Monday, July 23, 2012

Carnival Victory: St. Maarten

Arrive at 7, Board by 4:30, Sail Away 5

St. Maarten was our favorite island that we visited. There was so much to do so close to port and the atmosphere was very relaxing. We did not have an excursion planned for this day. We walked off board into the port area and found the area for the water taxi for the left. I believe it was $4 each way pp or $6 pp for an all day bracelet that was good for as many rides as you wanted. The water taxi stops at two different areas and then comes back to the port. You can also walk the board walk area down to where the water taxi lets you off. We bought the all day pass and were on our way. The water taxi was a beautiful ride, very short at about 5 minutes. We got off and walked around the boardwalk. There were quite a few local restaurants as well as places like Hard Rock Cafe and a McDonalds. Once we were towards the end of the boardwalk we went back a street to the main shopping area. St. Maarten has tons of jewelry stores as well as outlets like Ralph Lauren/ Tommy Hilfiger type places. The shopping street is one way and you must be cautious of vehicles driving down when crossing.

After a couple hours of mostly looking and some souvenir shopping we walked back to the boardwalk to a nice little beach bar with 2 for $3 beers. We stuck with Carib, it was very light in the hot sun, but they also had American beers available for the same deal. Eventually we went to find a vendor to get some loungers at the beach. The first guy we walked up to was great!! $15 for 2 loungers, an umbrella, and 4 drinks (alcoholic). What a deal!!! I believe we were in Great Bay. There had been a recent storm so the water was full of sea weed which was a little unnerving to walk through at first. The sea weed had also washed upon shore some but it was a beautiful area. The water was not crystal clear blue water as in the other ports but I am sure you could easily find this in other areas on the island. There was a nice row of rocks that jetted out into the water that we climbed up on to see some lovely pelicans diving into the water. The area was just so nice, very relaxing.

After laying out we decided to finish up shopping but walked two streets up instead of one. This was a local street with markets and a lot of people. There seemed to be some sort of festival or something going on, there were a lot of school kids. Anyways, it was packed with people and we felt quite uncomfortable so we headed back to the first street. We decided to take the water taxi back which took forever! So make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get back to the ship! After about 20 minutes the water taxi was there and it was packed! We had to stop at the second drop off point before we could head back to the port. Once back at port, the line was very long but it didnt seem to take too long to get back on board. It was kind of sad, our last port. Tomorrow we would be back in Puerto Rico and heading home.

The top of St. Martin is French, the bottom of Sint Maarten is Dutch. It is a two nation island.

This is sign is found in the shopping area.

Behind these trees is the lovely beach bar we visited.

The ship from the Great Bay.

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