Exploring 2 Cultures, Gorgeous Beaches + Emergency Room Adventures! The Caribbean awaits!
Imagine the trip of a lifetime, exploring gorgeous beaches at each cruise port, and then a visit to the cruise line’s emergency room, and being pushed in a wheelchair along the promenade, longingly looking at the beach! That is our experience.
Our very first cruise was the Eastern Caribbean. In fact, my husband had never desired to go on a cruise because he worried about seasickness. But one of our sons and our daughter-in-law gifted my husband and I our very first cruise, and that began our travels on the ocean, and we have not looked back!
Let me tell you about two different cultures on the Eastern Caribbean island of St. Maarten, as the island is split between the Dutch (St. Maarten) and the French (St. Martin) influences in the food, architecture, and cafés. St. Thomas is the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands and is, as such, more American than most Caribbean islands.
Both St. Thomas and St. Maarten are paradise for beach lovers. You can return again and again, as most cruisers do, and each time you’ll find a new beach to love.
My husband and I had a wonderful time on St. Thomas and loved the blue turquoise, the enchantment of the language, and the happiness of the people.
After a while of lying on the beach soaking up the sun and the ocean vibes, my husband decided he wanted to explore, so went to nearby rocks along the shoreline.
Not too long afterwards he returned limping with a gashed big toe! It looked terrible. He had stepped into a clearing of sand but found out too late that the sand clearing was actually a deeper hole of rocks.
Thankfully the excursion we were on was organized by the cruise line and they helped escort us back to the boat and to the emergency room, where all expenses were paid for. (So, I always highly recommend booking excursions through the cruise line so you are covered when emergencies happen on those excursions.)
The next stop on the cruise was St. Maarten and we longingly looked at the beaches from the promenade as I pushed my husband in a wheelchair. We decided then and there we would definitely go back so we could truly enjoy St. Maarten! One word of advice: If you go walking along the beaches, be sure to wear water-shoes!
About St. Maarten
St. Maarten is busier than ever, as many cruise lines stop at Philipsburg with their biggest ships. (Sometimes there are 6 ships in port at one time.) Shopping and beaches serve as the primary attractions.
That means with more shopping choices there are better deals, but also more people.
"St. Maarten, like many other Caribbean islands, was spotted by Christopher Columbus in 1493. But the island's real history began with French and Dutch settlers who divided the island in 1648. The French and the Dutch have lived side-by-side ever since. St. Maarten, governed by the Netherlands Antilles until 2010, is now a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (along with Aruba, Curacao and the Netherlands), while St. Martin is part of the French West Indies. It is so fun to easily go back and forth between the Dutch side and the French side, to enjoy the best of both worlds."
What is even more exciting for my husband and I, is that we are fluent in Afrikaans, a derivative of Dutch, so we easily understood the people when they spoke in Dutch. Sometimes it was fun not letting them know we understood 😊
Spend the day at one of the famous beaches, Maho Beach. The beach is beautiful. A white sandy beach with turquoise waters. Maho Beach is a beach on the Dutch side of the Caribbean island of St Martin. It is famous for being adjacent to the Princess Juliana International Airport and is a popular site for tourists and plane watchers, who visit the beach to watch aircraft on final approach landing at the airport.
One traveler said the following about Maho Beach: “Awesome beach experience! What an experience! Come for the afternoon to watch international fights fly in over the beach. Such a cool sight to see and surprisingly not too noisy. The beach is quite narrow so it fills up quickly. There is a large beach bar next door with tons of seating and perfect views of the water. Maho beach is a must do when visiting St. Maarten!”
Another traveler remarked:” Great beach - just make sure you have the plane schedules. Love Maho Beach. It's fun to watch the large planes landing like the giant KLM 747. The KLM only lands 3 times a week and usually arrives earlier then scheduled. Installing an App on your phone Like Flight Aware that can track flights is helpful.”
Cruise Lines Who Sail To St. Thomas, & St. Maarten, Caribbean:
(This is not an all-inclusive list, just some of the more well-known cruise lines) Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise Line, Windstar Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Holland America Line
Make travelling easy and unforgettable by collecting souvenirs along the way. Display your gorgeous souvenirs on an elegant, sturdy tiered-tray. You’ll be the envy of all your guests as you share with them memories and adventures from your travels. Your souvenirs will be luxuriously displayed, just waiting for the next souvenir to join them!
Your cruise squad will want one too, and then you'll have matching luxurious displays as a memory of all your adventures together! Enjoy!