Caribbean Cruise Ship Destinations

The islands of the Caribbean are located in a region southeast of the Gulf of Mexico and Northern America, east of Central America, and to the north of South America.

Tropical Weather

Atlantic

ALL CLEAR for cruisers

 

Eastern Pacific

ALL CLEAR for cruisers

St. Maarten Weather

St. Maarten News

St. Maarten Sees Record Cruise Traffic

posted January 6, 2014

The Port of St. Maarten saw nearly 33,000 more cruise passengers in 2013 than 2012, an astonishing growth over the previous year. Over 1.7 million passengers visited St. Maarten on a record number 631 cruise vessels. Read more...

Travel Advisory Issued for St. Maarten

posted Dec. 22, 2013

A travel warning has been issued for the Caribbean island of St. Maarten after ten cases of a mosquito-borne illness have been reported. Read more...

Need to know

Personal Safety

In recent years, street crime has increased. Valuables, including passports, left unattended on beaches, in cars and hotel lobbies are easy targets for theft, and visitors should leave valuables and personal papers secured in their stateroom safe.

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Hurricanes

St. Maarten/Sint Martin is situated in an area prone to hurricanes.  Rainy season is from May to November, and periodic hurricanes between June and November.

In the event of a tropical storm or hurricane alert, Shipdetective will post NWS updates and information for travelers on our Tropical Storm Update page

St. Maarten/Dutch Side

Medical care is generally good.   Hospitals have three classes of services i.e.:  

First Class. One patient to a room, air conditioning etc.

Second Class. Two to six patients to a room, no air conditioning

Third Class. 15 to 30 people in one hall. Patients are accommodated according to their level of insurance.

St. Maarten Medical Center

A relatively small hospital with 79 beds. General surgery is performed however complex cases are sent to Curacao.

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Getting around  

Local laws require drivers and passengers to wear seat belts and motorcyclists to wear helmets. Children under 4 years of age should be in child safety seats; children under 12 should ride in the back seat.

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Taxis

Taxis are ready and waiting at the piers. The cabs have no meters, but drivers must follow official rates for travel throughout the island. After 10 p.m., rates rise 25 percent, and after midnight, 50 percent. Make sure to negotiate your fare before you leave.

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As there are no meters, passengers should verify the price before entering the taxi. Fares quoted in U.S. dollars may be significantly higher than those quoted in the local currency. 

Vans are inexpensive and run non-stop during daytime with no fixed schedule. Each van has a specific route displayed in the front of the windshield. Buses, which run on the hour, have limited routes.  

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Ferry

From Marigot, St. Martin to Blowing Point, Anguilla, 20 minute crossing, half hour intervals 7:30am - 6:15pm.  

From Marigot, St. Martin to Blowing Point, Anguilla, 20 minute crossing, half hour intervals 7:30am - 6:15pm.

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ports > destinations > St. Maarten
 

Dutch St. Maarten

Use this link for French St. Martin

staff photo of st maarten at night

The island of St. Martin/St. Maarten is located about 180 miles southeast of Puerto Rico Part and is part of the Leeward Islands.

The cultivation of sugar cane introduced slavery to the island and the island flourished under a slave-based plantation economy and the exportation of salt until abolition of slavery in 1863. The island became a free port in 1939.

St. Maarten/St. Martin is the smallest island in the world divided between two sovereign powers. The island is split, the north side is French (Saint Martin), with Marigot as its capital. The south side is Dutch (Sint. Maarten), with Philipsburg as the capital and entry point for cruise passengers. The distribution of residents is about half on the Dutch side and half on the French side.

The Dutch side, Sint Maarten, has become a leading destination in the real estate market with more and more developments being constructed. There are high rise condominiums and waterfront communities, all of which are popular to buyers, especially American. Tourists on the streets are frequently approached by timeshare offers for them. The language on this side of the island is Dutch, but almost everyone speaks English.

Neighboring islands include Saint-Barthélemy (French), Anguilla (British), Saba (Dutch), Sint Eustatius "Statia" (Dutch), Saint Kitts and Nevis (Independent, formerly British). With the exception of Nevis, all of these islands are easily visible on a clear day from St. Maarten.

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Webcams

http://www.thevillasongreatbay.com/webcam.html

St. Maarten Island Guide Cruise Terminal webcam

Good to Know

Port of Entry

Large cruise ships enter on the Dutch side of St. Maarten at the Dr. A.C. Wathey Pier (1 mile from Philipsburg).

Time Zone

AST (UTC/GMT- 5)

Map Coordinates

18°01′25″N 63°02′45″W

st martin map

St. Maarten Map Source
 

st martin topographical map

Topographical map (source)

 

Average Temperatures

Water: 83º Summer - 79º Winter

Air: 85º Summer - 80º Winter

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Cruise companies visiting St. Maarten:

 AIDA Cruises, Carnival, Celebrity, Costa Crociere S.P.A., Cunard, Disney, Fred Olson Cruise Lines,  Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten, Holland America Line, Louis Cruise Lines, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Ponant Cruises, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Topaz International Cruises and Windstar Cruises. 

Things to do and see

Take a tour of the Island

Hire a cab for  a half day and visit Marigot, the  French capital of Sint Martin along with other notable points of interest describe below. You can hire a taxi at the information center at the pier.  Negotiate a fare and itinerary with your driver before you leave. We paid $30.00  per person, plus tip, (2014) to take a four hour ride around the island.  

Duty Free Shopping

Our pick for the best shopping in the Caribbean. Overall, selection is comparable to St. Thomas but prices are about 10-15% lower. One note to U.S. residents: keep in mind your duty allowance is greater in St. Thomas and Puerto Rico compared to other islands. Front street and Back street is the main shopping district.

Simpson Bay

St. Maarten is the top destinations for the outrages yachts of the super-rich. There are several 300' ships moored in the luxurious marinas, and no, these are not cruise ships but private boats. 

Maho Beach

Maho Beach at Saint Maarten, St. Maarten, Cruise port of call

It is famous for the Princess Juliana International Airport adjacent to the beach. Due to the unique proximity of low flying airliners, the location is very popular with plane spotters. This is one of the few places in the world where aircraft can be viewed in their flight path just outside the end of the runway.

Jet blast sign at Maho Beach in St. Maarten, cruise port of call and cruise destination

Watching airliners pass over the beach is such a popular activity that daily arrivals and departures airline timetables are displayed on a board in most bars and restaurants on the beach, and the Sunset Beach Bar and Grill has a speaker on its outside deck that broadcasts the radio transmissions between pilots and the airport's control tower. The beach itself is white sand and has little or no vegetation because of jet blast erosion. 

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Mullet Bay Beach

Good for snorkeling. Rip currents and strong waves at times so be careful. Good for surfers. Close to hotels at Maho Beach. Amenities.

Cupecoy Beach

Rocky with strong surf. Located near the French side line so this beach is clothing optional.

Water Sports

Sint Maarten offers sailing, surfing, windsurfing, jet-skiing, sea scooting, water-skiing, and parasailing.  

Fort Amsterdam

The fort was built by the Dutch in 1631. Located near Great Bay and Little Bay.

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Area Events

St. Maarten Summer Fest 

Annual event in July. Takes place at the newly constructed Festival Village in the Dutch side of St. Maarten. Latin, soca, jazz, reggae, R&B and gospel music. 

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