You remember this island from last fall’s running commentary to transatlantic voyages? St Maarten’s with Phillipsburg as the capital on the Dutch side and Mariot as the capital on the French side of the island and almost the entire economy dependent on the tourist industry. In this case it effective means cruise ships.
We were the fourth ship to pull into port this morning. The NCL Star, P&O Aurora and HAL Noordam were already in port. Late arrivals were RCI Serenade pulling into our quay behind us and Costa Luminosa on the far side of HAL. End result – 6 ships (at least three setting out for transatlantic journeys) from five lines. I have sailed the NCL Star (Alaska last year) and have been on 4/5 of the lines represented.
St Maartens itself has not changed. You can take a taxi from the port which seems kind of silly or you can hike along the waterfront road. The compromise is to head to the end of the dock and take a water taxi to the main square pier ($6/day infinite round trips). Me? I walk, it is good for me and supplements all the stairs and my 4-6 treadmill miles every morning.
Caribbean Camera was just where I remembered. They didn’t have the Lowenpro bag I failed to buy in Singapore but they did have batteries for my EOS 7D Canon. Other than the camera shop, I mostly enjoyed wandering around the town and watching all the people. This seems to be the end of the winter tourist season and most stores were trying to clear out inventory. I still don’t get sparky stones or fancy watches and the whole family has more than enough t-shirts so I skipped all the bargains in favor of a nice stroll, people watching, lunch on the ship and an afternoon spent in the solarium relaxing. It also means that I skipped the Carnival Parade for children but I really thought that there were enough other people already lining the street.