Disney Cruise Line and Its Ports of Call LIVE! Guidebook

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Recommended Shore Excursions in St. Maarten

Recommended Shore Excursions in St. Maarten

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Of the 21 excursions offered by Disney Cruise Line at press time, here are our recommended port adventures for visitors to St. Maarten:

Low Budget: Several tours circumnavigate the island at an affordable price. Though Under 2 Flags Island Tour is cheapest  (SM06/SM39, $27/$19 ages 3-9), it includes a stop at Carousel Gelateria Bar. While pleasant, it's still a tourist trap—we think there are better ways to spend a half-hour in port. For a bit more, we feel St. Maarten Island and Butterfly Farm Tour (SM09, $45/$36 ages 3-9) is far more interesting.

Big Budget:  St. Maarten by Private Vehicle (SM40, $580) gives you four hours in a five passenger van with a driver/guide (more hours extra). Fill the van, do the normal island tour, but ask to stop at one of the more remote beaches—on a per-person basis, not extravagant at all! The Ultimate Charter Choice puts the Golden Eagle Catamaran at your disposal for four hours (SM28, $1,899, up to 9 guests, more guests or time is extra). Cruise around the island, drop anchor at a choice beach, snorkel, fish, or just laze about. Includes unlimited drinks and a nice sandwich.

Nature/Active: Other than the island tour that stops at Butterfly Farm (see Budget, above), it's hard to separate "nature" and "active" on this island, so we won't try. We favor other ports on the Eastern Caribbean itineraries for snorkeling and the like, but if you must, Golden Eagle Catamaran (SM03, $82/$46 ages 5-9) will take you to one of the better snorkel spots in an enjoyable manner. We much prefer Mountain Top Downhill Rainforest Trek (SM30, $69, ages 8 and up) because, well, we like the views and like to hike. For on-water excitement, Twelve Metre Regatta (SM04, $99, ages 12 and up) is hard to beat. There's just something about racing under sail....

Beach: Though the island has over 30 beaches, just one, Orient, hosts beach excursions. Read the descriptions, and take your pick based on the time allotted and amenities offered. Or go ultra-low budget and walk to the perfectly nice beach in Philipsburg.

Armchair Travelers: Though you'll change vehicles and have an hour allotted to strolling around Marigot, Island Drive & Explorer Cruise (SM05, $59/$34 ages 0-9) is our current pick for sightseeing tours. It gives you a bit more time in Marigot than most tours, and the placid cruise around Simpson Bay Lagoon is a restful bonus. If you'd rather not walk about, park yourself at one of Marina Royale's many outdoor cafés while you await the cruise.

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Top Photo Slice: (℗ 53432) Photo contributed by © Jennifer Marx


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