Best Excursions to do on a Carnival Cruise to St Maarten

Jason Daniel Shaw

Best Excursions to do on a Carnival Cruise to St. Maarten

Philipsburg – St. Maarten

The last stop on our Carnival cruise took us to St. Maarten. A small island that is shared by two countries (Netherlands – St. Martin and France – St. Maarten), it has some of the prettiest beaches that I have ever seen.  With white sand beaches and crystal clear turquoise waters, it is a definite must-visit in the Caribbean.

Airbus Final Approach A340 Maho Beach St Maarten

Arriving in St. Maarten

When you arrive in St. Maarten, you arrive near Philipsburg, the capital of the French side of the island.  It is a short taxi ride to town, where you will find shops, restaurants and beaches to keep you busy for a day if you don’t want to book an excursion.  The Dutch side is a 20-30 minute taxi ride as is the airport and the famous, Maho Beach.

Orient Beach Islands St. Martin

Excursion in St. Maarten

We decided to rent a car and drive around the island, exploring the beaches and of course spending some time at the famous Maho Beach.  Renting the car was easy as there was an Avis close to the airport.  We took a taxi there to pick it up and the pickup was simple.  Our first stop was at Baie Rouge (Red Bay) on the Dutch side where we basically had the beach to ourselves.  Driving past some of the marinas on the island showed us the devastation that remains, one year after the hurricane came through.  There are lots of big, beautiful boats that are half-sunk along with damage to many of the buildings.  

Orient Bay – St. Martin

We continued on to Marigot, the capital of the Dutch side.  Fort Louis overlooks the town so we drove up there to take some photos before heading to our next beach stop, Friar’s Bay.  Our last stop on the Dutch side was Orient Bay – one of the most incredible beaches that we visited.  There is a collection of sand bars and little islands that shelter the bay.  The sand is sugary-white and the water a brilliant turquoise.  I was able to fly the drone and capture the entire bay from the air.  It looks like it was hit pretty hard from the hurricane as there isn’t much left there and what is left is pretty badly destroyed.  

Maho Beach – St. Maarten

Finally, we made our way back to the French side and to Maho Beach, at the foot of Princess Juliana International Airport.  You may have seen photos from here as the beachgoers watch the planes fly just overhead on short final.  We arrived around lunch time which seems to be when the bigger planes start arriving and spent the rest of the day hanging out and watching the planes.  The largest plane of the day, the A340 from Paris, arrived and made me wish that I had seen the days of the 747s arriving here.

It was a great last stop and we were sad for our cruise to end but we still had a couple more days to explore San Juan before headed back home to Los Angeles.

Our Carnival Cruise

We were on the 7-day Southern Caribbean cruise aboard the Carnival Fascination (September 2, 2018 – September 9, 2018) out of San Juan visiting St. Thomas, Dominica, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Maarten and finally returning back to San Juan.  Click on any of the links above to find out more about what we did in each of our ports of call or visit my Instagram.

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