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Kamfish642

Port Check-in (Sint Maarten)

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My wife and I will be taking our first cruise out of Philpsburg, Sint Maarten on February 2, 2019.  We will be arriving several days early, so we will be arranging our own transportation from the hotel to port facility.  It appears that the Odyssey will be docking at a pier rather than a cruise terminal.  I would appreciate information on the port embarkation process in Sint Maarten if you are not taking Seabourn arranged transportation to port.

 

Thank you.

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Hello Kamfish642. We will be getting off as you are getting on. Pre cruise we are staying at Divi Little Bay for two nights.

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On ‎10‎/‎28‎/‎2018 at 11:49 AM, Kamfish642 said:

My wife and I will be taking our first cruise out of Philpsburg, Sint Maarten on February 2, 2019.  We will be arriving several days early, so we will be arranging our own transportation from the hotel to port facility.  It appears that the Odyssey will be docking at a pier rather than a cruise terminal.  I would appreciate information on the port embarkation process in Sint Maarten if you are not taking Seabourn arranged transportation to port.

 

Thank you.

As far as I know there is only one terminal where all cruise ships depart from, and it is about a 45 minute ride from the French side where we stayed 2 years ago.  There are multiple locations for ships to dock there.  But there are 2 different places to arrive at, one where the "big" ships were docked, and a second about a 2 minute drive further where the Odyssey was waiting for us. (Including the now most unfortunately departed Darius with a few cold beers in his hand for me only he knew I would enjoy...)

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We're taking this exact cruise on Dec. 8th out of Philpsburg.  We're flying in and I'm planning on taking a taxi.  My research shows the port to be about 15 miles so I'm assuming a $20 - 30 taxi ride.  With that said, Seabourn will sell you  airport to port transfers and they do all of the worrying.  I bought this Seabourn transfer in Barbados and they ended putting us in a Taxi.

 

I'll reply to your post when we get back in December and let you know who I made out.

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On 10/28/2018 at 2:29 PM, DUHCAR said:

We just took a taxi to the pier.   No worries.

 

Did you take a taxi from the airport to the pier?  If so, how organized is the luggage to the taxi Que with the main terminal closed?

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On 11/14/2018 at 5:43 PM, raphael360 said:

We're taking this exact cruise on Dec. 8th out of Philpsburg.  We're flying in and I'm planning on taking a taxi.  My research shows the port to be about 15 miles so I'm assuming a $20 - 30 taxi ride.  With that said, Seabourn will sell you  airport to port transfers and they do all of the worrying.  I bought this Seabourn transfer in Barbados and they ended putting us in a Taxi.

 

I'll reply to your post when we get back in December and let you know who I made out.

Kamfish - after much more research on the condition of the airport post Irma, I'm leaning towards booking a SB transfer from the airport to the ship.  Price is $120 per couple in a private car.  I've already booked a 3 hour ship to airport tour on debarkation day ($78 for 2).

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10 hours ago, raphael360 said:

 

Did you take a taxi from the airport to the pier?  If so, how organized is the luggage to the taxi Que with the main terminal closed?

This was 4 years ago.  We were staying on the island for a few days ahead of the cruise and had just returned the rental car to the airport.  Took a taxi back to the port — totally uneventful.  Can't comment on the current taxi queue situation, so ask in TripAdvisor to reach a larger viewership.

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1 hour ago, DUHCAR said:

This was 4 years ago.  We were staying on the island for a few days ahead of the cruise and had just returned the rental car to the airport.  Took a taxi back to the port — totally uneventful.  Can't comment on the current taxi queue situation, so ask in TripAdvisor to reach a larger viewership.

ST. Maartin airport is still working out of tents since Irma and they have videos posted on the current situation of the airport traffic patterns.  It's not what you and I remember from "what use to be".

We did this same cruise in early 2017 and had a great time.  I booked this cruise pre Irma and am not to excited about it but, then again, it is Seabourn so we don't even have to get off the ship to have a great time. 

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On October 28, 2018 at 1:49 PM, Kamfish642 said:

My wife and I will be taking our first cruise out of Philpsburg, Sint Maarten on February 2, 2019.  We will be arriving several days early, so we will be arranging our own transportation from the hotel to port facility.  It appears that the Odyssey will be docking at a pier rather than a cruise terminal.  I would appreciate information on the port embarkation process in Sint Maarten if you are not taking Seabourn arranged transportation to port.

 

Thank you.

Dear KamFish - here is my experience and my advice as promised.  We're currently on the Odyssey now having arrived in Sint Maarten on Dec. 8th from Miami.  My experience is; purchasing the SB airport to ship transfers was the BEST $120 I ever spent in my life.  My advice is to go ahead and purchase the transfers from SB.  The airport is in disarray since Irma and the story below can explain what could go wrong.

 
The back story is: our plane, out of Miami, was 6 hours late and we touched down SXM airport at 9:45PM (Ship leaves at 11PM but all aboard was 9PM).  As you can imagine I chewed my fingernails down to my knuckles in Miami airport. 
 
Immigration at the airport was relative quick, maybe 15 mins while baggage claim was much slower (never mind our bags were some of the last ones to come out).  As soon as we got through immigration, I sent my wife out to find our SB transportation while I waited for our bags.  When I got outside I found my wife AND our VIP driver waiting.  What I didn't know was, there were 18 of us SB passengers on that 6 hour late flight. Seabourn sent a bus to round up us lost souls and take us back to the ship.  But, by my purchasing the SB transfer, we didn't have to wait for the 16 other passengers (and bags) but immediately set out to the ship.  This meant we arrived 15 mins. ahead of the other passengers and were welcomed onboard by at least 5 Seabourn staff.  We were escorted through security and got on board and checked in in just a few minutes. Seeing the Odyssey and Seabourn staff waiting for us - priceless.  I was never so happy to walk onto a cruise ship in my life.

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raphael360: Thank you for the update; much appreciated.  I would also appreciate any additional insights and recommendations that you may have on the Odyssey since this is our first Seabourn cruise.  We sailed from Sint Maarten in 1998 on the SV Polynesia (Windjammer Cruises), so I'm sure things have definitely changed.

 

Again, thank you.

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16 hours ago, Kamfish642 said:

raphael360: Thank you for the update; much appreciated.  I would also appreciate any additional insights and recommendations that you may have on the Odyssey since this is our first Seabourn cruise.  We sailed from Sint Maarten in 1998 on the SV Polynesia (Windjammer Cruises), so I'm sure things have definitely changed.

 

Again, thank you.

Once you get on board, the Odyssey is heaven.  We're on our last 2 days of our 14 day cruise and I can offer this advice:  First, go on line (if you haven't already) and make your TK restaurant reservation.  One reservation per week per cabin is allowed.  We love the TK restaurant but find  once a week is enough.  Book early seating because you will be "very" full when you finish. Secondly, pack light - it's the Caribbean - and SB only has 1 formal night per week.   We only got off the ship 3 times this cruise because we did 2 weeks - same ports- in 2017.  There is no better place to veg out than on the Odyssey.  Finally, if and when you see "TK buttermilk fried chicken" on the menu in the Colonnades  restaurant, stop what you're doing and make your reservations.  You will never have better fried chicken in your life.  We had it 2 nights ago.  This is the best kept secret on Seabourn so don't tell anyone else.

I hope you love the SB Odyssey as much as we do.  We have 2 SB cruises planned for 2019. 

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Raphael:  your trip from Miami sounds like a travel nightmare which was, fortunately, saved by SB.  We are cruising out of St. Maarten on Jan 5th, but flying direct from Charlotte on Jan 3rd to avoid chewing fingernails to knuckles in case of weather or other delays!  Thank you for  your suggestions to Kamfish re. TK- good thing I had already made reservations there for the last night of our cruise  at  6:30.  I will watch for the fried chicken, too- great tip.  Looking forward to vegging out onboard as we're cruising for 2 weeks &  have only made excursion plans for 5 of the ports.  

 

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On 12/20/2018 at 1:54 PM, Mr. Manhattan said:

Raphael:  What was the six hour delay at MIA all about?  

Our plane pushed back on time (at 12:10pm) but the pilot came on and said he had a low fuel pressure light on the left engine.  Went back to the gate for a maintenance person to come on and tap the light to no avail. We deboarded and waited for a replacement plane to fly in.  It arrived at 4:30 and we were in our seats ready to take off at 5. After sitting for 15 minutes the captain came on to tell us the ground crew at Miami hadn’t even started to load our luggage yet.  At 5:45 we took off. 

We always fly in a day ahead but there was no hotels available due to hurricane Irma.

 

Seabourn was the hero who saved us on this trip 😀😎 

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We are just back - but it was the Barbados to Sint Maarten leg. Flying OUT of SXM is not for the faint of heart as the airport is severely stressed with the conditions and airline schedules. We had an hour delay getting out, considering that it was the Saturday before Xmas, this was probably as good as it gets. However, we had about 3 hours to kill before our flight (to Atlanta) which was rough with the overcrowded conditions. If I had to do it again, with the 7-day plans, I would fly into SXM and out in Barbados. And, definitely give myself a day or two before...

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Airport update: we just came back from our cruise yesterday and Sint Maartin airport is a real mess on Saturdays.  AA didn't starting checking in 'Miami customers' until almost 1:30 PM for our 4:10 PM flight.  We were 10th in line in the priority check in line, waited in that check in line for 30 mins to drop off pages and get our boarding passes.  We then got into the security line that stretched almost out the main door.  From that point it took us almost 2.5 hours to reach our gate (at 5:30 PM) and were among the first passengers for this Miami flight to arrive at the gate.  The incoming flight was almost 2 hours late coming in and leaving so we kind of just made our flight.  I would have taken off empty if it were on time.

We will never fly out of Sint Maarten again but do the Barbados to Barbados 14 day cruise.

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Flying to SXM next week, and while I don't consider myself "faint of heart", I am not looking forward to the airport experience, either coming or going!  Received this from Seabourn today... P.S.- I do hope that "limited facilities" doesn't mean port-a-potties, but with a tent structure I guess it will. Yuck!

For guests embarking Seabourn Odyssey in Philipsburg, please be advised that the island is still in recovery from last season's hurricanes. The airport is operational with limited facilities, and the pier is a tent structure with
seating but no services; your patience and understanding are appreciated. Please also note that porters are available for luggage assistance until 6:00pm and Immigration requires all guest passports by 9:00pm so the ship may be cleared to depart on time. We thank you for your cooperation and look forward to sailing with you.

 

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Arriving at SXM last week was not bad, there were a few seats and regular toilets , while we waited almost an hour for our 

luggage to be unloaded.  We then took a communal cab as that is all there was , to hotel Divi Bay, and from there a couple days later to cruise port.

But I am not looking forward to flying out of SXM based on what is described above, as it will likely make an already long trip even longer.

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2 hours ago, Kamfish642 said:

Are Euros preferred on both French and Dutch sides of island or are USD readily accepted?

I would recommend USD.  Both are accept on both sides but many places accept Euros and Dollars at par which makes the USD prices cheaper. 

 

I wanted to apologize to you for my extended replies to this post regarding transfers.  I had your orig. post mixed up with another thread about Seabourn transfers vs taxis.  With that said, I truly hope you are staying a day or 2 after the cruise.  Saturday + SXM airport = Nightmare.

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Where specifically does the Odyssey dock in st Maarten? I can't find specifics in my cruise documents and I am leaving on 1/5/19 for cruise SXM to Barbados?

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