St. Maarten is one of my favourite ports. There is always something to do, a new beach to explore and the most welcoming atmosphere. This time, we decided to check out Maho Beach. Maho Beach is on the Dutch side of the island, and it is known globally for its close encounters with airplanes. We took a taxi to the beach, the going rate is $8 per person in a group of four or more. The drive through the island was about 25 minutes. The beach was already overcrowded when we arrived. It was difficult to walk through the beach and because the tide was so high, there was little space to lay on the beach (as you can see in the photos below). The sun was beaming down on us, and it was a scorching hot day.
We sat on the rocks as we watched the planes land. It was an amazing feeling, and even after the third, fourth and fifth planes, I was just as amazed. It's just insane how close the planes land! The airport runway is literally behind the beach umbrella, across the road! Halfway through our stay, we realized there was a surfboard at the bar with the arrival times of the planes! Do check out that board at the beginning of your stay if you're at Maho Beach for some extreme plane spotting. Only one plane took off while we were there and we definitely felt the engine. It was so strong that it created waves in the ocean, and people standing directly in its path were being blown away into the ocean. Overall, it was a neat experience and I'm glad we had the chance to visit Maho Beach but I don't think I will return to this beach.
We shared a taxi with another family on our return to the ship, but we decided to stop in downtown. We walked around town, had a quick meal at McDonald's and purchased a few souvenirs. Nothing has changed in St. Maarten. We took the water taxi back to the ship and paid for the ride on our way out. It was then that I realized we were going to be ship runners, we were five minutes away from sail time... but why is no one else running? I booked it anyway, and slipped in a puddle, but got back up and made the world's fastest purchase at the Guavaberry stand by the security checkpoint, and I ran to the ship with the boyfriend close behind me. The line up moved slowly, and we made it onto the ship just as it was supposed to leave - or so we thought. When we finally made it back to our cabin, albeit a little confused, we discovered we were an hour early. The moral of the story is... Make sure you are on ship time!
The pictures above do not do St. Maarten any justice. The weather was beautiful - blue skies and sunshine, but somehow it didn't translate in our photos..
That night was the only night we were able to watch the ship leave the dock on the deck. The sun had set and St. Maarten was all lit up. It was a beautiful view. When there was finally no more land in sight, we quickly beelined it to the dining room for dinner.
I had pasta for dinner, but I was not full. So, we headed upstairs to the Windjammer for seconds. Again, we took a walk on the Boardwalk, and wandered into the Opal Theatre where Mad Max was playing in 3D. It was a strange movie, so we decided to head down early to Studio B for Frozen in Time. The ice skating show was based on Hans Christian Andersen's fairytales - The Ice Queen, The Ugly Duckling, The Little Mermaid, etc. It was enjoyable, and props to the skaters for being to skate so well on the ship in rocky waters, but I do think children would enjoy it much more. Unfortunately, there were not too many in the audience. During the show, they also had a sand artist illustrate The Princess and the Pea on a projector. The art was amazing - I'd never seen anything like it!
As usual, after the show, we grabbed a quick bite in the Promenade before turning in - to the casino that is - yet again. We gambled our night (and money!) away as the ship sailed into the night...
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