Disney Cruise Line and Its Ports of Call LIVE! Guidebook
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Playing in St. Maarten/St. Martin
Playing in St. Maarten/St. Martin
Great Bay Beach is a short walk from the ship along the beachfront promenade. The surf is gentle, and food and shopping are right behind you on Front Street. To the north, Orient Beach, with its long crescent of soft white sand and gentle surf, is called the “French Riviera of the Caribbean,” but it achieved fame as the island’s official nude beach. Beachfront restaurants and resorts have dressed the place up, but bathers at the south end of the beach are still very undressed (not that you have to be). Maho Beach, Mullet Bay, Cupecoy Beach, and Long Beach are way out west by the big resorts, past Juliana Airport (traffic can be brutal, so allow lots of time). All are very pleasant, with Maho offering full resort amenities. Other beaches include remote Rouge Beach (one of Dave’s favorites) and Grand Case Beach. Note: With the possible exception of Great Bay Beach, you’re likely to encounter European-style beach attire (topless women, men in thongs).
The brisk trade winds make the island very popular for sailing. For convenience, take one of several “shore” excursions described here. Excursions are also available near the marina in Philipsburg.
The island is a diner’s paradise, with fabulous French, Creole, Indian, Vietnamese, and Indonesian restaurants (and KFC). You’ll have no trouble finding a meal along Front Street in Philipsburg, but you’ll do better in “France.” In Marigot, head toward charming Port la Royale Marina, which is encircled by more than a half-dozen bustling bistros. Or choose one of the many spots by the waterfront offering French and Creole specials. Many restaurants automatically include a 15% service charge (tip), so watch that bill carefully before you tip.
Twelve casinos dot the Dutch side. Four are within walking distance of the wharf, on Front Street in Philipsburg. The largest (and most elegant) casino is the Princess Casino at Port de Plaisance.
The luxury goods shops on both sides of the island present a staggering array of French perfumes and cosmetics, crystal, fine porcelain, jewelry, clothing, liquors, and wines. Philipsburg offers many of the French brands you’ll find in Marigot at equal or lower prices, but somehow it feels better to shop in Marigot. The huge Little Switzerland luxury goods chain has shops in Philipsburg and Marigot. Cigar fans can find good Cubans, but be sure to smoke them before you arrive back home.
Top Photo Slice: (℗ 53430) Photo contributed by © Jennifer Marx
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