Sunday, February 16, 2014

Carnival Dream Cruise: Day 5, St Martin

Our St Martin day started with a lot of confusion.  We booked a tour through Bernards Tours.  Our Tour was supposed to leave at 9am (Atlantic Time.)  Our ship docked at 8am (Eastern) and St Martin, through Daylight Savings Time, was now an hour ahead of ship's time.  We hurried to get off the ship and over to the tour desk, because I am nothing if not obsessed with being on time.  We checked in...and waited. For an hour.  Oh well.

We finally got going on our tour.  My goal was to go to Maho Beach and Marigot, the tour was surprisingly the most economical way to do both - so everything else we did was just fluff.

Our first stop was at the Iguana Farm.
The Iguana Farm was fun to see, but I would never go out of my way to stop here.

Most of the day was spent driving around the Island and taking photos at various scenic spots.  I'll share some of our favorite photos, but to be honest, I don't remember where on the island most of these were taken.

This one is currently my desktop background. 

Our next stop was at Orient Beach.  Part of the beach is a topless beach, the other a normal one.  We stopped at "La Playa" (in case anyone wants to grab a taxi and just head there) which was on the normal side of the beach.  The facilities were nice, it was about a 10 minute stop for a bathroom break and to see the beach.

We were off to Marigot next, the French capital of the Island.  Our tour guide had a place they recommended for lunch, but Geoff and I didn't really want a huge lunch (it was only about 10:30 ship time.)  We instead opted to explore the town a bit and grab a snack on our own.

While very pretty, it reminded us of most other Caribbean towns.  Jewelry stores and tee-shirt souvenir shops abounded.  We found a little bakery to get our snack at.  I had heard some people on the tour talking about it, so I was glad we stumbled upon it.

We got a quiche and something sweet to share.  It was really tasty and not very expensive (the French side of the Island takes Euros, so a lot is pricey!)  It was about an hour stop, so we had some time after our snack.  We went down by the water and enjoyed some people watching until it was time to go.  We met up with our group to get back on the bus and continue our tour.  At this point, there was a group off of a different ship that was starting to worry about getting back in time.  This tour was supposed to only last about 3 hours, and we were approaching that quickly - and we still had half of the tour left.  Not a huge deal for us since we were okay with time, but these people were going to miss their ship.  Our tour continued on, but while most of us were dropped at Maho Beach, our driver took the others back to their ship.  So they didn't get that stop.  If I were in their shoes, I would not have been too happy since we took the tour because it included a stop at Maho.

I got a frozen beverage while we were at Maho Beach.  We stopped at the Sunset Bar.

Maho Beach is famous as it is right next to the airport and the planes coming in are very low as they approach to land at the airport.  Geoff really loved this sign:

We were able to catch 2 big planes coming in while we were there, so I would say it was a successful trip for us.

We eventually made it back to our ship (it really turned into closer to a 6 hour tour.)  You could have chosen to be dropped off in Philipsburg, but since our sail away time was now quickly approaching, we opted to go directly back to the ship.  Because of the large number of ships in port, traffic was also terrible, which contributed to the length of our tour.  I wasn't crazy about our tour just because so much of it was spent driving around the Island.  I think next time I'd just do a beach day here.  It was not our favorite stop.  (Sorry Mom & Dad!)

We were in Port next to the mammoth Oasis ship.  Now, to give you a size of scale, our ship is the largest in the Carnival fleet.  Yeah, the Oasis is ridiculous.

I went pretty plain with dinner since nothing really appealed to me.  I got a salad (which was probably one of my favorite dishes) that had portobello mushrooms on it and just had some plain grilled chicken and rice for my main course.  Sometimes the food gets to be a bit much on a cruise so I enjoy the nights where I keep it simple.  Of course the chicken wasn't very good - it was pretty dry.  Oh well.

Next up: two sea days and we return home!

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