We spent Day 5 of our cruise in Philipsburg, St. Maarten. We visited St. Maarten on our honeymoon on the Freedom of the Seas in 2011, so we decided to enjoy a delicious breakfast in the dining room that morning and take our time getting off the ship. We didn’t have any plans except to walk around town and explore.
While eating breakfast, a security drill for the crew and staff took place. I guess the ship thought most everyone was off on the island, but when the alarms sounded, many of us in the dining room actually thought something was wrong. The servers reassured us that it was a drill, then the cruise director came over the speaker and stated that it was.
It was a crazy breakfast interruption, but at least everything was okay. Hopefully this will be the only time we see Royal Caribbean’s lifeboats in use.
After leaving the ship, we walked downtown. You can take a water taxi, but the walk is pretty easy and fast- you just take a left leaving the cruise port area. It’s maybe about a mile of walking, not bad at all.
When walking, we saw another landmark that reminded us of Charleston- a potential mate for the Coburg Cow back home in West Ashley. Here’s the St. Maarten cow.
And… here’s the Coburg Cow.
The cows would make a cute couple, but it’s a pretty long distance relationship. I saw this directional sign and had to take a picture since Charleston was on it.
There’s a Star Wars museum in St. Maarten, so we headed there first. It’s called the Yoda Guy Movie Exhibit. It’s kinda quirky, but it was fun to walk through. I’m really not a sci-fi fan, but at least I can say I went. Clay enjoyed it and it’s highly recommended by the cruise lines, so if you’re into Star Wars, check it out.
We also stopped at a beachside bar and grill so Clay could try a local beer, the Presidente. I’m not really a beer drinker, but for $6, I couldn’t pass up a Mudslide. It was a lot less alcoholic than the chocolate margarita I had in Puerto Rico, which is a good thing since I’m a lightweight, and the drink was really refreshing. I don’t drink often, but when I do, I go for drinks that are basically alcoholic milkshakes.
If you’re in St. Maarten and want a beach day, I highly recommend walking downtown and purchasing the two chairs + umbrella + drinks + showers from one of the beachside bars. For $20-30, depending on the bar’s prices and how much food and drinks you want, you have a cheap beach day with a server looking after you. If you want to drink at all (even only have 1-2 at a time), you’re almost better off doing it this way.
The beach “packages” also provide bathroom access, which is apparently a hot commodity in St. Maarten. We saw signs like this, and you had to put coins into the stall doors to get into the bathroom. I’ve never a pay toilet in the US or any other cruise port I’ve visited.
Aside from the Star Wars museum and enjoying the beach and drinks, we did some shopping at Del Sol and a few other stores. We didn’t buy much, just some t-shirts and some color changing hair clips (everything in Del Sol changes color when you expose it to sunlight). There were 5 ships in port that day, so we talked to other cruisers and also took some pictures in the “stick your face in the hole” photo opportunities.
When we got back on the ship, we ordered some room service food, napped, and hung out until dinner. I *think* I had Greek moussaka for dinner that night and I can’t remember what Clay had, but we got semi-dressed-up and took another cute picture.
St. Maarten was also 70s disco night, so we went to the Disco Party on the Promenade Deck after dinner. The party was neat, with lots of 70s music playing, dancing, and the cruise director staff throwing out t-shirts and flashing rings. Side note: it amazes me what crazy things adults will do to get the cruise director to throw them a t-shirt.
A few other cruisers researched this before going on the ship and showed up in full disco attire too. It’s a neat party, but if you miss it, it plays on the cruise ship’s TV channel for the rest of the week.
After dinner and the party, we came back to the room to find our towel animal for the night. Our room steward even threw in a few props! We got some shut-eye so we could enjoy the next two days at sea.