When we went in 2000 we had to tender in. They said they were in the process of getting another pier build as one had been destroyed in Hurricane Luis, but who knows. The tender ride was a bouncy one too! :-)
St. Martin has a brand new pier built just outside town in the Great Harbor. It has space for 4 ships. There is of course the possibility of more ships than that being there at one time leaving a need to tender , but, odds are you will not have to do so.
We were in St. Maarten in Sept. last year..............did not need to tender. There was a brand new pier. We got off the ship and walked over to the pier and got a boat over to shore. About a 2 min. ride. Not at all bouncy like the tender in Grand Cayman!
Have fun! Check out the jewelery shops in St. Maarten, great deals!
We went on a sail boat(excursion), now that was bouncy! But we went to a GORGEOUS beach for snorleking.
We were also there earlier this year and did not have to tender. The new pier is very nice, sure beats having to tender. Like another poster mentioned, if there are too many ships there the day you are, its always possible that someone will have to, hopefully you will know ahead of time.
We just sailed the Victory Dec. 1 - 8, 2002. We did NOT tender at St. Maarten (St. Martin). The Victory docked at the new pier on the Dutch side of the island. However, there were several cruise ships already in port when we arrived. (Two ships were tendered.) While we had no problem getting a taxi at the pier, the beach we visited on the French side of the island was crowded. The Victory docked late morning about 11 AM. I wished that the Victory docked much earlier in the morning so we had more time at the beach at St. Martin.
Ecstasy, Dec. '98
Imagination, Dec. '99
Fascination, Dec. '00
Destiny, May '01
Destiny, Dec. '01
Victory, Dec. '02
Will sail Conquest, Dec. '03