Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by LoveMyTwoPrincesses, Feb 22, 2014.
Sounds like a great day from start to finish!!
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Thank you so much for sharing. I hope to one day be able to enjoy this itinerary with my family.
We had such a great day! The only problem that we had is that there was so much to do and only so much time to do it!
You are very welcome! I hope you are able to experience it as well. It is so worth it!
On Tuesday morning we were up bright and early to get ready for our first stop, St. Maarten! Our plan for today was to take a tour with Bernard's Tours. This tour was not through Disney, but was highly recommended on Trip Advisor. We selected the tour that included beach time, sightseeing, and shopping. We decided that it would be easiest to just wear our swimsuits and cover-ups for the day. We made our way off of the ship as soon as we possibly could. I knew that there would be towels available when we got off of the ship, but they didn't have them out yet and I ended up forgetting. Don't forget!
The email we received from Bernard said we should meet at the yellow information building . You seriously can't miss it. Find the St. Maarten sign and you are there.
I found the gentleman that was checking in people for Bernard's very easily. When I gave him our name he told me that my balance was $160. Now when you make your reservation you put down a $5 deposit per person and at the time I booked the tour was $40 per person. You pay the balance upon arrival, so I felt that the balance was only $140. I questioned the total, but he insisted that I owed $160. I paid, but it just didn't sit right with me. I happened to have the email with me that Bernard had sent me, so I went back to him and showed that I overpaid by $20. He looked it over and agreed with me and proceeded to refund me the over payment. I was glad that I had taken the time to print out the reservation.
We sat for a short time before we were gathered together. DD7 had made a fan at the club that she brought along to keep us cool while we waited.
Our driver Junior arrived and brought to our vehicle for the day. It was a short walk to the shuttle and we were quickly on our way. After a short drive we arrived at our first stop, an iguana farm. They stated that it was under construction and not open to the public at this time. We walked in and there was another group from Bernards there as well with their driver Sugar.
Sugar and Junior had some lettuce that they took out for the iguanas and they started to make their way out. We were warned to stay away from their tails because they use them to defend themselves.
Some of the iguanas were fairly large.
There was also a water hole that some of the iguanas were laying around and sunning themselves.
This is Sugar and he is asking if anyone knew what kind of tree we were standing by.
It ended up that it was an almond tree. Sugar was nice enough to crack them open for anyone that wanted to try one.
The area surrounding us was very green and pretty. Such a nice change from what we had left back at home.
Up next: Bernard's Tours St. Maarten Part 2
We have booked the Bernard's Tour for June so love this update!
Good to get a visual of the meeting spot
We enjoyed our time on St. Maarten. We ended up having a pretty active day on our tour. A lot more to come!
You will have no trouble at all finding the area where the tours meet. It is a very short walk from the ship.
I'm really enjoying your trip report, wonderful pictures! We have Bernard's Tour booked for next month so I can't wait to read more about it.
Thank you! I hope you enjoy your Bernard's Tour. It was a great way to spend the day.
After we loaded back up on the bus we made our way to the border. St. Maarten is governed by two different countries, the Dutch and the French. Junior explained that because of this there was two of everything on the island-two separate governments, two schools, two hospitals, two fire departments and so on. Part of the tour was a stop at the border. It was pretty anti-climatic, as the sign at the border was down!
We continued on to Oyster Pond, where we made a brief stop.
We all made our way down to the water where there was a gentleman that was pulling different sea life out of the water for everyone to see and touch.
Both kids and adults alike were having fun checking out the different creatures.
Sugar decided to put one of the creatures on his head.
This is a fairly small urchin, but they showed us the reason why you wanted to avoid stepping on one. The spines very easily broke off if they were touched. We were told that this particular kind was called a "bad boy" because you wouldn't be able to get it out of your skin.
DD10 was very enamored by the conch shells that they were showing us. She was told that she could take one, but DH and I just didn't feel right about it. I know that they didn't want shells removed from Castaway Cay, but I didn't know what the rules were on any of the other islands. I wondered if these wouldn't also be confiscated when getting back on the ship. We told her that she would need to leave it here knowing that the disappointment would be easier to deal with now, rather than having to leave it behind if she couldn't bring it onboard.
From our stop we were also able to get a view of St. Barts. The clouds were really starting to roll in.
We made our way back to the bus to make our way to Orient Beach for some beach time. Along the way we encountered some random goats. We definitely don't see this back home!
Up next: Orient Beach
Look like a fun start to your time on St Maarten!!
Good call on the shell
We took one and they did confiscate it on the ship when we boarded. I understood but would think that the tour guides should have known that. My dd was disappointed
It ended up being a really fun day! The tour gave us a nice variety while visiting St. Maarten.
That is such a bummer that she ended up not being able to keep the shell. It is especially disappointing since they were taking tips for those shells instead of letting you know that you wouldn't be able to keep them.
Our next stop would bring us to Orient Beach. On the drive over Junior explained that the beaches in St. Maarten were topless and that part of Orient Beach there was the option of going fully nude. He explained that if you wanted to avoid the fully nude section we should stay to the left of the rocks that were on the beach. We pulled into the parking lot and this was the first thing that we saw. Junior wasn't kidding!
We gathered our things from the bus and made our way to the water. Along the way we encountered our first topless woman. Apparently DD10 wasn't really listening to what Junior was saying, because she was surprised by this. During the time we were there I did see one other topless woman. Just a heads up if you plan on going to Orient Beach.
The area where we were dropped off had all kinds of chairs and umbrellas set up. We found a spot and shortly after we arrived a man came up and let us know that it was $20 for two chairs and an umbrella. It also gave us access to the bathroom and showers. After we got back on the bus we were talking to another family and they told the guy they weren't going to be there very long and I believe they ended up paying $10 for three chairs while they were there. Doesn't hurt to barter!
We weren't at the beach long enough to enjoy any of the activities, but there were jet ski rentals, a water trampoline, and other water activities available for rent if you have more time.
As far as Orient Beach goes-we thought it was wonderful! The water was just so blue.
While we were at the beach some really dark clouds started to roll in. The next thing I knew it was raining. DH and the girls were playing in the water so they barely even noticed that it was raining. Thankfully it only lasted for about 10 minutes and then it was over.
My only complaint about Orient Beach is that there were a lot of women that would approach wanting to sell any number of things-beach bags, towels, hats, jewelry, hair braiding, etc. They would even ask to braid DD10's hair and it was already braided. It really got annoying saying no thank you, so I eventually made like I was napping.
Unfortunately our time at Orient Beach was up too quickly. We made our way up to the showers to rinse off before heading to our next stop.
Up next: Marigot
Enjoying your trip report! Our cruise group scheduled Bernard's Tours for this summer. I believe we have three buses!
That is pretty impressive that you have that large of a group getting together for the tour!
The next stop was at the French side capital, Marigot. The purpose of this stop was to be able to do some shopping at the market that was set up next to the parking area. There were all kinds of booths set up in this area.
There was a stand that was selling coconuts, so DH decided that he needed one.
When we arrived Junior pointed out the public restroom. It wasn't the fanciest of places and it was quite a smelly experience, but it was very needed at the moment!
By the time we got out of the restroom it was almost time to leave. We had really hoped to have time to stop at Sarafina's for some lunch or at least a snack, but there just wasn't enough time. Sarafina's is a French bakery that gets rave reviews. If it is a priority for you to stop there make sure you go there right away.
I had to grab a couple of pictures of our surroundings before getting back on the bus. There were a lot of boats, but Junior said that there are occasions where this area is packed with boats.
I was just amazed at how crystal clear the water was.
The market area is in the lower right of this picture. The places on the hillside must have amazing views!
Before loading back up I grabbed a picture of our ride. The bus was very nice and thankfully Junior kept it cool, because us Northerners were getting warm!
Up next: Maho Beach
Ooh, that water looks so inviting!! Too bad you missed out on trying Serafina's - I've heard great things!!
Thank you for the tip on hitting Sarafina's right away! That is the one place I really have to go. I am a little concerned with the massive number of people touring at the same time, but I figured this is typically the number of people on a tour... They just aren't necessarily from the same cruise. We have a very active cruise group.
I was in awe of how blue and clear the water was. It was just beautiful.
I'm bummed that we missed out on Sarafina's. Everything that was displayed looked delicious!
I think if we had went directly to Sarafina's we would have been able to get something. We went over there thinking we would have enough time, but we waited for awhile and the line just wasn't moving. Just head that way right away and you should be fine.
That is awesome that you have such an active cruise group. It is fun to meet with people that you have communicated with during the planning process, especially since you already "know" them.
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