Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
TheGreatfulBread

First time cruising to St. Maarten

Recommended Posts

Will be my first time cruising to this area of the world with @Durham Mama Bear and our child under 8. We' ll be sailing with RCCL.  I'm wondering for first timers if it is better to do a ship based excursion or potentially use one of the reputable non ship based tours like Bernard's or Joyce Prince (Hanley).  Has anyone used the latter?  I've seen plenty about the former.  If so what was the typical price for the non-private tours?  Would you recommend these to a family with a child ?   Either way, what are some excursions that you would recommend to a family of 3?  Any other suggestions or tips for first timers?  We are not drinkers and probably not going to buy anything at shops though looking wouldn't be bad and are not interested in renting a car.

 

Thank you in advance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmm..  how much patience does your child have for sitting in a van and stopping at cultural stops?   I ask because some kids love it and some just aren't ready for it.  And the last thing you want is a bored kid.  My daughter at 10 is hit or miss with tours. 

 

Bernard and Joyce Prince offer great tours but they can be a little cultural heavy depending on your selected tour. 

 

A possible suggestion,  go to the butterfly farm and then the beach.   If you haven't been to Maho,  a small kid would definitely find the planes flying overhead very interested.   

 

Other options: Rhino boat, Pinel beach by ferry or kayak (a small kid can sit in middle of 2 adults), Loterie Farm. 

 

Hope that helps!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Butterfly Farm did not survive Irma and is closed.  I would recommend a non-ship tour - Bernard or Joyce would be fine - just review their websites for what looks best for you.  One question for you is whether and how much beach time you want.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, helensobol said:

Hmmm..  how much patience does your child have for sitting in a van and stopping at cultural stops?   I ask because some kids love it and some just aren't ready for it.  And the last thing you want is a bored kid.  My daughter at 10 is hit or miss with tours. 

 

Bernard and Joyce Prince offer great tours but they can be a little cultural heavy depending on your selected tour. 

 

 

 

So agree with the above!    :classic_wink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On either tour, on the way back, you can ask the driver to drop you off in town on Front St instead of taking you back to the ship. This way you can browse through the whole too. It is a 10 - 15 minute walk back to the ship, or a 5 minute ferry ride.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were just in St Maarten and did the Billy Bones snorkel tour with lunch. Great fun—the speedboat was a huge hit with my daughter! And she loved the snorkeling too! Non-ship excursions went seamlessly for us. It was our first cruise that we tried non-ship excursions and it worked out great. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/6/2019 at 8:15 PM, FirstAnthem said:

We were just in St Maarten and did the Billy Bones snorkel tour with lunch. Great fun—the speedboat was a huge hit with my daughter! And she loved the snorkeling too! Non-ship excursions went seamlessly for us. It was our first cruise that we tried non-ship excursions and it worked out great. 

 

Looking at doing this for our 9 year old grand kids in a couple of years. Did she already know how to snorkel? These guys will be brand new to it and wanted to know if Billy Bones would have people to help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On my last trip to St. Maarten we hired a 6 passenger van with driver and received a nice tour of the island for 1/2 the price of the ship tours.  But, coming home from the other side of the island we hit so much traffic that we arrived back at the ship only 15 min. before sailing.  We would have missed the ship had the driver not taken some back dirt roads to beat some of the traffic.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a 7yo, and my mom, him, and I are going to take the water taxi to the beach and then walk back, with a beach stop at some point. More importantly, I'm hoping Yoda Guy is open. Apparently he's a prop guy who worked on Yoda from Star Wars and has a muesem of props. Looks like his website is dead, but there's recent info on other sites: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g147347-d2299951-Reviews-Yoda_Guy_Movie_Exhibit-Philipsburg_Sint_Maarten_St_Martin_St_Maarten.html

 

What I'm trying to find out, though, is if there's more than one stop for the water taxi? Mom and I sometimes run out of steam faster than we expect. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/19/2019 at 11:19 AM, AlluraUni said:

I have a 7yo, and my mom, him, and I are going to take the water taxi to the beach and then walk back, with a beach stop at some point. More importantly, I'm hoping Yoda Guy is open. Apparently he's a prop guy who worked on Yoda from Star Wars and has a muesem of props. Looks like his website is dead, but there's recent info on other sites: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g147347-d2299951-Reviews-Yoda_Guy_Movie_Exhibit-Philipsburg_Sint_Maarten_St_Martin_St_Maarten.html

 

What I'm trying to find out, though, is if there's more than one stop for the water taxi? Mom and I sometimes run out of steam faster than we expect. 

Yes, there are 2 water taxi stops, Mid-town and the Wharf/Marina both on the Boardwalk (Pedestrian only) with Front Street behind (pedestrian and traffic)

But there are many shared shuttle taxis ply their trade up/down Front Street looking for "return to the ship" business, for when and where you are ready to return to the port

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • SPECIAL EVENT: Q&A with the Quark Expeditions Team!
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...