Philipsburg, St. Maarten

Friends walking over the bridge in Philipsburg, St. Maarten

Introduction to Philipsburg, St. Maarten

Philipsburg is the capital of the Dutch half of St. Maarten, an island amicably shared between Holland and France for centuries. It’s a shopper’s paradise, with everything from jewellery to electrical goods on sale. Take a water taxi to the nearby sandy beach, studded with colourful clapboard restaurants and outdoor cafés.

This tiny island – less than 100 sq km – was divided between the Dutch and French in the 1600s, as a bastion against the Spanish. The division was supposedly made by someone from each country walking round the coastline in opposite directions until they met up again. Two historic forts were built around this time: Fort Amsterdam, built in 1631, was soon captured by the Spanish, who abandoned it a few years later. Some of the original walls remain, and the site gives fine views over Philipsburg. Fort Willem, built by the British during the Napoleonic War, also offers a panoramic view over the town.

Front Street, Philipsburg’s long main street, has lots of shops, but the alleys and courtyards down to Back Street are also worth exploring. There are some stylish restaurants as well, but the Lo-Lo huts, which sell grilled chicken, fish and cakes from home-made barbecues, are great for a cheap snack of authentic Caribbean food.

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St Maarten

AN ISLAND UNDER TWO FLAGS (TOUR A)

Must do tour
  • Enjoy a scenic tour of St Maarten, from Dutch Philipsburg to French Marigot!
  • Experience old country-style living, and savour breathtaking views
Panoramic Coach Tour
Price£20.00 - £30.00
DurationApproximately 2½ Hours
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Free time includedFree time included
Shopping time includedShopping time included

Explore the island of St Maarten; ruled by two nations – the Dutch to the south and the French to the north – two distinct worlds combined with a Caribbean twist!

Depart from your ship by coach, and relax as you travel through the island shared by two nations. This guided tour will take you past the once Great Salt Pond in the heart of the Dutch capital of Philipsburg and the majestic Dutch Harbour. Continue through the old village of Orleans, and past Hope Hill where you will have a magnificent view of the coast and nearby Pinel Island.

As you pass through Grand Case – known for its fine French cuisine, you will get a taste of old country-style living in this peaceful and romantic fishing village. At the French capital of Marigot you will have some free time to explore the harbour, browse the open air market and duty free shops, or perhaps enjoy a refreshing drink in one of the many cafés.

Back on your coach, pass through the village of Cole Bay and once more to the Dutch side! A brief stop will be made at the Cole Bay Look Out Point, where you will be able to capture a photograph or two of the picturesque Simpson Bay and the neighbouring islands.

Back in Philipsburg, you have the option of exploring the Dutch capital further, or returning to the ship.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR THE 2016/2017 CARIBBEAN SEASON

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour is predominantly a coach tour and is therefore suitable for most guests, as long as you are able to board the coach unaided. Collapsible wheelchairs can be stowed in the coach’s luggage compartment. The amount of walking undertaken during free time in Marigot and at the look-out point is at the individual’s discretion. We recommend you wear comfortable, casual clothing and shoes and don’t forget your camera. This tour may operate in reverse order. Please note that any guests who are dropped off in Philipsburg at the end of the tour will have to make their own way back to the ship in time for sailing – if you take a taxi this will be at your own expense..

 


Afternoon Beach Bash

AFTERNOON BEACH BASH (TOUR D)

  • Sit back, relax and soak up the Caribbean sun on an afternoon beach bash
  • Make the most of the unlimited rum and fruit punch!
  • Enjoy approximately two hours of free time to spend as you wish
Beach Tour
Price£20.00 - £30.00
DurationApproximately 3 Hours
Walking level 1 - minimal or no walkingMinimal or no walking
Refreshments includedRefreshments included
Free time includedFree time included
Swimming time includedSwimming time included

What better way to spend an afternoon than by relaxing and enjoying what St Maarten is best known for – its beaches. A transfer will take you to Orient Beach, often referred to as the French Riviera of the Caribbean.

 

Upon arrival at the beach, you will be escorted to your complimentary sun lounger in a reserved area. Your tour will also include unlimited rum or fruit punch! Spend approximately two hours of time at leisure to relax on the golden sand, enjoy a spot of swimming or explore the one and a half miles of beach. If you wish you can also take advantage of a large selection of water sports available for rent (at your own expense), or have a massage (again at your own expense) – you name it, Orient Beach probably has it!

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR THE 2016/2017 CARIBBEAN SEASON

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? Please note that the journey to Orient Beach may not be guided, in which case you will be given instructions both at the quayside prior to departure and at the beach before your return. We strongly recommend that you come already wearing your swimsuit and don’t forget to bring a towel and adequate sun protection with you. Please exercise due care and attention when swimming or bathing. It is not advisable to drink alcoholic beverages if you intend to swim. For your information, if you intend to hire/participate in a water sport many providers will now take a copy of your credit card as a means of insurance should anything be damaged. Umbrellas may be available to rent at a cost of $3 each (price correct at the time of printing). 


 


Fun Mobile, Ponta Delgada

FUN MOBILE ISLAND DISCOVERY

  • Experience both sides of the island in a sporty Scoot Coupe
  • Relax and enjoy a local lunch
  • Spend time at leisure on the beach at Orient Bay
Activity Tour
Price£90.00-£100.00
DurationApproximately 3½ hours
Walking level 1 - minimal or no walkingMinimal or no walking
Refreshments includedRefreshments included

This fun and unusual transport will take you to both the French and Dutch side of the island, with lunch and time at leisure at Orient Bay beach.

 

Meet your guide, and settle in to your Scoot Coupe – a three-wheeled hybrid of a moped and mini car, with room for two. An entertaining and exhilarating drive past emerald green pastures and through small villages will first take you to Sailboat Lookout for a short photo shop. Continuing along the winding roads of the coast to the beach at La Me Shores, you will have the opportunity to meet some of the local sea life – including sea urchins and conches.

 

Your next stop is the well-known Orient Bay Beach – a mile long oasis of white sand. After a tasty light lunch and refreshing drink, relax on your beach chair or perhaps take a swim in the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean.

Description correct for the 2016/17 Caribbean season

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? Whilst this tour involves minimal walking, the Scoot Coupe is low riding and therefore can be challenging for guests with lower back or knee injuries. Guests wishing to drive the vehicle must be a minimum of 18 years old and present a valid driving licence. When two people book together they will share one Scoot Coupe and can share the driving if they wish, in which case both must show their driving licence. Single guests may share a vehicle, in which case the driving can be shared. Adults wishing to book as passengers must book with a driver - there are no drivers available for guests not wanting to drive themselves. The minimum age for passengers is six years old. The total combined weight of guests in each vehicle must be no more than 28 stone. A light lunch, drink and beach chair are included - please exercise due care and attention if swimming.


GOLDEN EAGLE CATAMARAN CRUISE (TOUR B)

  • Admire the coastal landscape as you glide along the calm waters of St Maarten on the Golden Eagle Catamaran
  • Enjoy time to swim or snorkel in the crystal clear waters as your catamaran drops anchor
Boat Tour
Price£45.00 - £55.00
DurationApproximately 4 Hours
LimitationLimited Capacity
Walking level 1 - minimal or no walkingMinimal or no walking
Refreshments includedRefreshments included
Swimming time includedSwimming time included

Sail in style as you relax onboard the Golden Eagle catamaran for a journey on the sparkling Caribbean Sea en route to a beautiful beach.

Onboard the catamaran, experience red carpet treatment whilst enjoying the thrill of sailing on the Caribbean Sea. Keep your eyes peeled for flying fish or even dolphins as you stretch out in the nets or laze in the shade of the huge mainsail.

The Golden Eagle will anchor off a white sandy beach located on the calm side of the island. You may choose to swim in the quiet cove, snorkel in the crystal clear waters to explore coral formations teeming with fish, or bob around on pool noodles.

Homeward bound, the sails are set for a cruise upwind, as you listen to great calypso music.  Your crew will be on hand to assist you and serve refreshing drinks and freshly made baguettes.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR THE 2016/2017 CARIBBEAN SEASON

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? A good degree of mobility is required to participate in this tour. To reach the beach, you may need to swim a short distance from the catamaran; the ladder over the side has six steps. Come already wearing your swimming costume under casual clothes, and do not forget your towel and sun protection. Snorkel equipment and floats are provided free of charge. For reference, a mixture of sail and motor powers the catamaran. Depending upon sea conditions, an alternative beach site may be substituted.


 


Harley Davison Bike Tour, Ponta Delgada

HARLEY DAVIDSON TOUR

  • Discover St Maarten in style on a Harley Davidson!
Activity Tour
Price£290.00-£300.00
DurationApproximately 4¼ hours
Walking level 1 - minimal or no walkingMinimal or no walking

Tour around the island and feel the wind in your hair as you explore on a magnificent Harley Davidson.

Having met your machine, you will sit astride and head off. Cross the French border to Marigot and enjoy a short break to admire the capital with its European-style pavement cafés, before you set off to the beautiful Orient Bay for a refreshing drink.

Next, it’s time for those engines to rev again, this time crossing back over the border to Cole Bay Hill, where you can admire the view of Simpson Bay from Harold Jack Lookout. A short drive will bring you back to the Dutch capital of Philipsburg and your awaiting ship.

Description correct for 2016/17 Caribbean season

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? Whilst minimal walking is involved in this tour, guests must be able to manage the motorbikes unaided. Guests wishing to drive the motorbike must be a minimum of 18 years old and present a valid driving licence. When two people book together they will share one motorbike and can share the driving if they wish, in which case both must show their driving licence. Single guests may share a vehicle, in which case the driving can be shared. Adults wishing to book as passengers must book with a driver - there are no drivers available for guests not wanting to drive themselves.


Hidden Forest Hike, St Maarten

HIDDEN FOREST HIKE (TOUR C)

  • Enjoy a leisurely hike through St Maarten’s only rainforest
  • Discover the array of flora and fauna that call Loterie Farm home

 

Price£35.00 - £45.00
DurationApproximately 4 Hours
LimitationLimited Capacity
Walking level 3 - extensive walkingExtensive walking
Refreshments includedRefreshments included

Experience the tranquillity of Loterie Farm, a private nature reserve and a far cry from the hustle and bustle of modern life in Philipsburg.

Upon arrival at Loterie Farm, you will be invited to climb aboard the open-air safari truck for the ascent to Pic Paradis, St Maarten’s highest point. At the top, you will feel the climate change to cool, fresh and breezy conditions – just as you would expect at nearly 460 metres (1,500 feet) above sea level! From this vantagepoint, admire the breathtaking views of St Maarten as well as the seven neighbouring islands. If the skies are clear, you may also be able to snap a photo of your ship in the distance below.

Then, with your guide in the lead, you begin your downhill trek through the depths of St Maarten’s only rainforest. Your hike will take approximately two hours along ancient trails, where you will witness first-hand the remnants of the Caribbean’s most unlikely sugar plantation abandoned in 1848. Throughout your hike, your guide will entertain you with folklore and history, as well as pointing out an array of flora and fauna – it’s not uncommon to see green monkeys, iguanas or mongoose!

Your trail then opens up at Chewbacca Rock, 275 metres (900 feet) above sea level, for a further opportunity of some stunning photographs of the views below, before you are greeted at the end of your hike with an ice-cold rum or fruit punch.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR THE 2015/2016 CARIBBEAN SEASON

Is this tour right for you?

TOUR NOTES: Please note that the minimum age for participation is six years of age. Hiking shoes or trainers with good grips are required. All participating guests must be in good health, be used to regular exercise and be in an agile condition for hiking downhill over uneven and rugged terrain, which in some areas can be quite steep. We do not recommended this tour to guests with pre-existing knee, hip, ankle, heart or respiratory problems. Unfortunately what flora or fauna might be seen cannot be guaranteed. Please note that there is an approximate 300 metre (1,000 feet) walk to reach the tour vehicles.


Maho Beach, Ponta Delgada

MAHO BEACH TRANSFER

  • Experience the thrill of watching planes taking off and landing, literally overhead
  • Enjoy Maho Beach or explore the nearby village
Beach Tour
Price£25.00-£35.00
DurationApproximately 4 ½ hours
Walking level 1 - minimal or no walkingMinimal or no walking
Free time includedFree time included
Shopping time includedShopping time included
Swimming time includedSwimming time included

Following the advent of YouTube, Maho Beach has become one of the favourite places in the world to watch aircraft taking off and landing at close proximity

 

Travel with your friendly guide, by coach, for the approximate 35-minute drive to Maho Beach, world-famous for its close proximity to Princess Juliana airport. Sit back and enjoy the scenery as you drive through the Dutch capital of Philipsburg and over the new Simpson Bay Lagoon Causeway.

 

Arriving at Maho Beach, the fun begins as you savour a very special experience! Aviation enthusiasts and thrill seekers can watch jets arriving just a few feet above you on their approach to landing, as well as the excitement of the jet blast as the planes take off.

 

Sunset Beach Bar provides a fantastic spot to spend the day, with music, food and refreshments all available (at your own expense). Relax on the beach, explore the nearby village of Maho or even visit a casino! Your guide will be on hand throughout the day to offer any assistance that may be required.

 

The journey back to your ship will take you through the village of Simpson Bay, and a short stop at Cole Bay Hill gives the opportunity to photograph the airport and Simpson Bay Lagoon – the winter home to some of the world’s largest mega yachts.

Description correct for 2016/17 season

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? We strongly recommend that you come already wearing your swimsuit and don’t forget to bring a towel and adequate sun protection with you. Please exercise due care and attention when swimming or bathing. It is not advisable to drink alcoholic beverages if you intend to swim. Beach chairs and umbrellas may be available to hire at your own expense. The jet blast from departing aeroplanes can be extremely dangerous, and guests are advised not to stand behind or get too close to the end of the runway. All guests participating in this tour will be required to sign a waiver form. Guests remaining in Philipsburg at the end of the tour are responsible for returning to the ship in time for departure, at their own expense.


Friar�s Bay, St. Maarten

MOUNTAIN BIKE ADVENTURE (TOUR F)

  • Take in a scenic bike ride of St Maarten
  • Marvel some stunning views en route
  • Enjoy time for a refreshing swim at Friar’s Bay 

 

Activity Tour
Price£40.00 - £50.00
DurationApprox. 3.5 hours
LimitationLimited capacity
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Refreshments includedRefreshments included
Swimming time includedSwimming time included

Admire St Maarten from a different perspective as you explore the island by bike.

Your tour begins at the charming waterfront in the French capital of Marigot. Here you will be fitted with your bike, helmet and a water bottle as your experienced guide provides you with a safety briefing. As you set off, pass through the marina development of Galis Bay before the narrow, off-road trail begins. Follow the stunning coastline and head towards the steep hill. At the top, some 100 feet above sea level, lies breathtaking views of the island of Anguilla, approximately six miles away; the town of Marigot below you; and possibly yachts and other vessels as they pass up and down. Your first rest stop here also offers you truly fantastic photo opportunities.

The trail, still hugging the coastline, then turns into an exhilarating downhill ride through a long, sloping field. You will cross a fenced area, close to a deserted beach, where pelicans can often be spotted fishing.

Next it’s on to an old concrete dairy road lined with Coralita flowers (the national flower) and Tamarind trees. Cross over a main road and enter the street that leads through the rural village of Colombier with its avenue of Sandbox trees. Colombier lies deep in the valley below Pic Paradis, the highest point of the island, and during your rest stop here you will be treated to views of green rolling hills and coconut palms.

Returning to your bikes, you will glide down and out of the valley to Friar’s Bay Village. Pass through a planned residential area, which leads to another fantastic viewpoint of Anguilla. Below you will see an old plantation house, and to the right a view of Friar’s Bay Beach.

You’ll soon follow a bumpy downhill trail into a valley slightly reminiscent of the African Plains. In this area you can spot an old cattle trough, a well and an old boiler left over from the sugar industry. The flat trails here are lined with several old slavery walls surrounded by coarse pampas grass. Ride past a large freshwater pond and keep your eyes peeled for pelicans, egrets and other birdlife. Your guide will point out and explain any types of flora and fauna found in the area, including wild cactus.

Soon it will be time to join the main road briefly before turning on to a dirt track. This takes you to the picturesque, secluded cove of Friar’s Bay, where the café is located. Upon arrival here you can enjoy a complimentary drink and take a refreshing swim – a perfect end to your tour!

At the end of your visit, you will board a bus for the return journey to the quayside and your awaiting ship. 

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2015/2016 CARIBBEAN SEASON 

Is this tour right for you?

You will spend approximately three hours on your bike, therefore participants need to be fit and active and have the ability to ride a bicycle with gears. The route covers various terrain including on-road with traffic and off-road, with various gradients. Sections of the ride are considered strenuous. Cycle helmets will be provided and must be worn at all times. The minimum age of participation is 12 years old. An adult must accompany any guests under the age of 18. Sensible, closed-in shoes are a must, and you may wish to bring a bottle of water with you. Come wearing your swimming costume underneath your clothes, and don’t forget a towel and sun protection. A chase vehicle will follow the group throughout the duration of the tour and will carry guests’ bags. 

 


St. Maarten

ST MAARTEN 12-METRE CHALLENGE (TOUR E)

  • Experience the thrill of racing an America’s Cup race boat through the blue waters off the coast of St Maarten
  • An exhilarating adventure for both novice sailors and committed seafarers
Activity Tour Boat Tour
Price£60.00 - £70.00
DurationApproximately 2½ Hours
LimitationVery limited capacity
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Refreshments includedRefreshments included

Recognised as a truly unique tour, the St Maarten Americas Cup 12 Metre Yacht regatta offers you a fantastic sailing opportunity!

 

You will be invited to compete in an actual race around a shortened America’s Cup course – where you can ‘work the boat’. Everyone will be offered a small task, and your experienced crew will provide all the guidance needed to grind a winch, trim a sail or punch a stopwatch!

 

No previous sailing experience is required and a rum punch party will round off this spectacular event!

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2016/2017 CARIBBEAN SEASON

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? All participants are required to wear soft-soled shoes and t-shirts and shorts over a swimsuit are ideal items of clothing for this tour. There is ample storage below decks to store beach bags a small plastic bag to prevent your camera getting wet would be a handy addition to your bag. Every effort is made to accommodate disabled guests, however the nature of the St Maarten 12 Metre regatta is very participatory and the motion of the boats may cause problems for some. We therefore request that guests with limited mobility and disabled passengers are accompanied by a companion who has the capability of assisting the guest on and off the boats. The minimum age for participation in this tour is 12 years of age. This tour may not be exclusive to Fred. Olsen guests..


Gondola, Antigua

TOUR M - VENETIAN GONDOLA

  • Relax on a romantic tour in an authentic Venetian gondola
  • Indulge in delicious handmade chocolates and chilled wine
Activity Tour Boat Tour
Price£70.00-£80.00
DurationApproximately 1¾ hours
Walking level 1 - minimal or no walkingMinimal or no walking
Snack includedSnack included

This enchanting tour allows you to experience the Simpson Bay Lagoon from the water in an authentic Venetian gondola.

 

Just a short drive from the cruise terminal, your gondola awaits you in Simpson Bay lagoon. As you indulge in handmade chocolates and sip on chilled wine, admire some of the extravagant mega-yachts that frequent the island as you slowly glide along the turquoise waters.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2016/17 CARIBBEAN CRUISE SEASON

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? Whilst this tour involves minimal walking, guests must be able to board the tour transport and gondola unaided. For reference, your gondola ride will last for approximately 45 minutes. The gondola seats up to four adults, and so your tour may be shared with other guests.


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