Disney Cruise Line and Its Ports of Call LIVE! Guidebook

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Making the Most of St. Maarten/St. Martin

Making the Most of St. Maarten/St. Martin

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GETTING THERE

Your ship docks at the Dr. AC Wathey Terminal in Philipsburg in Dutch St. Maarten, at the east end of Great Bay. Taxis and tour buses leave from the wharf, and a water taxi makes two stops along Front Street ($6 buys a pass good for unlimited trips, all day long). A beachfront promenade provides direct access to the beach and the shops, casinos, and restaurants of Front Street. It’s about a 10- to 15-minute walk to the near end of Front St., and about a half-mile (0.7 km) from one end of the shopping district to the other. The wharf hosts a tourist information booth. Disembarkation time is typically 7:45 am with an all-aboard time around 6:30 pm.

GETTING AROUND

As with many ports, the real pleasures are found outside of town. Most destinations are within a half-hour drive of Philipsburg, and a rental car is the way to get there. Research and book your rental in advance, as rates skyrocket for on-site rentals. All major agencies are represented, but only some have pierside offices. The island is really two rocky land masses. A pair of sand spits connects the roughly circular main bulk of the island with the small western portion, Terre Basses (the Lowlands). Between the sand spits is Simpson Bay Lagoon. The French side occupies 21 sq. miles (54 sq. km.) of the northern part of the island, the Dutch 16 sq. miles (41 sq. km.) of the south. A picturesque range of mountains runs north to south, further dividing the island. From Philipsburg, nearly every point of interest, including Marigot, can be reached by driving around the perimeter of the island. Taxis use a government-controlled rate chart. The base fare is for two persons, and each additional person costs about 1/3 the base fare. Sample fares from Philipsburg: Marigot, Orient Beach, Dawn Beach, Maho Resort, all $15; Grand Case, $20. An island tour is $50. Public buses travel between Philipsburg and Marigot. The fare is around $3, U.S. funds are accepted. Once you’re in Philipsburg, Marigot, or any other community, everything will be within walking distance.

STAYING SAFE

There’s nothing too unusual about staying safe on “The Friendly Island.” No place is crime-free, but St. Maarten does very well. Be wary when carrying parcels, of course. Don’t bring valuables to the beach. American and Canadian drivers will be happy, as the island follows U.S. driving practices (right-hand side), but beware of speed bumps through towns and resorts. The breeze may fool you into forgetting the sun—be sure to apply plenty of sunblock, especially if you’ll be more exposed than usual (if you catch our drift).

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Top Photo Slice: (℗ 53433) Photo contributed by © Jennifer Marx



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