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Royal Caribbean excursion questions for St Maartin

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We are on the Allure in less than 3 weeks and have had some trepidation about doing a beach on our own by taxi because of the road construction and how it is seriously damaging the length of time needed to get back to the ship. The alternative is to take the Royal Caribbean excursions offered to Kimsha Beach, so if the worst happens, the ship has to wait for us. The other alternative is to forsake the roads entirely and take a Royal Caribbean excursion by boat. One excursion clearly states that it goes to Mullet Bay, our favorite beach, in a speed boat. How does that work for getting people on and off while parked somewhere in Mullet Bay ? Has anyone done this excursion ??

 

The other one is the Golden Eagle catamaran, which doesn't say which beach it visits and has a weight restriction of 250 pounds. My 6'4" husband weighs 275. Why the weight restriction ?? And on the port forums, people are saying they can't reach the tour operators. Since they are running an excursion for Royal, do I call Royal Caribbean for information ?? And who would I call ?? The people who answer the phones when you call don't know their butt from their elbow with a map if your question isn't really basic and on their sheet of pat answers.

 

Kimsha sounds underwhelming. Has anyone gone there ? It is apparently where all the cruise ships are dumping passengers for beach days.

 

I'm half blind from reading thread after thread, post after post and not seeing the information I need. My Minnesota nice has plumb worn out and now I am BEGGING for help. Please, I'm old, tired and not packed yet !! I have to spring clean my house before we go and lay in provisions for my cat sitter !! Please help me.

 

warm regards

Kristine

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Following this thread. We’re going in August. I researched a little bit and posted on the port of call forum but there were no responses. We may end up making this a ship day if it’s difficult to get anywhere.

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Take a look at the review by Mitsugirly of her recent cruise on Jewel. On page 23 of her review she describes a visit to Kim Sha beach, with photos, and it looks like it is in good condition. Most of St Maarten that she toured by rental car that day, looks awful, still devastated.

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I'm not sure if this will help you, but I will share our recent experience. We went to St. Maarten on the Grandeur in Dec 2017 and did Mullet Bay and Maho on our own. This was our first time in St. Maarten. Walked to town and found the $2/pp taxi van and had no trouble getting to Mullet Bay even with the recent hurricane damage. There were maybe 8 people total on the beach the whole time we were there. Rented chairs and an umbrella and stayed only a few hours since it started raining. The guy renting the chairs said their food stand was destroyed but they would have some limited food available at lunch time. We didn't stay for that. We then walked to Maho and sat at the Driftwood Bar sheltered from the rain and enjoying yummy drinks. Saw a few planes come and go. We weren't sure where the cheap taxi vans would be for the return trip to Philipsburg (not familiar with the roads there and couldn't remember which road was the main road.... should have just asked), so after walking around a little bit we just found a regular taxi and ended up paying $20 to get back to the ship. All in all, we had a great time even with the rain, and it didn't seem to take very long to get back and forth from Mullet Bay. About 30 minutes each way? We are planning to do the same thing when we return in Nov 2018. I couldn't see paying for an excursion to do this and be confined to a set time schedule.

 

Edit: I'll add here that we did not have to walk too far to find the first taxi van. Prior to our cruise, I read that we should walk to Back Street to find all of the taxi vans, but we saw one pulling out of Sol Gas Station and he let us get in right there.

Edited by maysill88
more info

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Don't know if this is a help, but we always build in an extra hour, at the least, when we do a shore excursion on our own, just to account for any traffic, a mechanical problem with transportation, etc. I've stood on our balcony too many times and watched people racing to the ship as it was about to leave because they cut it too close.

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Well, there is a pretty big beach right near the port if you want to spend all day at the beach. Walk (follow the crowd) or pay $6 RT via water taxi. Plenty of eateries right there as well as jet ski and other water sport activities.

 

If all you want to see at Maho beach just to see planes take off and land (the beach is very small and crowded anyway), may I suggest what we did. We took up our taxi driver's offer to take us to another beach near Maho. He told us that we would be somewhat disappointed, (we were and only stayed long enough to take a picture) and took up his offer to take us to another beach after we saw it, which was what seemed like to us, around the bend of Maho beach (you can still see air planes coming). They served great food and had beach chairs and the beach was not crowed at all.

 

He came back for us around since we thought 2:30 was enough time to get back to shop a little and get back on the ship with traffic.

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When we travel to st Maarten we usually walk from the cruise docking area over to the beach/boardwalk area. This is about a 15 minute walk depending on how fast you walk. From there you can head towards the “straw market area”/back street and get on a “bus” -which will take you where you want to go for ~$2 per person per direction. In the front window of their bus is the direction they are heading. You can ask the driver to stop whenever you would like.

 

We typically head to Maho and stop at Sunset or Driftwood. We also like to go to Karakter beach bar which is next to Mary’s Boon on the Simpson Bay beach side of the airport. They have a fully functioning kitchen and bar, restrooms, and beach chairs/umbrellas available. Karakter is harder to get to if you don’t know where you are going and the busses do not go back there but a short walk to the main road will find you the bus or taxis.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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We are on the Allure in less than 3 weeks and have had some trepidation about doing a beach on our own by taxi because of the road construction and how it is seriously damaging the length of time needed to get back to the ship. The alternative is to take the Royal Caribbean excursions offered to Kimsha Beach, so if the worst happens, the ship has to wait for us. The other alternative is to forsake the roads entirely and take a Royal Caribbean excursion by boat. One excursion clearly states that it goes to Mullet Bay, our favorite beach, in a speed boat. How does that work for getting people on and off while parked somewhere in Mullet Bay ? Has anyone done this excursion ??

 

The other one is the Golden Eagle catamaran, which doesn't say which beach it visits and has a weight restriction of 250 pounds. My 6'4" husband weighs 275. Why the weight restriction ?? And on the port forums, people are saying they can't reach the tour operators. Since they are running an excursion for Royal, do I call Royal Caribbean for information ?? And who would I call ?? The people who answer the phones when you call don't know their butt from their elbow with a map if your question isn't really basic and on their sheet of pat answers.

 

Kimsha sounds underwhelming. Has anyone gone there ? It is apparently where all the cruise ships are dumping passengers for beach days.

 

I'm half blind from reading thread after thread, post after post and not seeing the information I need. My Minnesota nice has plumb worn out and now I am BEGGING for help. Please, I'm old, tired and not packed yet !! I have to spring clean my house before we go and lay in provisions for my cat sitter !! Please help me.

 

warm regards

Kristine

 

 

Our family of 9 (3 kids) took the beach tour at Kim Sha beach at Simpson Bay. There were some 5 full busses and the pier was like a zoo. The trip took some 20-25 minutes with all of the road constructions. We totally enjoyed it and it included a wonderful full lunch and a beverage (soda, beer, water) and a lounger. Umbrellas were reasonable at $4 per. We departed Kim Sha at 1:30pm and the trip back was much faster. You also, have the option to be dropped off closer to the city.

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I will be there in early June and have the same questions. Recent reviews seem to vary in terms of traffic and beach experiences. Additionally I will be traveling with some senior relatives with some mobility issues. Having our return transportation to the ship in question would not be good. How far a walk is it from the ship to where you can get a taxi? I'd love to not pay for an excursion at this stop because it seems highly inflated over what you can do yourself.

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I was in St. Maarten last week. We did a jeep tour of the island which stopped at Friars Bay (I think that was it) and Maho. In Phillipsburg, traffic is bad. It just comes to a complete stop in areas which last about 15 min or so before proceeding. We didn't hit traffic anywhere else. The place we went to at Friars, we were the only ones there. They said most of the other little beaches in that area were destroyed. Maho I didn't think was that crowded either. Probably because most hotels are still closed. I mean there were plenty of people, but you weren't on top of each other either.

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The other one is the Golden Eagle catamaran, which doesn't say which beach it visits and has a weight restriction of 250 pounds. My 6'4" husband weighs 275. Why the weight restriction ?? And on the port forums, people are saying they can't reach the tour operators. Since they are running an excursion for Royal, do I call Royal Caribbean for information ?? And who would I call ?? The people who answer the phones when you call don't know their butt from their elbow with a map if your question isn't really basic and on their sheet of pat answers.

 

I'm half blind from reading thread after thread, post after post and not seeing the information I need. My Minnesota nice has plumb worn out and now I am BEGGING for help. Please, I'm old, tired and not packed yet !! I have to spring clean my house before we go and lay in provisions for my cat sitter !! Please help me.

 

warm regards

Kristine

 

We were on Freedom last week and did the Golden Eagle as we had similar concerns with the state of the island. It was a half day. We picked the afternoon. The snorkeling wasn't anything to write home about, but they do feed the fish so we had a ton swimming around us. We went to Mullet Bay after. It was like having our own private beach for the afternoon! The boat had pool noodles and we floated and floated the afternoon away. We could have stayed there all day. The crew was fantastic, they were lots of fun and made sure we had enough water, soda, rum punch or beer. After they had nice little sandwiches on the most amazing French bread. We would do it again.

 

They did not weigh any of us, but maybe the weight restriction has to do with capacity for the boat. If you own a boat you will note there is always a plaque stating # of people or weight that the boat could handle. We were not near person capacity on our trip. Hope this helps.

 

 

St. Maarten has a long way to go to being back to what she was before the storms.

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The other one is the Golden Eagle catamaran, which doesn't say which beach it visits and has a weight restriction of 250 pounds. My 6'4" husband weighs 275. Why the weight restriction ??

Kristine

 

I'm a big dude like your husband, a bit smaller, but close enough. The only size concern is for life vests. That's all in these cases. If this was a helicopter or a zipline or something like that, you can bet there is a reason for the restriction. The zipline is usually the size of the harness.

 

The weight on the catamaran is never checked. They just want a warning to be said that the life vests may not fit individuals of a certain size. HOPEFULLY, your husband (as a man of that size) is what I like to call globally big instead of regionally big. If he's proportionately sized, the vest is almost never a problem. If he was a 5' tall woman who weighed 275lbs with a big belly and a bigger bosom... the vest might not fit. It's more about how you're built than your weight for THIS scenario. My neighbor is built like that. Our weight is likely close to the same. Our height is no where near the same. Our circumferences are also no where near the same.

 

I can tell you that I fit in all the life vests with plenty of room to spare.

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we took the water taxi over to Holland House. Got 2 chairs an umbrella and 4 beers for $25.

 

Water taxi was $7 pp round trip.

 

Bill

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Thanks Poncho! Had not thought of that as all the life vests were the horseshoe orange type- and not the buckle vest for skiing type vest.

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Both the Golden Eagle and the "around the island" power raft are owned by the same company (look up power rafting). Both stop at Mullet. Last week we saw that the huge sand dune is mostly gone but the beach is still great. Lots of damage to hotels and condos near the airport. The snorkeling site for Golden Eagle wasn't all that great - new spot near the port where operators have sunk a helicopter and minisub. But there were a lot of fish in the top six feet of water. Golden Eagle uses the inflatable snorkel vest and power rafting used the kapok cruise ship vests when we were there last year. Neither weighed anyone at the pier.

 

We much prefer the power raft (going again in July) to the cat, but it was fun to sit in the front of the cat as we pounded our way back to the port through driving rain. Power raft does some 50 mph sprints coming back to the ship. Only issue with power raft is that the inflatable pontoons are about six feet above the water and you climb a rope ladder to get there, leaning back all the way. Trevor will yank you into the boat if you need help. Cat had very easy water entry/exit.

 

The other thing we noticed last week was massive traffic problem between town and the pier. Traffic would move forward ten feet and then sit for five minutes. Lasted most of the day. Folks taking vehicle excursions reported hour or more delays both ways. If possible take some kind of water excursion or the water taxi into town.

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We were on Freedom last week and did the Golden Eagle as we had similar concerns with the state of the island. It was a half day. We picked the afternoon. The snorkeling wasn't anything to write home about, but they do feed the fish so we had a ton swimming around us. We went to Mullet Bay after. It was like having our own private beach for the afternoon! The boat had pool noodles and we floated and floated the afternoon away. We could have stayed there all day. The crew was fantastic, they were lots of fun and made sure we had enough water, soda, rum punch or beer. After they had nice little sandwiches on the most amazing French bread. We would do it again.

 

They did not weigh any of us, but maybe the weight restriction has to do with capacity for the boat. If you own a boat you will note there is always a plaque stating # of people or weight that the boat could handle. We were not near person capacity on our trip. Hope this helps.

 

 

St. Maarten has a long way to go to being back to what she was before the storms.

 

Thank you !! This is exactly what I needed to know ! It is such a relief because I booked us on the Golden Eagle this morning. We are doing the 8:30 am cruise and I know we will have a great time !

 

I'm thankful for all the people who responded, but you gave me just what I needed to make our vacation ! It's important because this is a make up cruise for our September 25th Anniversary Allure cruise that was Irmageddoned. Royal treated us so badly at that time that we got very soured about this cruise, but it was reschedule or lose more than $5000 (counting airfare).

 

It's our first cruise with Royal, and probably our last, I just want to make it as perfect for my husband as possible. I booked us on the Horizon in December for his birthday. So he should be a very happy camper !!

 

warm regards

Kristine

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I'm a big dude like your husband, a bit smaller, but close enough. The only size concern is for life vests. That's all in these cases. If this was a helicopter or a zipline or something like that, you can bet there is a reason for the restriction. The zipline is usually the size of the harness.

 

The weight on the catamaran is never checked. They just want a warning to be said that the life vests may not fit individuals of a certain size. HOPEFULLY, your husband (as a man of that size) is what I like to call globally big instead of regionally big. If he's proportionately sized, the vest is almost never a problem. If he was a 5' tall woman who weighed 275lbs with a big belly and a bigger bosom... the vest might not fit. It's more about how you're built than your weight for THIS scenario. My neighbor is built like that. Our weight is likely close to the same. Our height is no where near the same. Our circumferences are also no where near the same.

 

I can tell you that I fit in all the life vests with plenty of room to spare.

 

Thanks Poncho !

 

I think he will probably fit into the life vest better than me since I'm only 5'4' and 220 ! I'm in great shape, round is a shape ; )

 

Al has snorkeled before, I haven't , and really don't want to. I just love to swim. We just wanted to see Mullet Bay (our "happy" place) and riding in a catamaran was on his bucket list !

 

Thank you,

Kristine

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Thanks Poncho !

 

I think he will probably fit into the life vest better than me since I'm only 5'4' and 220 ! I'm in great shape, round is a shape ; )

 

Al has snorkeled before, I haven't , and really don't want to. I just love to swim. We just wanted to see Mullet Bay (our "happy" place) and riding in a catamaran was on his bucket list !

 

Thank you,

Kristine

 

Round certainly IS a shape! The best part of gaining weight is how buoyant you become. HAHAHAHAHA

 

The wife and I are big into snorkeling and St Maartin is great for it in certain places. It's also great for swimming. We did the motorized snorkeling off Orient Beach one time and that was so much fun.

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