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Celebrity cruises from St. Maarten - Worth the hassle?


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Posted (edited)

Hi, 

 

I am booked on the Celebrity Summit's cruise that is scheduled to depart from St. Maarten on July 10. I love cruises (94 cruises since 1967), but I am having second thoughts about this cruise after reading numerous posts on these boards.

 

I would be taking this cruise solo and flying from Chicago to Miami the day before the cruise and spending the night at a Miami airport hotel. I would then fly from Miami to St. Maarten the morning of the cruise (scheduled to arrive in St. Maarten before noon). I don't want to fly to St. Maarten early because I would need to arrange a second COVID test in St. Maarten. Of course, there are flight delay worries and the chance of missing the ship. I have travel insurance. 

 

I need to have a COVID test within 72 hours of my departure, receive negative test results and obtain an approved health form back from St. Maarten. If there are  problems with any these steps, I won't be able to take this cruise. 

 

I have cruised on this ship before and visited all of the ports. Because I am taking this cruise solo, it sounds like I will be dining alone in the restaurant each night (I have requested second seating dining).

 

The airport situation in St. Maarten following the cruise sounds horrible. My flight is scheduled to depart from St. Maarten at 12:45 pm. 

 

I could cancel the cruise now and apply the amount that I have paid to a later cruise on one of the new ships (Edge or Apex) from North America.

 

If you were in my shoes, would you cancel this cruise? 

 

Thanks,

 

Chuck

Edited by seacruise9
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Posted (edited)

Sint Maarten is DH’s and myself’s favourite island.

Would move and live there if I could. 

We are booked to travel there for a week in November post cruise from FLL.

I had hoped that Celebrity would have home ported in SXM longer as it would have been dreamy to sail from and then spend a week or so on the island.

Since we were able to get our second vaccine much earlier than we had anticipated we might just change our plans and cruise so we can get to SXM sooner.

 

I would totally go if you are able to roll with punches.

The airport is small. It is under construction from the last hurricane in 2017. They are getting better at handling the volume of people that are now landing/departing on the weekends.

I personally would never land or leave on the weekend if it is avoidable.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by pixiedust777
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Posted (edited)

It seems that many of the plusses from cruising will be missing, while there are a number of logistical negatives. Personally, I'd cancel.

Edited by Fouremco
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My sister and I were booked on that sailing.  For all the reasons you’ve stated (and maybe more), we swapped ours to Edge that same week.  I’m really glad they’re still allowing so much flexibility. 

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Posted (edited)

We were originally going to book a B2B2B on the Millenium when they were first released, but were told they did not allow B2Bs at that time. Since we had no desire to fly first to Miami, spend the night and then take a 3 hour flight to St Maarten, let alone go through all the COVID testing since we've already been vaccinated, for a 7 day cruise, we passed. Then we found similar cruises on the Edge out of Ft Lauderdale and were able to book B2B2B cruises, we jumped on it.

 

Of course, you have to make your own decision, but for us even though they now allow B2B cruises out of St Maarten, we are so happy we were "forced" to book the Edge cruises. 😎

 

Edited by Ken the cruiser
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For the reasons you stated, I would cancel and transfer to a later cruise on the Edge or Apex.  

 

There's another thread started on a live review from the maiden sailing on the Apex which is starting out to sound very exciting. (Although that's not out of North America right now)

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We are on the Summit out of St. Maarten for the July 17th cruise.  Like yourself, we are a bit panicked by much of what you heard.  I am unsure though if there is a "perfect cruise" situation right now.  I thought about switching it up to a Florida cruise departure as well but now that Florida won the recent disagreement with the CDC, we prefer to sailing that does not depart from there.  I also thought about a RC cruise that same week out of the Bahamas, but that ended up being significantly more costly for us.  Again, just don't think there is a perfect situation for us and willing to roll the dice on St. Maarten.

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12 hours ago, jelayne said:

Can you move your booking to the Edge out of Florida.

We had a great deal on a royal  suite leaving 7/3 , after struggling to find flights that weren’t that convenient and reading terrible things about the airport and there regulations we canceled the cruise and booked Edge for same day , St Maarten is a port on our edge cruise. If you book St Maarten i definitely would use celebrity for flights and get insurance.

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I have not left my house in 15 months and SO need to get away.  Booked this specifically because it does NOT sail out of FL and the rules are going to keep changing.  I like that you have to be vaccinated to get on this ship.  I am looking forward to seven days of being on the water on a ship, on a catamaran, on a water taxi, etc and let the warm sun hit my skin.  I will let all the other stuff just roll off my back.  


But each person is different.

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Because your departing flight from St Maarten is at lunch time, you shouldn't have a horribly long wait in the sun at the airport. If I did the math correctly, you should be able to enter the airport at 9:45.  I would go for it!

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We are scheduled on the July 3rd sailing on the Summit... we debated back and forth changing to the Edge, but there has been so much uncertainty on FL rules that we decided to stay the course (at least for now...).

 

My flight equation was: Staging in Miami the night before, and scheduled to fly on the first flight out of Miami to SXM, gives us several fallback options in case of issues... Our return flight, is the same as yours, and given the rules it seems we would be able to go straight into the airport from port, so just arming ourselves with patience ahead of time.

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We changed our Aug 14th ST Maarten sailing to Aug 13th Alaska r/t from Seattle due to testing time lines and the flight schedule being so tight from Austin Tx.  When the fun of planning became so stressful I knew it was time to move on. I am once again planning fun not PCR tests.

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16 hours ago, Ken the cruiser said:

We were originally going to book a B2B2B on the Millenium when they were first released, but were told they did not allow B2Bs at that time. Since we had no desire to fly first to Miami, spend the night and then take a 3 hour flight to St Maarten, let alone go through all the COVID testing since we've already been vaccinated, for a 7 day cruise, we passed. Then we found similar cruises on the Edge out of Ft Lauderdale and were able to book B2B2B cruises, we jumped on it.

 

Of course, you have to make your own decision, but for us even though they now allow B2B cruises out of St Maarten, we are so happy we were "forced" to book the Edge cruises. 😎

 

Wanted to reply here so you'd get the notification in case you haven't seen that CC locked the "light at the end" forum.  You can still read it but no one can be quoted and no one can add.  Just an FYI

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Posted (edited)

Hi, 

 

Thanks for your replies. This is a tough decision. At this point, I have decided to keep my reservation for the Celebrity Summit cruise departing July 10. I received an excellent price on one of the new balcony staterooms that was added to Deck 10 forward. Also, it will be nice having the reduced number of passengers on this cruise. I have made all of the travel arrangements and have my electronic boarding pass. After having so many of my cruises canceled during the past 15 months, I hate to miss a cruise that actually has a good chance of taking place.

 

Chuck 

Edited by seacruise9
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Posted (edited)

I’m on the Millennium now.  The hassle with the testing and travel is not too bad if you have the right plan.  We tested at a facility that turned around our PCR test on the same day.  So we tested Wednesday afternoon and uploaded our results that night.  Approval come in within a few hours.  We, however, arrived in St Maarten a day before and I’m glad we did.  It was nice checking out of our hotel at 10:00, grabbing breakfast and taking a cab at 11 AM to the cruise port.  Even though our check in was at 12:30, Celebrity allowed everyone to come into their air conditioned facility and we were on board by 12:15.  Honestly, I remember thinking how exhausted those that fly in the day of the cruise would be.   To be fair, we had a 5:00 AM flight to Atlanta; flying from Miami may not be that early.

 

Regarding the post cruise experience at the airport.  Thanks to this wonderful platform at to those that travelled on the first couple of cruises, we changed our plans.  We had the Celebrity tour with airport drop off.  We decided to cancel that and book a post cruise island tour with a company called D & A taxi.  We have  5 total and they can accommodate all of our luggage.  Our plan is to take that tour, grab lunch before we arrive at the airport around 1 PM for a 3:11 PM flight to Atlanta.  Not sure how that will work out, but I would imagine it will be better than standing outside the airport for a few hours.  By the way, the island tour for 5 was less expensive than the Celebrity transfer.

 

Perhaps I’ll feel differently after the cruise, but I would absolutely take this cruise again.  We have around 575 people on this cruise and it’s a chance of a lifetime.  Ironically the smaller crowd provides more opportunities to have the discussions with other passengers and the crew.  The cruise is absolutely wonderful and we’ve met so many great passenger and crew members.
 

Bottom line, there are some hoops to jump through and there are some hassles. If you have the right plan, it’s absolutely worth it.

 

Jason

Edited by Jason26
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Posted (edited)

Hi Jason, 

 

Thanks for your encouraging post. This makes me feel better about my decision. I have a similar plan concerning the PCR test prior to my trip. I have found some places in Chicago that specialize in turning around test results quickly for travelers.

 

My post-cruise experience should not be too bad because my flight is scheduled to depart at 12:45.

 

I hope you continue to have a great cruise! 

 

Chuck

Edited by seacruise9
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