Our family leaves on its first cruise on Carnival a month from today! Our kids are ages 19, 15 and 12. Does anyone have any ideas of things to do while we are on St. Maarten. Is it hard to get around on your own? We'd like to experience a nice beach, maybe some snorkeling, and of course some shopping. I'd rather not book any excursions as it gets really expensive for 5 of us.
There is some decent shopping close to the pier, you can walk through town, its easy. One trip there we took a cab to Orient beach, lots of water activities, but I re-call the snorkeling wasn't that good there. On our last trip we did an excursion, the "Rhino" boats and it was a gas, the kids would love it and 2 people are in a boat, you may possibly get 3??? We did have to book that through the cruiseline, but when you got to the secluded beach, you had time to swim, snorkel (they provided all the snorkel equipment) or just relax on the beach or your boat, it was a lot of fun and a different way to see parts of St. Maarten. On the way out of the harbor, you had to boat through an area where there were lots of very large yachts, it was just un-believeable.
There is a $5/pp water taxi into downtown Phillipsburg from the pier (you get a bracelet and can ride around on the water taxi an unlimited amount of times that day, for the $5/pp)
Once there, there is great shopping (cheaper than any of the other islands for t-shirts I've found!) and abundant cabs willing to take you wherever you want.
Unfortunately both times in St. Maarten I have wandered around downtown Phillipsburg, and not gotten to go anywhere else. I think Dawn Beach looks great, and everyone of course raves about Orient Beach.
Orient Beach is great, but it takes a cab ride to get there. Also, you might want to prepare the teens for the facts that people and laws there are more relaxed about nudity on the beach. So you may see more than you bargained for....