Our first Disney cruise! Question about St. Maarten!

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#2
1,103 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
We enjoyed Maho Beach. It is next to the airport. The planes fly right over you. It was a fun experience. There are utube videos showing the planes going over the beach. The flight schedule is posted at the bar. Be advised a lot of beaches are topless.
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Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover. -Mark Twain
#4
Maryland
817 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
Highly recommend Le Galion. It is near orient beach but super relaxed. Their is a small beachside restaurant with food/ drinks and bathrooms.

Mostly locals so no vendors hawking stuff at you. Spent the day there back in August. Loved it.
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Ashley
#5
Hawaii
28 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
I second the maho beach suggestion. Be advised if you rent a car on the island, the traffic is terrible on cruise ship days so allow more then plenty of time for the commute back to port.
#6
Not on the water.
579 Posts
Joined Jun 2013
We enjoy Great Bay, which is right along downtown Philipsburg. We enjoy the cultural elements of places we go, and downtown Philipsburg has a very European feel to it with the shops and eateries. There are many little eateries and tiki bars along Great Bay that will rent you chairs. Many have chairs, umbrella and a bucket of beer for cheap ($20 I think). The beach and water are great.

My vote go's for Great Bay when you take the ferry across to Philipsburg. I am probably in the minority. It's convenient.
#7
DCA
1,163 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
I'll add St Maarten isn't known for it's bathroom facilities.
We loved Maho too. I will point out that the beach/sand at Maho seems to migrate. At times it's large and sandy with calm waves. Other times not so calm, and at times is mostly rocks. IME. Yet next visit the sand is back. Weird. Still worth the visit BTW.

We have been to Mullet Bay too. This is a nice uncrowded crescent beach just north of Maho. You can still see the planes on approach till 200 -300 feet altitude at 1/2 - 1 mile distance to the south. Noise not an issue from aircraft fwiw. We were on the south side of the beach. Snorkeling slightly below average on the south side along the rocks for a well traveled snorkeler, but still satisfying for the novice. But the bathroom was a porta potty. Worked fine for us. The bathroom facilities also makes you appreciate DCL bathrooms once back aboard. Bar and grill with drink and food. Umbrellas and chairs for a nominal fee. We've had calm seas during our visits to all beaches on St Maarten. Max wave height 1.5 feet.

However, I will add any beach can have unusually large waves given the weather and Mother Nature's fury lately.

Mullet Bay; very unusually wave heights,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abZm5vCPIbM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgJ3ZeMBqC0

Of course this can occur at any beach, at anytime, so don't fret, and go with the flow.

I would not allow my kids to swim in Great Bay fwiw. Polluted possibly. Goggle it. Healthy adults, perhaps. But why risk it when a 20 minute taxi can get you to a beautiful crescent clean beach with poor bathrooms.

HTH
#8
Not on the water.
579 Posts
Joined Jun 2013
Originally posted by bear3412
I'll add St Maarten isn't known for it's bathroom facilities.
We loved Maho too. I will point out that the beach/sand at Maho seems to migrate. At times it's large and sandy with calm waves. Other times not so calm, and at times is mostly rocks. IME. Yet next visit the sand is back. Weird. Still worth the visit BTW.

We have been to Mullet Bay too. This is a nice uncrowded crescent beach just north of Maho. You can still see the planes on approach till 200 -300 feet altitude at 1/2 - 1 mile distance to the south. Noise not an issue from aircraft fwiw. We were on the south side of the beach. Snorkeling slightly below average on the south side along the rocks for a well traveled snorkeler, but still satisfying for the novice. But the bathroom was a porta potty. Worked fine for us. The bathroom facilities also makes you appreciate DCL bathrooms once back aboard. Bar and grill with drink and food. Umbrellas and chairs for a nominal fee. We've had calm seas during our visits to all beaches on St Maarten. Max wave height 1.5 feet.

However, I will add any beach can have unusually large waves given the weather and Mother Nature's fury lately.

Mullet Bay; very unusually wave heights,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abZm5vCPIbM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgJ3ZeMBqC0

Of course this can occur at any beach, at anytime, so don't fret, and go with the flow.

I would not allow my kids to swim in Great Bay fwiw. Polluted possibly. Goggle it. Healthy adults, perhaps. But why risk it when a 20 minute taxi can get you to a beautiful crescent clean beach with poor bathrooms.

HTH
The water looked fine. Nothing fishy there at all. I never saw anything that looked like pollution, or smelled funny on two trips there. I googled it and not sure what to think, because my experience doesn't coincide. Mentioning the bathrooms, there are many places to go around there. I just think the atmosphere is fabulous around there. I can't understand why people get to a new location and travel to tourist thronged beaches a half hour away. The town of Philipsburg though kind of touristy, is a must experience in my opinion. My kids loved that area.

On the second trip there, we drove to Maho. Its a small little beach that is neat because the plane fly's close over head. Ok, but that's it.

We also visited the French side. Now that was some dirty, polluted water.

The other remote beaches, you can experience a week in Southwest Florida and get a similar experience. Its just a beach.

I think experiencing the culture and getting a little beach time is the best.

In my opinion. So I definitely don't know what all that is about. I don't blame people for being concerned, but I don't see anybody from dying from a hour or two swimming there.
#9
DCA
1,163 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Originally posted by DreamingBig1
The water looked fine.
My post was not directed at your PP fwiw. But I will concur, bathroom facilities and options are better at Great Bay albeit further from the beach IIRC.

I was posting my opinion, experience, hints, tips, and knowledge for all readers here.
I understand your experience, and in fact, we have had the same experience in the past w/o medical services needed.

The water quality in GB varies greatly with the rainfall IMO. At least it used to. At times it's fine, other times it's not. I will admit I have not been following the mitigation/retention process closely.

I have heard/read they are working hard on mitigation/solutions.
It's challenging due to topography. All the runoff, regardless of content, runs into GB for a majority of 1/3 of the island, or at least 1/3 of the populous once the Salt Pond is full.

Life is good. Life is a beach. It all good. No worries. Still wouldn't stick my young kids in GB fwiw.

Because you asked, I think;

Old chatter;
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1495863
http://www.todaysxm.com/2012/11/08/g...ity-worrisome/
http://www.dcbd.nl/?q=document/water...ure-foundation

New chatter; Seems they are making progress.
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1903117
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1957798

See "The Great Salt Pond" in the link below. Guess where all the waste goes on the south side of the island. See the channel to Great Bay just west of the red icon. That's the overflow. Depending on past/current rainfalls the pond flows into GB. Transitive theory.
https://maps.google.com/maps?q=great...Beach&t=h&z=15

JMT
#10
1,103 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
Originally posted by stkdog
I second the maho beach suggestion. Be advised if you rent a car on the island, the traffic is terrible on cruise ship days so allow more then plenty of time for the commute back to port.

We took a taxi and had no problems. They are building a new road to get to the French side that should alleviate part of the conjestion, but don't know when that is scheduled to be complete. It looked close to being done when we were there. We were there in November and the water was fabulous at Maho Beach, a little bit of a wave to make it fun.
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Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover. -Mark Twain
#11
Not on the water.
579 Posts
Joined Jun 2013
Originally posted by bear3412
My post was not directed at your PP fwiw. But I will concur, bathroom facilities and options are better at Great Bay albeit further from the beach IIRC.

I was posting my opinion, experience, hints, tips, and knowledge for all readers here.
I understand your experience, and in fact, we have had the same experience in the past w/o medical services needed.

The water quality in GB varies greatly with the rainfall IMO. At least it used to. At times it's fine, other times it's not. I will admit I have not been following the mitigation/retention process closely.

I have heard/read they are working hard on mitigation/solutions.
It's challenging due to topography. All the runoff, regardless of content, runs into GB for a majority of 1/3 of the island, or at least 1/3 of the populous once the Salt Pond is full.

Life is good. Life is a beach. It all good. No worries. Still wouldn't stick my young kids in GB fwiw.

Because you asked, I think;

Old chatter;
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1495863
http://www.todaysxm.com/2012/11/08/g...ity-worrisome/
http://www.dcbd.nl/?q=document/water...ure-foundation

New chatter; Seems they are making progress.
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1903117
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1957798

See "The Great Salt Pond" in the link below. Guess where all the waste goes on the south side of the island. See the channel to Great Bay just west of the red icon. That's the overflow. Depending on past/current rainfalls the pond flows into GB. Transitive theory.
https://maps.google.com/maps?q=great...Beach&t=h&z=15

JMT
I didn't think you were pointing to my post. I was just addressing a disagreement bout GB in your post. I guess in a way I was addressing everybody when saying why go out of the way from St Maartens culture. I apologize if I seemed overly directed towards you in that way. Posting can be a contrived affair.

I think some of the things I read come from a internal battle related to conservationists looking at the problems with the large pond near Phillipsburg, and it's run off. It seems like mostly a St. Maarten political issue. From reading the big picture.

People should judge for themselves I guess. In any regard if people decide to travel away to the beaches, make sure to keep a hour or two to explore the town. It's commercial no doubt, but the mixing of European and Caribbean is a very neat cultural experience for the kiddos.
#12
DCA
1,163 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Originally posted by DreamingBig1
... I was just addressing ....
It's all good. I can completely relate to your comments/info.

No reason for apologizes to me ever. I can totally understand your points, and I welcome them. I welcome all comments, experiences, and opinions, as I trust our readers do to. We thrive on them here. lol. No one should ever be shy, reluctant, or fear posting their thoughts/etc. That is the last thing I trust/hope my posts imply. CC welcomes all comments/critiques, so we can all learn.

If anyone, perhaps it was I, who was somewhat defensive, and should apologize. I need sleep.

No worries. Life is good.

#13
Not on the water.
579 Posts
Joined Jun 2013
Originally posted by bear3412
It's all good. I can completely relate to your comments/info.

No reason for apologizes to me ever. I can totally understand your points, and I welcome them. I welcome all comments, experiences, and opinions, as I trust our readers do to. We thrive on them here. lol. No one should ever be shy, reluctant, or fear posting their thoughts/etc. That is the last thing I trust/hope my posts imply. CC welcomes all comments/critiques, so we can all learn.

If anyone, perhaps it was I, who was somewhat defensive, and should apologize. I need sleep.

No worries. Life is good.

No apologies needed. And I agree with what you are saying about CC. It's better when people share opinions.

The funny part of any forum or even email, is its hard to relay or pick up tone, emotion, or even who its being directed towards.

Fun but crazy world we live in.
#14
DCA
1,163 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Originally posted by DreamingBig1
... is its hard to relay or pick up tone, emotion, or even who its being directed towards. ....
CC needs more emoticon choices IMO.

#15
Ohio
1,140 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
If you are looking for a great "beach" than dont go to Maho. The planes flying so close is AWESOME!, but the beach itself is very very small, and very crowded! We were the only ship in port, and Maho was still packed. That said I am very glad we went becuase the planes were very very cool to see. I dont think you need to spend an entire day here if you are in port for 8 or 9 hours. Just 2-3 hours is plenty of time to see some planes land.
#16
South Dakota
241 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Originally posted by #absolutelyDISNEY!
Best beaches to go to with kids after pulling into Philipsburg??? Thanks!

How old are your kids? That might affect some of the answers you will get
#17
Clermont, FL
957 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
Following along as we will be there for the 1st time in Nov. Kids will be 15, 12 and 7 when we go.
Looking for clean, safe beach that the older kids can do some snorkeling with dh. We'll be on a tight budget too. Bathrooms/portapotty would be a plus
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#19
Not on the water.
579 Posts
Joined Jun 2013
Originally posted by loveysbydesign
Following along as we will be there for the 1st time in Nov. Kids will be 15, 12 and 7 when we go.
Looking for clean, safe beach that the older kids can do some snorkeling with dh. We'll be on a tight budget too. Bathrooms/portapotty would be a plus
For snorkeling, St. Thomas is the better island for snorkeling (not sure if that is on your itinerary). There are a couple companies that offer excursions that sound pretty good, and they are private (so probably slightly cheaper). As far as the beaches on St. Maarten, not sure which ones would have best opportunity.
#20
Clermont, FL
957 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
Originally posted by DreamingBig1
For snorkeling, St. Thomas is the better island for snorkeling (not sure if that is on your itinerary). There are a couple companies that offer excursions that sound pretty good, and they are private (so probably slightly cheaper). As far as the beaches on St. Maarten, not sure which ones would have best opportunity.
Thanks. it does go to St. Thomas and St Martin/St John...or whichever way it;s listed
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WAHM to Richie, Becca & Ryan!
1st cruise 5/06 RCCL's Sovereign of the Seas
2nd cruise 5/09 Disney Magic Western -Only $2900 for 2 Cat. 12 GTY's
3rd cruise 10/11
aboard the Disney Dream
4th cruise 11/14 Carnival Breeze