#BensCaribbeanAdventure Day 5 Blog

The Stad Amsterdam sailing vessel arriving into St. Maarten on 22/01/14

The Stad Amsterdam sailing vessel arriving into St. Maarten on 22/01/14

Wednesday 22nd January, 2014

Once again I headed up to the open decks to watch us berth alongside the pier in Philipsburg, St. Maarten. Today was going to be a very busy day in port with four cruise ships visiting including Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam, Westerdam, and the Celebrity Reflection. That meant that almost 10,000 passengers were likely to be going ashore today.

I headed ashore around 10:30 and walked the short distance to the cruise ship arrivals area where you can find dozens of shops, market stalls and the odd bar or two. From there I decided to follow the crowd and take the Water Taxi to the Town Center Pier; which you could see across the bay. Water Taxi’s were running continuously throughout the day at five to ten minute intervals; and the journey across didn’t take too long at all. For $7 you could use the service as many times as you wished throughout the day. During my journey across the bay I was chatting to an American couple next to me who were cruising aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam on a seven-day Blues Cruise; which sounded like a lot of fun. They also gave me a couple of tips of where to shop etc. in St. Maarten which was very nice of them.

Once I was at the Town Center Pier I couldn’t believe that the beach was literally right there. The sea was a picture perfect turquoise blue, the sand was white and the sun was shining – what more could you ask for? I immediately spotted the Hard Rock Cafe; which was to be the first stop on my adventure ashore. I like to visit a HRC at as many locations as possible and get a little souvenir to say “I’ve been there!”. I ended up buying myself a t-shirt, a little shot glass and a key ring – more things to add to my collection at home!

I then went for a short stroll along Front Street; which is one of the main shopping areas in Philipsburg. I came across an interesting shop named “Del Sol” which sells clothing, hats and other bits and pieces that change colour in the sunshine. It really was a unique shop and I may have purchased a t-shirt or two. I heard someone say “all this stuff is tacky and won’t work…”; well let me tell you then they were wrong. The shop was incredibly popular and once back on the ship a lot of people were carrying bags from the store; it’s something a little different that it cool and quirky.

After spending yet more money it was time to find a shaded spot out of the scorching sun. There was a nice little bar along the waterfront where the drinks were very reasonable and they had Wi-Fi too; which was very handy. Once my thirst was quenched I looked in a couple more shops before heading back to the ship where I paddled my feet in the water and got myself a spot of lunch from the Waterside buffet.

By the time I had finished my lunch it was almost 16:00 and forty-five minutes later would be another of Ventura’s famous sail away parties that’s led by Cruise Director Neil Oliver and the entire entertainment team. As usual everyone was having fun under the sun; there was even a conga line going around the Laguna Pool! Soon enough Ventura sounded her horn and we let go of the lines and headed out towards open sea.

In the evening I had a mocktail in Metropolis and then headed into the Cinnamon Restaurant for dinner, which was good – but on this occasion the service seemed to be very slow. By the time I got out of the restaurant it was close to 22:00 so I headed to the theatre to catch “Hot Ticket”; the second production show which paid homage to some of the productions that can be found on Broadway and in the West End. Again the show was very good and everyone who I spoke to seemed to enjoy it. I then headed up to the Waterside for a small dessert or two and then retired for the evening.

Click here to read Day Six.


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