Hello! Last week I did a full break down of what to expect on the Oasis of the Seas (the brand new mega ship from Royal Caribbean) AND fun things to do on Cruising Days – you can check out that article here. Let’s jump right into this one: What you should expect when at port in St. Maarten and how to get the most out of the day.
We booked a scenic historical bus tour of the island (figuring it was the safest/easiest way to see everything) for $39 per person and honestly it was the BEST part about our entire trip.
An overview of our day at port
We got up around 5:45AM to watch the sunrise from the Solarium (watching the boat pull into port is pretty neat too!) and we grabbed a quick breakfast at the Windjammer (Breakfast starts at 6:30AM and they normally open up a bit early when the boat is at port). The hubs and I finished up breakfast and headed straight down to the “Gang Way” on decks 3 and 4.
We waited. AND WAITED. AND WAITED. Finally at a 45 minute wait, they opened up the Gang Way and we quickly hustled off the ship.
If you a re looking for your Royal Caribbean Excursion meeting location, walk straight onto the port and look for the lovely ladies holding the Excursion signs. If you take a look at your excursion ticket on the bottom right hand corner you’ll find a “Excursion number” that number will be on the sign that the ladies holding in the air. If you are in need of assistance getting to buss for medical reasons – make it to the front of the line, there will be a golf cart waiting to drive you to the bus loop.
We waited even longer, just under an hour and we were finally walked towards the bus parking loop. You’ll walk through a small market place, but don’t worry you will have plenty of time to explore later. We loaded onto busses. Clean and new busses WITH air conditioning. The best seat in the house? The back row. Bigger windows and less people sitting next to you.
The buss took us on a 3 hour tour of the entire island. We had an incredible tour guide too, he explained every small statue and historical area we drove pass. For our tour, we made three small stops around the island. The first was a small market place, be sure to stop in and grab drinks or snacks. The Second was a small ice cream parlor (WITH THE BEST ICE CREAM I HAVE EVER TASTED 👌🏻👌🏻). The finally stop was on a mountain peek overlooking the entirety of St. Maarten.
The tour lasted a few hours and dropped us right back off at the tourist marketplace. Take a walk through the smalls shops and pick up souvenirs here. If you are like me, there are some great Instagram spots right behind the market place shops (included the photo of this EPIC purple wall below) OR if you are like my husband check out the main large building, it’s a Pokémon Gym 😜
We boarded back onto the ship around 2PM-3PM for a late lunch, a much needed nap AND a perfectly good soak in the whirlpool tub overlooking St. Maarten.
Tips & Tricks and how to get the most out of St. Maarten
- I think I might have mentioned this before. But buy yourself a lanyard with pockets. For any port you will need to carry your drivers license, debit cards, cash AND your Royal Caribbean Seapass Card.
- There’s no need to carry your passport off of the ship, be sure to lock it in your Stateroom safe.
- Book the Excursion. For $39 a person we were able to see the entire island, learn all about their rich history and we even made a few local friends! To save a bit of money on your Excursion, book it ahead of time when you are booking your stateroom. They will normally give you a discount or you can use your “on board credit.”
- Bring snacks. We learned very quickly this first port that there was no where to get food and we went from lunch until almost dinner time without real food (besides the ice cream).
- If you book the excursion there’s two different tours – one with an open topped double decker buss and the historical bus. DO NOT BOOK THE DOUBLE DECKER – tourists were miserable, even in February with cooler temperatures, the bus gave no shade from the sun. Book the historical tour instead and save yourself.
- Get there early. From standing at the Gangway entrance to finally getting onto the bus – we waited almost two hours and we STILL were not the first in line. Get up early and treat yourself to a nap later
- Don’t be shy and ask for that photo. We quickly made friends with our bus driver Denis and he was kind enough to take our photos at each of our stops. Don’t be shy to ask people to help you out, you’re only here once!
- Tipping is optional. But for god sake give them a tip.
- Just remember, yes we get hurricanes in Florida but we after the storms we have resources to repair our homes and have access to food/water. The residents of St. Maarten, do not. They are still repairing from being hit by multiple hurricanes in 2017 and many of them lost their lives because of it – so be kind ♥️
Have you been on a cruise down to St. Maarten on a cruise? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below! Thank you as always for reading! I look forward to seeing all of your cruise and St. Maarten photos too!! St. Maarten was the worst, because we had the BEST time – it set the bar a bit too high for the rest of our trip. Don’t get me wrong, Old San Juan is captivating but St. Maarten will always have my heart.
As our new friend from St. Maarten would say “In St. Maarten we don’t say goodbye, we say ‘So Long’. For I will see you again my friends” ✌🏻
As always thank you all for reading! You can check out all of my #vacayinspo photos on my instagram here. Be sure to read all of my travel articles by clicking this link too. I’ll be posting a full review of our day in San Juan, next Thursday ✌🏻✌🏻