When cruising the Caribbean, the island of Sint Maarten is one of those places where the well-deserved reputation for beauty and glamour precedes it.
Where is Sint Maarten?
Sint Maarten is a popular cruise ship destination in a string of islands called the Lesser Antilles, with many ships visiting the capital city of Philipsburg. It’s located on the eastern Caribbean island of Saint Martin. The island is split 60/40 between the northern French side, Saint Martin, and the southern Dutch side, Sint Maarten. The island has been, at various points, under Dutch, French, and then Spanish control. A 1648 treaty established the Dutch and French arrangement after the Spanish gave it up. The island has a long history of cotton, tobacco, and sugar plantations. Slavery was outlawed across the island in the mid- to late-1800s. After that, it took a real economic hit and didn’t really recover until tourism picked up in the post-WWII era.
Today, most people might recognize photos of Sint Mararten for the low-flying planes over Maho Beach into Princess Juliana International Airport. Popular attractions for tourists include beaches, high end shopping, and casino gaming. It’s frequently visited by guests from Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, and Princess cruise lines.
What’s it Like There?
Sint Maarten has a tropical climate, and the weather is warm and sunny nearly every day. Temps generally get no lower than the mid-70s, and reach the high 80s year-round. The greatest amount of rain falls from August through November, and the island may be affected by hurricanes (June-November).
Which Cruise Lines Go There?
Cruises that dock in Sint Maarten often leave from Fort Lauderdale, New York, Boston, Barbados or San Juan, and last one or two weeks in length. The island is visited by passengers from Princess, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian, and Disney cruise lines.
Popular Cruise Ship Excursions in Sint Maarten
Visitors to Sint Maarten are often struck by the beauty of the island as well as how compact it is.
- The beaches in Sint Maarten are legendary for their blue waters. Many have beachside bars for light fare and drinks. Some on the Dutch side are nude beaches so be prepared for that if you’re heading off the beaten path to an unfamiliar spot.
- Take a catamaran ride for a seaside tour of the country, with gorgeous views and the chance to swim, snorkel or dive. Bus tours frequently criss-cross the island, including French beaches, bars, and shopping areas like Marigot on their itineraries, too.
- Shoppers in Philipsburg can find upscale art, jewelry, clothes, and more for sale. Visitors can also hop aboard a local tourist trolley for a tour of city landmarks.
- Adventure tours may include ziplining, ATVs or horseback riding.
- Orient Beach, on the French side of the island, is a particular favorite excursion for visitors to Sint Maarten. It’s a quick bus ride and excursions usually include lunch.
For more information about all the wonderful things to see and do in Sint Maarten, visit the country’s official tourism website: https://www.st-maarten.com/