St Maarten – still my fav….
The brand new state-of-the-art Celebrity EDGE was the first cruise ship to take its dock position in St. Maarten this morning. Our Celebrity Summit was next and next in the line was the Oasis of the Seas and then the Carnival’s Horizon.
The island of St. Maarten is only 37 square miles in size and is the smallest land mass in the world to be shared by two different nations. It is owned by both France and the Netherlands Antilles, thanks to a treaty signed over 350 year ago. There is no red tape or border difficulties between the two sides. This contract of peaceful coexistence turns out to be the oldest active, undisputed treaty on our planet. Today these two separate lives coexist in contrast but perfect harmony.
You may recall just over a year ago St. Maarten was hit with a devastating hurricane. The Captain and staff onboard the “Celebrity Summit” warned us about this a couple times before we arrived.
I researched ahead of time which cruise ships were going to be docked her today so I knew there would be thousands of visitors in St. Maarten. I therefore advised my passengers to depart into the tourist town of Philipsburg early in order to avoid the crowds.
The best way to get into town is by water taxi and that runs $7.00 cash (the purchased wrist band allows you to go back and forth as many times as you wish throughout the day). My passengers took my advise and boarded an early time water taxi. They all thanked me when I saw them throughout the day because on their way back to the ship they saw tremendous lines of cruise passengers waiting for a water taxis to take them into town.
The tourist area of Philipsburg has rebounded nicely since the devastating hurricane. I’m sure it was a priority to get things cleaned up in the town so they could welcoming the cruise ships again. Most stores have reopened and many needed to be newly renovated.
Jewelry stores still dominate. There are so many of them I have to wonder how they can all stay in business. I priced a few watches. I almost dropped one when the young sales person told me he’d give me a special deal – only $20,000 – instead of $24,000! Obviously somebody is buying these pricey items or the stores wouldn’t be full of these expensive pieces of jewelry.
There is one men’s clothing store that I always visit. The shirt I really liked was “only” $495.00. I overheard staff calling customers worldwide advising them they just received new stock. The owner told me a great deal of their business consists of shipping clothing to their existing clients.
Of course there are many reasonable items to buy in St. Maarten. Most of my passengers purchased souvenirs, gifts for family and jewelry.
Some relaxed on the beautiful beach on the shore of Philipsburg.
It was another picture perfect weather day – sunny skies – 82F.
The Celebrity EDGE was the first ship to depart around 5pm. It lingered waiting for our ship the SUMMIT to leave the pier. Then there was the customary horn blowing farewells. This is the first time that both of these cruise ships have been in port together.
Dinner in the main dining room was excellent once again. When I was making my rounds my passengers asked me many questions about the Celebrity EDGE. After seeing the ship many of them now wish to join my EDGE Caribbean departure next winter.
In the main theatre tonights performance was a Beatles Tribute that was enjoyed by all.
My passengers enjoy the Celebrity Summit because its a very comfortable size – in todays age its considered a smaller cruise ship. When it was built that wasn’t the case. On a ship this size its very easy to get your bearings and you often run into the same passenger and crew which makes it very personable.