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.
ALL CLEAR for cruisers
ALL CLEAR for cruisers
St. Martin News
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
St. Maarten/St. 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.
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.
Burglary and break-ins are increasingly common at resorts, beach houses and hotels. Armed robbery occasionally occurs.
The American boating community has reported a handful of incidents in the past, and visitors are urged to exercise reasonable caution in securing boats and belongings.
Car theft, especially of rental vehicles for joy riding and stripping, can occur.
Incidents of break-ins to rental cars to steal personal items have been reported by American tourists.
Vehicle leases or rentals may not be fully covered by local insurance when a vehicle is stolen. Be sure you are sufficiently insured when renting vehicles and jet skis.
St. Martin/French Side
Good medical care is available throughout the French West Indies. Not all doctors speak or understand English.
Hyperbaric chambers are available in Guadeloupe at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in Abymes, and, in Martinique at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in Fort de France, Website
The roads in the French West Indies are the best in the Eastern Caribbean. Roads are well paved and well maintained. Main roads are well marked; secondary roads and tourist sites are adequately marked. Excellent maps are available and local residents are helpful, especially if greeted in a friendly manner. Both Martinique and Guadeloupe have expressways.
Traffic safety is enforced by the police. Night driving can be dangerous, especially in the mountains and on winding rural roads. Public transportation in the form of taxis, vans, and buses is relatively safe. For specific information concerning French West Indies driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance. Get more information at the French National Tourist Organization website.
ports > destinations > St Martin
French St. Martin
The island of St. Maarten/St. Martin, is located about 180 miles southeast of Puerto Rico Part and is part of the Leeward Islands.
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.
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.
Saint Martin is known for its nude beaches, clothes, shopping (including outdoor markets), and rich French and Indian Caribbean cuisine.
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).
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.
AST (GMT/UTC -4)
St. Maarten Map Source
St. Martin Topographical map Source
Water: 83º Summer - 78º Winter
Air: 86º Summer - 80º Winter
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.
Clothing optional. Enough said.
Le Galion Beach
Family friendly, this laid back beach is surrounded by a coral reef that serves as a protection, providing calm and shallow waters. Watersports and food vendors available. Located southeast of Orient Bay.
Overlooking Marigot Bay and with views across to Anguilla, Fort Louis was built in 1789 by the people of Marigot under the command of Jean Sébastien de Durat, then governor of Saint Martin and Saint Barths on behalf of the French Crown. The primary purpose of the fort was to defend the warehouses at Marigot port, where produce such as salt, coffee, sugar cane and rum was stored. Subsequently abandoned, Fort Louis fell into ruins. The fort has been going through a restoration and redevelopment process since 1993.
Old Prison, Marigot
Located down a narrow alleyway that leads up to Fort Louis, the prison was built at the same time as the Fort. Prisoners were detained here until 1968, at which time the prison was transformed into the Saint Martin fire station. There is currently no prison on the French side of Saint Martin and prisoners are detained in Guadeloupe’s Basse-Terre prison.
Built at the same period as Fort Louis and Marigot prison, Durat Bridge, which was built in 1789, it is a stone bridge on the edge of Marigot in the direction of Grand Case.
Highest point on the island.
Located at the foot of Pic Paradis, this former sugar plantation provides a striking contrast with the rest of the island and is now a nature preserve. Offers spectacular views of Pic Paradis from the Tree Lounge. Zip-line forest adventure. Luxury Cabanas available for daily rent.
The Butterfly Farm is the first of its kind in the Caribbean.
Hundreds of butterflies from
all four corners of the world make their home in this stunning
tropical garden complete with small waterfall and pools filled with Japanese
Open 7 days a week, from 9am to 3:30pm. The Butterfly Farm - Route du Galion - 0590 87 31 21.
Hope Estate Archaeological Site
Remains of an Arawak Village.
Shopping on St Maarten and Saint Martin offers duty-free goods in numerous boutiques. Popular goods include local crafts & arts, exotic foods, jewelry, liquor, tobacco, leather goods, as well as most designer goods. Most often the designer goods are offered at significant discounts, often up to 40% lower than US retail prices.