favorite for the crew to do wen they get a day off. It is walking distance from the dock and kids ride free. From there, we might consider taking the taxi to Magen's Bay for some beach time.

For Castaway Cay, we'll go all out on the beach and ocean fun. The private island is always my favorite stop on a cruise. I guess it will be nice to end with a bang.

Where we live in NC we can get to the beach at other times of the year so it's not as important to us to do on the cruise as it may be to others.
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Old 03-26-2013, 04:43 PM   #10
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We did Bernard's tour with a 4 year old and he loved it. It was a group tour and there was alcohol on board (DS and I enjoyed the rum punch), but it was mainly families and no one was drunk. There were also soft drinks and DS loved being allowed to drink on the bus! the beach stops were great, there were quite big waves and DS loved racing them up the beach (he wasn't a big fan of going right in in those days) and watching the planes at Maho beach was quite an experience. A very enjoyable day for us.
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Old 03-26-2013, 05:08 PM   #11
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We are going on the Eastern in November of this year and we are doing Bernards as well... and we are undecided in St.Thomas still.
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Old 03-26-2013, 06:09 PM   #12
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Little Bay, just get a taxi. Quiet, calm, shallow beach. All of the beaches are public access.

There's the Divi Little Bay Resort there, if I recall correctly it sells day passes to use their pools, restrooms, and changing facilities, but if you're going to eat at the restaurants I imagine there'd be no problem with using the restrooms. You'd have to call the hotel to see if they sell day passes and about pricing, though, you can't usually buy day passes online.

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Old 03-26-2013, 06:16 PM   #13
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Here's a prior thread on Divi Little Bay in St. Maarten:

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