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About St. Maarten

Half French and half Dutch, St. Martin/Sint Maarten is one of the Caribbean's most diverse and interesting islands.

 

The Dutch capital Philipsburg is a delightful warren of narrow streets called steegjies. Here you will find interesting shops and leafy courtyard cafés. Start your exploration at Wathey Square, which is home to a colourful market.

 

If you would prefer to enjoy a little French 'je ne sais quoi', take an island tour to the pretty French capital Marigot. It's worth visiting for its colourful markets, lovely café-lined waterfront and the chic boutiques of Marina Port La Royale, where you can pick up unusual jewellery and leather goods. Or spend your day on a catamaran trip from Philipsburg for fabulous deep-sea snorkelling with lunch.

 

Shore excursions in St. Maarten

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

A Glimpse of St Maarten and Marigot

Activity low

Duration: 2½ hours

Discover St Maarten, 'two-nation' island shared by Holland and France since 1645.

At just 37 square miles, St Maarten is quite unique with only a stone monument visible to indicate you have entered the French side. Setting off from the port, you’ll head through the Dutch side and the capital of Philipsburg, founded in 1763 by John Philips, a Scottish captain in the Dutch Navy.

Afterwards, you’ll drive to the other side of the island to experience the French ‘St. Martin’. A stop will be made at the small town of Marigot, the French capital. Enjoy some free time to browse the open-air market (when available), stroll along the waterfront or through the picturesque streets with their inviting pavement cafés and shops.

Back on the Dutch side on your return drive to Philipsburg, a photo stop will be made at the Coles Bay look out point for you to admire the surrounding views.

Essential information

This tour operates by bus. This tour involves limited walking, however passengers must be able to negotiate steps onto and off the bus. Walking in Marigot is at passengers’ discretion. Please be advised that shops in Marigot will be closed on Sunday calls. Some shops may also close during the afternoon siesta. Public toilet facilities are limited in Marigot, however local cafés and restaurants will allow use of their facilities upon purchase. Euro and US Dollar currency are accepted for purchases. Passengers who choose to remain in Philipsburg at the end of the tour will be responsible for making their own way back to the ship.

Airport Adventure and Swim

Activity medium

Duration: 3½ hours

Enjoy the famous St. Maarten ‘Airport Experience’ from the comfort and style of a fully equipped boat.

The Princess Juliana International Airport is one of the most popular attractions on the island of St Maarten, because it is one of few places in the world where you can come very close to planes landing and taking off! The airport runway is very short and finishes at Maho Bay, where you can experience very low-altitude landings and feel the tornadic take-offs.

Departing Philipsburg, you’ll take a scenic boat ride along the coast to Maho Bay, where your Captain will drop anchor and moor the boat just off the beach.

After a full information briefing, it’s time to watch the planes land close over your head, and there will be an opportunity to take a swim and snorkel in the designated snorkel area. An on board bar will available for you to purchase a refreshing drink or some tasty food.

To ensure you don’t miss any planes, flight arrivals and departures will be posted onboard and announced by the crew. All in all, you will be able to enjoy the number one attraction in St Maarten as a First Class Traveller!

Essential information

This excursion operates on foot and by boat and may not be exclusive to P&O Cruises. Please remember your swimwear, sunscreen and local currency or credit cards for purchases onboard. Please note that there is no access to the beach on this tour. Snorkel equipment and flotation devices are included. Please refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages prior to any swimming activities. Before you book this excursion, you must refer to the ‘Activity Excursion’ and ‘Beach / Water Related’ paragraphs under the Guide to Symbols in this brochure.

America's Cup Experience

Activity mediumRefreshments included

Duration: 2½ hours

An opportunity of a lifetime to experience the thrill of racing aboard a multi-million dollar America’s Cup race boat.

Prior to boarding the yachts, you’ll be divided into teams and given a brief introduction before tendering to the yachts.

Compete in an actual race around a shortened ‘America’s Cup’ course, under the watchful eyes of experienced crew as you participate in the thrill of sailing these fabulous yachts. Everyone is offered a small task and given instruction by the crew. No sailing experience is necessary. Then it’s time to practice on the way to the start. The team’s timekeeper counts down, and with the wave of a red flag from the committee boat, you’re off! Two classic thoroughbreds, nearly 70-feet long with masts the height of an 8 storey building, duel in an equal match for a fractional advantage.

At the end of your America’s Cup experience, enjoy a refreshment in the 12 metre regatta boutique.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by boat. Children under the age of 9 years cannot participate. There are no toilet facilities on board the racing yachts. All participants should wear soft-soled shoes. T-shirts and shorts over swimwear are recommended as sea spray is likely. Bags and belongings can be stowed below during the race.

Pilot Your Own Boat & Snorkel

Activity highRefreshments included

Duration: 3½ hours

Take charge of your very own 2-person motorboat. Follow your guide boat and enjoy the blue waters and coral reefs off St Maarten and St Martin.

Ever wanted to be the Captain of your own ship? Although, this time, it may not be a ship, you will instead command your very own 2-person motorboat on a thrilling aqua ride through St Maarten’s and St Martin’s crystal-clear waters.

After the safety briefing, you’ll set off on an exhilarating ride, following your expert guide along the picturesque coastline, stopping off at various points to swim or snorkel amid the brightly-coloured coral reefs.

Creole Rock is one of the highlight snorkelling stops. The reef is teeming with all manner of aquatic life including Sergeant Majors, Flounders, Tang, and Parrot Fish. If you’re really lucky, you may even see dolphins or turtles which often pay a visit to the reef themselves!

On your way back, you’ll call in at a lagoon famed for its expensive yachts and even more expensive luxury homes. All gear will be provided, so all you need to do is enjoy the ride!

Essential information

This tour will operate by minibus and on foot. The price of this excursion is ‘per boat’, which can accommodate 2 people; only one person need book a ticket. There is a combined weight restriction of 28 stone. This tour is not suitable for those with back or neck injuries or conditions, which may be affected by the bumpy ride. Pregnant women and children under 8 may not participate. Passengers should wear clothing and shoes suitable for wet conditions. Sunblock and sunglasses or goggles are recommended. Boat drivers must be over 18. Before you book this excursion you must refer to the ‘Activity Excursion’ and ‘Beach / Water Related’ paragraphs under the Guide to Symbols section of this brochure.

Pilot Your Own Boat & Snorkel

Catamaran Sailaway

Activity mediumRefreshments included

Duration: 4 hours

Step aboard the Golden Eagle catamaran and be whisked across the sparkling waters of the Caribbean.

Experience beautiful surroundings whilst lazing in the shade of the 63-foot tall sail en route to your beach location.

Make your way ashore and laze on a beautiful beach whilst soaking up some sun. Take a swim in a quiet cove or try your hand at snorkelling. Alternatively, you may prefer to simply immerse yourself in the crystal-clear waters or relax on the sand.

The sails will be set for your return cruise downwind. Enjoy the scenery accompanied by local music and a chilled beverage from the onboard bar. If you’re feeling peckish, you might like to indulge in a snack to round off your day on one of the most impressive catamarans in the Caribbean.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by catamaran. Children under the age of 4 may not participate. Snorkel equipment is included and participants must be competent swimmers. Passengers may be required to swim ashore to the beach. Please remember your swimwear, sunscreen and a towel. Depending on sea swells, an alternative anchorage may be used. The beach stop and snorkelling stop may take place at separate locations. Some nudity may be observed on beaches in St Maarten. Please refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages prior to any swimming activities. Comfortable non-slip shoes or water shoes are recommended. On occasions an alternative Catamaran to the ‘Golden Eagle’ may be used. The use of the sails is weather dependent.

 

A selection of cruises to St. Maarten

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