Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Celebrity Summit Day 6 - St Martin/St Maarten

license plates

Ron and I had been to St Martin once before but it was 19 years ago and we’d done a snorkeling tour that trip. This time I really wanted to see more of the island. After a little research, I found Bernard’s Tours, which had rave reviews on Cruise Critic and Trip Advisor. Mama and Daddy were interested in an island tour too so I signed us all up for the SXM Island Tour I. Here is the description from their website:
SXM Island Tour I
9:00 am - 1:30 pm
Sightseeing and Shopping - $40/pp | $5/pp Deposit
All tours depart from the Cruise Information Center
• Pickup at the cruise pier
• Iguana Farm (currently under construction until further notice)
• Stop at the French and Dutch border [2 mins]
• Brief stop at Oyster Pond overlooking the island of St Barths [5-10 mins]
• Photo opportunity at Orient hilltop
• Marigot - open market (French Capital) [60 mins]
• Maho Beach - see low flying planes [45 mins]
• Drive through Simpson Bay marina
• Harold Jack Hill (View of Simpson Marina, Airport & Anguilla)
• Return to Philipsburg depends on tour departure time; all guests will be returned in time to meet their ship's sail time.
We got off the ship at 8:30 and walked to Bernard’s check-in tent, just outside the port’s gates. There were a lot of people so it took a while for everyone to check-in, but most of the others seemed to be going on Tour II. Our group turned out to be just ten people. Our guide Simon was a careful driver and a good cat herder. As he drove, he told us all about the island’s history. I thought it was a fascinating island. St Martin is a two-country island – half French and half Dutch – and each country has its own government, power and water plants, even currency. The French side uses Euros while the Dutch side uses the Antillean gilder (although Simon said they may switch to the dollar in the next few years). The two countries even have different electrical standards, with the French side using 220 volts and the Dutch side using 110 volts. 

The first couple of stops were at scenic lookouts – Oyster Pond and Embouchure Bay. I was amazed at the color of the water in St Martin. It was such a beautiful shade of turquoise, definitely the prettiest water we’d seen on this cruise. But while St Lucia was lush and tropical, St Martin was a dry island like Aruba and Curacao. It always seemed funny to me to see cactus in the Caribbean. :-)

Oyster Pond

Embouchure Bay


In Marigot, the French side’s main town and capital, we had about an hour to explore on our own. We chose to spend most of it sampling the goodies at Sarafina’s French bakery. The pastries all looked delicious but it seemed a little early for sweets so Ron and I shared a slice of spinach quiche. Mama had an iced coffee and an apple tart. Yum!! Afterwards, we had a few minutes to walk around and get pictures of the waterfront and outdoor market.


Sarafina's bakery

pastries at Sarafina's

pastries at Sarafina's

Marigot open market

Our final stop was Maho Beach to see the planes landing over right over the water. It was neat seeing the planes, but watching the crazy people hanging onto the fence and getting sand blasted by jet wash was even more entertaining. :-)  We stayed at Maho Beach for about 45 minutes, long enough to have a mojito at the Sunset Bar and see three jets land. That was plenty of time for Mama, who was getting hot, but Daddy probably could have stayed there all day. He loved the planes. All in all, it was an excellent tour. I felt like we’d gotten a good overview of the island for a very reasonable price.

Maho Beach
Maho Beach

Maho Beach flight schedule

plane landing at Maho Beach

plane landing at Maho Beach

view of port

That night was the second formal night. We dressed up again but I noticed that only about half the people in the dining room had opted for suits and cocktail dresses this time. It was my favorite menu of the week and I had a hard time deciding what to order. I ended up getting scallops Rockefeller, kale salad and duck a l’orange. Mama and Daddy both chose lobster while Ron had Beef Wellington. Everything was delicious, but the service was SOOOOOO slow. It had been slow all week but that night dinner took over two hours, way too long. This was my only complaint about the cruise. If we could have made reservations, we could have requested a table in a quiet area, which was important because of Mama and Daddy’s hearing problems. Having to sit for two hours yelling at each other was frustrating for me and physically tiring for Mama and Daddy. And because we had a different wait staff every night, the service felt impersonal. But none of wanted to eat at the traditional dining times either. I was kind of bummed because having dinner in the main dining room is usually one of my favorite parts of a cruise.

When we finally got out of the dining room, Ron and I went to see the comedy show. The comedian, Jim Colliton, was hilarious. When he came out on stage, he was wearing a suit jacket and jeans. He said that when he tried to get ready for the show, he couldn’t find his suit pants so he called his wife and said, “You didn’t pack my pants!” And she said, “I don’t pack your stuff.” Boy, did that sound familiar! I’ll never forget the cruise where Ron didn’t pack his dress shoes and tried to blame me because I hadn’t told him he needed to pack shoes. :-)  The best comedy is always the kind you can relate to. To quote Dane Cook, “It is so true and that’s why it’s funny. Because it’s so true. Hence, funny.”

On our way back to the cabin, we stopped at the martini bar for “dessert” and to watch the talented bartenders.

Day 7 - St Thomas


  1. Day six already?!?! Only one day left? It goes by so quickly.

    1. That's the way it always is on vacation. All of sudden you're like, "What? It's over already?" :-)

  2. Great job, Susan! Wasn't it a wonderful cruise?