Port of call: Philipsburg, St. Maarten

Gazing down at the calm, clear blue waters of the Caribbean

Gazing down at the calm, clear blue waters of the Caribbean

How wonderful to wake up to yet another beautiful, sunny day.  We slept a bit late today but rose in time to watch as the captain pulled the ship into port with ease.  Eventually we made our way up to the Windjammer Café for a light breakfast before heading for the pier.

Entering the port of Phillipsburg, St. Maarten.

Entering the port of Philipsburg, St. Maarten.

We visited St. Maarten several times and always enjoyed visiting Orient Beach.  Randy had visited the French side of the island several years before we met, so we decided to catch a cab over to St. Martin.

Marina Port la Royale

Waterfront at Port la Royale on the French side of the island (Marigot, St. Martin)

We were fortunate to catch a van outside the port with five other travelers.  Before long we were on our way to the capital of the French side of the island, St. Martin, Marigot.  There were six ships in port today so the traffic on the road was very crowded.  Fortunately, our driver knew a great deal about shortcuts and delivered us to Marigot within a short amount of time.

Marina Port la Royale

Marina Port la Royale

There were some spectacular sights of the bay on our way to the French side but, because we were in a taxi there was no stopping for photos.  We arrived in a section of Marigot that was a concentration of small sidewalk cafes along the waterfront and a small outdoor market.


The Marigot Market was filled with small stalls with local residents selling all manner of wonderful spices, meats, fresh fish, rums and handcrafted items.  What caught my eye was this beautiful stone statue, erected by sculptor Martin Lynn, commemorating the black female market sellers.  There was a wonderful poem, The Market, on a stone tablet that told the story of the market that I really enjoyed reading. The following is the first stanza of the poem.

The Market

Many souls, thousands ten thousands have trodden

Through my open air gallery.

Fish, fowl and beast are my treats.

Selling, purchasing, the exchange of coins is like music to my ears.

I am the Market in splendid beauty, color and sound.

I reign.

I am the Market…



DSC02828We continued walking and saw several frescos painted on several walls opposite the market by local artist Chance Damien depicting the many activities in and around the market.  We then made our way to a small indoor, high-end mall that was obviously not doing well as a number of storefronts were empty.


L'Arhawak Bay Restaurant Glacier

L’Arhawak Bay Restaurant Glacier

In our travels around the waterfront we passed many cafés and decided to stop and have a bite before returning to the ship.  I was dismayed to find that what I had built up in my mind was not at all what I found.  I expected small French cafes with menus filled will French pastries and specialty coffees were actually restaurants with typical tourist fare of pizza, sandwich, hamburgers and hot dogs.


DSC02834After stopping and reading the menus of several cafes, we stopped at the L’arhawak Bay Restaurant Glacier because they offered strawberry jam crêpes.  The  crêpe was very sweet and very good.

There was a fort within walking distance but upon exploring how far we had to walk up to the fort I decided it would be too taxing while I was recovering from a bout of pneumonia.


Soon after lunch we caught a cab back to the port and walked around a bit and found a magnet for Kristine that showed both sides of the island then stopped by Sharkey’s for a Caribe beer before going back to the ship.  We both love watching all the tourists as they walk by taking pictures, laughing and carrying prized possessions back to the ship.


DSC02863bOnce back on the ship we headed back to the cabin for a short rest, shower and then get ready for dinner.  Dinner was delicious as always.  I really enjoyed the chilled honeydew and melon soup and the arugula, a Bosc pear salad and two Angus beef sliders on a tomato brioche with steak fries and tarragon aïoli.  All choices were light and refreshing


The entertainment for the evening was FREEDOM-ICE.COM.  Randy and I saw this show several years ago on the Oasis and loved it, so we decided to go again.  What a treat!  The skaters were wonderful, the costumes was colorful, and the musical numbers just plain fun.


DSC02871bDSC02874We stopped by the Schooner Lounge for a drink and played 70s trivia.  We played terribly I am afraid to say.  Then we stopped by the promenade to see what was happening at the “Dancing in the Street” 70’s party.  Some passengers actually brought 70’s era costumes aboard and looked great.  High above the promenade was Alex The Lion from Madagascar leading the dancing.  The music and dancing was fun but we were tired and, so we headed back to our cabin and a good night’s sleep.

Tomorrow we are at sea.



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8 Responses to Port of call: Philipsburg, St. Maarten

  1. Patty Hagan says:

    Love the photos of Marigot! Reminded me of being there in February 2009 with a group of 28 people (including Dotti, Lowell, and Mary Thibault) on 4 sailboats. Beautiful place and lovely people! It must be asked … did Randy go to the nude beach at Orient Beach or one of the others : – ) ? The traffic is amazingly bad on the island even when there aren’t cruise ships in port! Enjoy the rest of your cruise!

    • Dotti McKee says:

      Does bring back fond memories of when we were there! While you were thinking of little French cafes with petite pastries, great cheeses, French breads, chocolate’ and specialty coffees, I was there. Just returned from the beautiful vineyards and medieval villages of western France. You two are the King and Queen of cruisezin’ and it’s fun to read about your neat experiences.

      • Dear Dottie–We will be in France in October of this year. Hope to stop by at least one sidewalk café while we are there. Glad you stopped by and left some words. Mary

    • Hi, Patty–Actually, Randy did go to the nude beach many years ago with a friend. He can’t remember the name of the beach but definitely remembers the name of the young lady that he and Jack were flirting with the day on the beach. Because of the flirting, he got sunburned where he should not have had a sunburned and was miserable for a few days. This episode was before we met. Too funny. Mary

  2. Pingback: Port of call: Philipsburg, St. Maarten

  3. Randy says:

    No nude beaches this cruise!!!!!

  4. Connie says:

    Good to know you finally found a sweet pastry to try. Connie and Ron

  5. Pingback: Quiet day at St. Maarten | The Delicious Divas

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