Caribbean Princess, Part 7
Wednesday, May 31, St. Maarten/St. Martin
One of the first things we saw upon awakening this morning in beautiful St. Maarten, was the Carnival Glory, which we had last seen leaving St. Thomas. She is a beautiful ship, and the twin sister of our favourite Carnival ship so far, the Valor.
We were up and out early for our shore excursion, called the "Rendevous Beach Excursion in Orient Bay". On the pier, after another quick and effortless disembarkation, we met up with our guide for the day, Sami from the U.K., a transplanted Brit who now makes her home in St. Maarten.
On the comfortable, air conditioned bus ride through Dutch Phillipsburg and over to the French side of the island, Sami kept us entertained with all the historical facts, and points of interest along the way. One of the things we noticed about St.Maarten/St. Martin, was that there seemed to be no middle class; just extreme poverty or extravagent wealth.
On our arrival in Orient Bay, we were greeted with a complimentary rum punch, and the most magnificent view of the turquoise sea, and lush vegetation.
The sea was quite active at this beach, and we were surprised to see the waves crashing into shore, as the other beaches we had seen in St. Thomas and St. Maarten had been calm bays. I managed to get knocked over into the surf on more than one occasion, and had my nose and sinuses thoroughly cleaned out with salt and sand!
It was a clear, hot, sunny day, absolutely beach - perfect! On the beach, at our disposal, were comfortable lounge chairs, and shade umbrellas could be rented for $3. We did rent one, because it was very hot, but we spent most of our time in the warm water (84F), completely happy and relaxed, floating about in the undulating waves.
As you may know, Orient Beach, or at least part of it, is known as a nudist beach, and we were advised by our guide Sami that we may see the occasional nudist stolling down to our end of the beach. We did see a few topless women, and one very tanned man wearing a miniscule thong, but for the most part, the nudists we saw were not really something you would want to look at.
At lunchtime, we went up the outdoor terrace restaurant, with a seating area either under a roof in the shade, or under dense foliage in the shade. It was here, that James met his first ever Pirate!
Lunch was included in this excursion, and the all-you-can-eat BBQ ribs, chicken and fish were delicious, served with a choice of baked potatoes, rice, and salad and another complimentary drink. Afterwards, I treated myself to another Bailey's Bushwacker from the bar; it was almost as good as the one in St. Thomas!
After lunch, we had another hour or so to spend in the water, and we enjoyed every minute of it, but as always, I was thinking of CruiseMates, wanting to share this beautiful beach day with all of you!
It was very, very hard to drag myself out of the water for the return bus trip. Days like this I wish could go on forever!
Back at the pier, I did a little shopping, then we headed for our favourite spot, the Happy Hours kiosk for the best frozen Margaritas!
We took our drinks, and sat at a little umbrella table for almost 2 hours, enjoying the view, the the sun, the drinks, the music, and watching the many passengers returning to the Caribbean Princess and the Carnival Glory. We did not want to leave! Sadly, eventually we did have to head back around 4 p.m., but what wonderful memories we have of St. Maarten!