St. Maarten Cruise Port and Things to Do
If you are on a cruise and have a stop in Philipsburg, St. Maarten, it can be hard to figure out how to spend your day.
This St. Maarten cruise port guide covers:
- Information about the cruise port in St. Maarten
- Photos of the St. Maarten cruise port
- The most popular excursions near St. Maarten cruise port
- The #1 best thing to do in St. Maarten for cruise travelers
- FAQs about St. Maarten
- More guides for cruise-lovers
Continue reading below for the #1 best thing to do from the St. Maarten cruise port for cruise travelers.
Added bonus: My recommendation on what to do in Philipsburg, St. Maarten isn’t expensive, and you won’t need to plan ahead or book an excursion to do it.
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St. Maarten Cruise Port: Information, What to Expect, and Things to Do
Depending on your ship, you will most likely dock at the Philipsburg cruise port on the Dutch side of the island.
Philipsburg, St. Maarten Cruise Port Map
It is about a 5-minute walk from the gangway to the cruise port in St. Maarten.
When you get to the cruise port in St. Maarten, plan on taking a shore excursion, a taxi to explore the island, or taking the water taxi to downtown.
You will find a few shops and restaurants, but you will need to either take a taxi to explore the island or take the water taxi ($7 round-trip) for a quick 5-10 minute water ride to downtown.
In this article:
Photos of the St. Maarten Cruise Port
Not sure what to expect when your cruise ship docks at the St. Maarten cruise port?
Below are a few pictures of what to expect when you dock in Philipsburg at the St. Maarten cruise port.
These photos were taken from my recent Caribbean cruise on the Holland America Nieuw Statendam ship.
St. Maarten Cruise Port – View from Our Holland America Ship
St. Maarten Cruise Port – Plaza Area
There isn’t much in the St. Maarten cruise port. There are a few places to grab a drink and a few shops.
The Most Popular Cruise Excursions near Philipsburg, St. Maarten Cruise Port
The top three excursions in St. Maarten are 1) The Flying Dutchman zip-line, 2) a chairlift to the top of sentry hill and 3) racing on a multi-million dollar America’s Cup yacht boat.
Top Excursions in St. Maarten
- The Flying Dutchman Zip-Line
- Chairlift to Sentry Hill
- Racing on a Yacht
If you have more time on the island, you may want to explore the French side of the island.
What to Do on the French Side of St. Maarten
On the French side of the island, you can explore the Grand Case fishing village, Mullet Bay Beach (where the sand is super white and blue), and check out Maho Beach, where you can see airplanes fly right over your head.
Note: I would not go to the French side of the island if you are on a cruise, as your time in port will be limited. Instead, continue reading for the #1 best thing to do from the St. Maarten cruise port for cruise travelers.
The #1 Best Thing to Do in St. Maarten for Cruise Travelers
My mom and my favorite thing to do in St. Maarten is to take the water taxi ($7 round trip) to downtown St. Maarten.
In downtown St. Maarten, you will find a great beach and pretty good shopping.
My mom and I noticed that the prices for bags, dresses, and souvenirs in downtown St. Maarten were the best of all the islands on our last Caribbean cruise.
Summary: The best thing to do from St. Maarten cruise port is to go to the beach and then go shopping.
Water Taxi from St. Maarten Cruise Port
The water taxi is right in the St. Maarten cruise port and will take about 3-5 minutes to walk to.
Note: You MUST pay with cash for the water taxi, so make sure to pack plenty of cash (I budget $100/day just in case we take a taxi for a half day tour) when you are packing for your cruise.
Map of Downtown St. Maarten (Short Water Taxi Ride from the Cruise Port)
As you can see, the water taxi (Bobby’s Marina) will take you across the water to downtown Philipsburg.
Once you get off the water taxi, you will find a very nice beach as well as plenty of restaurants with free Wi-Fi.
My mom and I paid $20 for two sets of beach chairs and an umbrella right outside of Caribbean Blend.
Beach Chairs at Caribbean Blend in St. Maarten
Tip: Plan on playing $20 for two sets of lounge/beach chairs in the shade.
After the beach in St. Maarten, shop at the local market.
Afterward, my mom and I explored the local markets.
My mom bought a matching blue beach sarong, a zippered beach bag, and a hair scrunchie all for less than $15 in cash. Just make sure to shop at the markets vs. in the stores. And go in with a smile on your face to get the best deals. 😊
Beach Bag, Sarong, and Scrunchie for only $13 in St. Maarten
Note: This combo on other Caribbean islands was $15-$20.
Summary – The Best Thing to Do in St. Maarten for Cruise Travelers
In summary, the best low-key and easy thing to do in St. Maarten is to 1) take the water taxi to downtown, 2) enjoy the beach, and 3) do some shopping.
FAQs about St. Maarten Cruise Port
Below are some helpful FAQs about St. Maarten cruise port.
Can you walk to the beach from St. Maarten cruise port?
No, there is not a beach within walking distance of the St. Maarten cruise port.
However, the Water Taxi is $7 round trip and a short 5-10 minute water ride to a beach.
Where do cruise ships dock at St. Maarten?
The cruise ships dock on the Dutch side of the island in Phillipsburg.
What is in St. Maarten port?
There isn’t much within St. Maarten port itself.
You will find the typical tourist shops and a few restaurants.
To explore the island, you will either need to take a taxi to explore the island or take a water taxi to downtown.
FAQs about Philipsburg, St. Maarten
Below are some FAQs about St. Maarten that may be helpful if you are stopping there on a cruise.
What is St Maarten best known for?
St. Maarten is known as the friendly island.
St. Maarten is also the smallest country that is owned by two countries!
There is the Dutch side, Sint Maarten, and the French side, Saint Marten.
What should I wear in St. Maarten?
Saint Maarten has warm summers, so wear shorts, t-shirts, a hat, and sunscreen.
I would also suggest bringing a water bottle with you and a beach umbrella to protect yourself from the sun.
Bring a bottle of water to stay hydrated.
How far is it from the cruise ship to the St. Maarten pier?
It is about a 5 minute walk from your cruise ship to the exit gates at the end of the pier, which is where the taxis and water taxi is located.
What is the currency in St. Maarten?
The currency on the French side of St. Maarten is the Euro and the currency on the Dutch side of St. Maarten is the Antilles Guilder.
However, the dollar is accepted pretty much anywhere in St. Maarten as well as credit card.
Is there Wi-Fi in St. Maarten?
You will have to pay for public Wi-Fi in St. Maarten, but most restaurants offer free Wi-Fi.
What is the official language in St. Maarten?
The official languages in St. Maarten are French and Dutch, but the main language is English.
What is the nicest beach in St. Maarten?
The nicest beaches in St. Maarten are Majo Beach, located at the end of the airport runway, and Orient Beach, located on the French side of the island.
If you are stopping at St. Maarten on a cruise ship, I’d recommend taking the water taxi ($7 round-trip) to downtown St. Maarten.
The ride is about 7 minutes, and you’ll find a great beach when you get off the water taxi. It’s close!
What’s the best food to eat in St. Maarten?
The best local food to eat in St. Marten is the conch and dumplings soup.
This hot and spicy meal is made with local conch, herbs and spices, and light and fluffy dumplings.
What’s the best drink to have in St. Maarten?
The best drink to have in St. Maarten is a Guavaberry cocktail.
This drink is made from guava berry fruits that grow on St. Maarten.
More Guides for Cruise-Lovers and Tropical Travelers
Love taking vacations on cruises and going to warm and tropical places? Yeah…me too! 😊
You may find these cruise travel guides and guides on what to wear on vacation helpful.
Cruise Travel Guides
What to Pack for a Cruise (things you may not think of that are super helpful!)
The Best Hotels Fort Lauderdale Cruise Port (where to stay before your cruise)
Vacation Outfit Ideas and Guides for Women
The Best Plus Size Tropical Dresses for Cruise Vacations and Plus Size Resort Wear
Super Cute Beach Vacation Outfits with Dresses, Sandals/Heels, and Jewelry
Cute Beach Outfits for a Day at the Beach (or the Pool)
The Best Swimsuits to Wear on a Cruise Ship
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