Port of call #1 – St. Maarten/St. Martin
This dual Dutch/French island has always intrigued me from afar…why, I am not entirely sure. Is it because the linguistic history of the two colonizing nations are so different? Is it because I admire the fact that the island has the same name on both sides of the “border”? I cannot say.
Little factoid: did you know that St. Maarten/St. Martin is the world’s smallest landmass governed by two nations with no marked border in between? (If you didn’t, now you do!)
As this was our first day of vacation, we opted to focus our efforts on relaxation and so we headed to Orient Beach (on the French side) to soak up the sun. It was an excellent choice. Gorgeous beach. Beautiful, temperate waters. Awesome people watching. While there, we sunned, we swam, we enjoyed refreshing beverages and we dined beach side.
I will happily pass on a great travel tip shared with me by someone who previously sailed on the same cruise: you can find a “bus stop” (perhaps minivan is a better description) just outside the port gates that offer you a lift to the beach for a few dollars (significantly less than the excursion offered by the ship). Once on the beach, lounge chairs/umbrellas will cost about $25 US (for the day) – but they are worth it. You can put your towel down in one area that is open to the public – but for us, comfort and some semblance of shade were must haves and we were willing to shell out for the privilege.
It was truly an idyllic day and a great way to start our vacation. Thanks St. Maarten/St. Martin!