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beachbum53

political unrest on St. Martin

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I've been reading some articles on the political unrest on the French side of St. Martin. St. Martin is one of our ports of call on our upcoming cruise. We'll be there on March 3rd (2020). As of yet, we don't have a specific excursion booked. Obviously, at this time, there's no way to know if things will be resolved by the time we get there. Since our stop there is still several weeks away,  I'm thinking we should wait until early February before booking any sort of excursion. I'd hate to limit our time to just staying in the port area, but I'm also concerned about our safety. At this time, I'm not sure that calling Carnival would be of any benefit, so maybe taking a "wait and see" approach is the best thing to do for now. Is anyone else headed to St. Martin within the next few weeks? What are your thoughts or plans?

Edited by beachbum53

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We'll be there in three weeks.  We didn't make any plans other than shopping, but at this point, I'm prepared that if the protesting continues or escalates, we could end up at a different port.  It's hard to say, I think it's limited to the French side and it's business as usual on the dutch side.  Some countries are issuing travel advisories so I might hold off booking anything for now, just to be safe.  

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I know there was some talk of "civil war" and lots of gang looting post hurricanes, but haven't heard of anything recently.   The Dutch side is more that just the port.  Little Divi Beach, Maho, Simpson Bay watersports, Dawn Beach, Bird Sanctuary, zip lining, America's Cup races, etc.

 

Best to wait and see.  If looking strictly at ship excursions those would avoid troubled areas.  Also follow recent reviews of cruisers going to St Maartin.

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The protests are on the French side of the island. As of this morning, most of the roads had re-opened. The protesters had built barricades blocking the main road in several areas, but the police were able to clear most of the roads last night. This is a very fluid situation and changes by the day (or hour). Typically these type of protests in France last for a few days, then the police steps up their presence and the government works to a resolution. I would not worry about your port stop unless it's in the next week. We'll be there on 12/24 on the Celebrity Reflection. Since we vacation to St. Martin regularly, we have rented a car and planned to spend our day on the French side. Right now, I am paying close attention to the news on the island. If the roads aren't clear by 12/24, we'll stay on the Dutch side of the island, which does not have any protesters. Luckily, for those who would like to avoid the French side of the island, Philipsburg has a great beach and lots of shopping very close to the cruise port. The airport beach, Maho, is also on the Dutch side. There are also two zip-lines and many boating excursions right by the cruise port.

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4 hours ago, LizO830 said:

... Right now, I am paying close attention to the news on the island. If the roads aren't clear by 12/24, we'll stay on the Dutch side of the island, which does not have any protesters...

 

We're scheduled to be there on 1/8/20 and this is our plan as well, if it carries on that long.

 

No one can predict what will develop for anyone's sailing at this point, so paying close attention to the news is sound advice.  

Edited by MTAK

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As of this morning, reports state that the roads are clear and the locals are cleaning up the streets. Hopefully it stays calm. Definitely check local news before heading over to the French side if you visit in the next several weeks. I'm keeping my hopes up that we'll get to visit our favorite places on the French side next week (although I have a few spots on the Dutch side picked out as a back-up plan).

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We often rent a condo on the French side in Grande Case in the winter. I haven’t been since the hurricane, but we are booked for two weeks in January.

 

Im not worried. I have been in touch with people there and have been keeping up on the local news. It helps that I understand French.

 

short version is that the residents are very apprehensive about an upcoming law that might bar them from rebuilding on plots that are considered at “high risk” from nature. (Hurricanes). The French government is tiring of bailing them out financially time and again.

 

They don’t want to lose the value of their property, but nothing is etched in stone just yet. The people are letting their feelings known before an official decision is made.

 

Also it appears that hooligan types took advantage of the situation to loot and charge people “tolls” to let them through the blockades. French sent a number of gendarmes (cops) from the mainland in a show of force to dissuade those elements.

 

its more or less over for now and the blockades have been cleared. There may still be some holdouts at Sandy Ground, but nobody’s going there anyways.

 

Currently, it’s no more or less dangerous than usual. I doubt that there will be a repeat in the near future. The French have wisely decided to put the proposed law on the back burner until the tourist season is over.

 

Sorry about the wall of text and poor formatting but I’m on mobile and I thought it was important for people to understand the topic. 

Edited by larrywizzit
A word

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On 12/16/2019 at 9:57 AM, LizO830 said:

Since we vacation to St. Martin regularly, we have rented a car and planned to spend our day on the French side.

 

On 12/31/2019 at 10:23 AM, JosieRhodes said:

We were on French side on Christmas, and it was fine.  Had a private van tour.

Welcome back!  We have a private island tour arranged and we are trying to figure out where we want to go and what to do.  We can just leave it up to them to take us to the highlights, but from experience is there anything we shouldn't miss? Anything we should leave out to save more time for something else?  We've got like 6 hours on the tour itself. 

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1 hour ago, jdcml said:

 

Welcome back!  We have a private island tour arranged and we are trying to figure out where we want to go and what to do.  We can just leave it up to them to take us to the highlights, but from experience is there anything we shouldn't miss? Anything we should leave out to save more time for something else?  We've got like 6 hours on the tour itself. 

Like mentioned in my other post, we did enjoy wandering thru the fort ruins, but doesn’t require too much time to do this.  If I did go back, I think would of tried to do a coastal hike to Back Bay Pools or Guana Bay.  But again, ended up not doing it this trip so can’t say much about it.  I think some others may have mentioned it in the forum, may have more details.

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Any updates?  We are scheduled there next week.  At this point we have an excursion booked that takes us to the French side, and are trying to decide whether to keep it or not.

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9 minutes ago, ThanxMM said:

Any updates?  We are scheduled there next week.  At this point we have an excursion booked that takes us to the French side, and are trying to decide whether to keep it or not.

 

Is it a ship's excursion or with a private operator?  

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9 minutes ago, ThanxMM said:

Ship's excursion.

 

You'll be fine since it's a ship's excursion.  They will cancel and refund your money if it's not safe.  

Enjoy your cruise!  

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On 1/12/2020 at 9:19 PM, OCruisers said:

 

You'll be fine since it's a ship's excursion.  They will cancel and refund your money if it's not safe.  

Enjoy your cruise!  

What if we are not doing a ship excursion?  We plan on heading over to Pinel Island for the day.  We have booked through a company that will pick up us at the port for the drive to the ferry.  We have never visited the island before, do you think there would be cause for concern?

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I emailed the US consulate for the Eastern Caribbean and they finally responded last night.  The travel advisory issued by the State Department has been lifted. 

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On 1/17/2020 at 12:11 PM, ThanxMM said:

I emailed the US consulate for the Eastern Caribbean and they finally responded last night.  The travel advisory issued by the State Department has been lifted. 

Thank you.

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We were there during the week of January 5th.  Took a morning taxi from the cruise pier up to Grand Case and spent a good part of the day at the Rainbow Cafe.  Taxi back to the ship in the afternoon.  No problems at all and no sign of problems for us either.

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5 hours ago, Husky1987 said:

We were there during the week of January 5th.  Took a morning taxi from the cruise pier up to Grand Case and spent a good part of the day at the Rainbow Cafe.  Taxi back to the ship in the afternoon.  No problems at all and no sign of problems for us either.

That’s our plan in a few weeks. How much was your taxi, if you don’t mind sharing? Also, how much were chairs at Rainbow? TIA

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30 minutes ago, MeganGC1983 said:

That’s our plan in a few weeks. How much was your taxi, if you don’t mind sharing? Also, how much were chairs at Rainbow? TIA

 

If I recall, we gave the driver $30 for the trip there and $40 for the trip back. He didn’t quote us that much (think it was $25) but I tipped extra because I wanted to make sure he would come back at a pre-arranged time to take us back to the ship and when he showed at the exact time I tipped him even more on the way back. 

 

$20 for two loungers and an umbrella. We love Rainbow, it’s our go-to in SXM.

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Me and my two daughters will be going to Divi Little Bay resort mid Feb.  Will this be a safe area? We have it booked through an independent tour company. I haven't paid yet and can cancel up to two days before. We'll have to take a taxi over there.

 

Thank you in advance.☺️

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