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LEESRE

Odyssey Sailings out of St. Martin

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Has anyone from the UK sailed on the Odyssey Caribbean this year and flown either into or out of St. Martin.

 

Finding flights very difficult to find from/to St. Martin.

 

Thanks

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LEESRE - Try KLM - direct flights into Sint Maarten as well as flights via Curacao.  We recently flew KLM from Amsterdam-Lima/Cartagena-Amsterdam and their business class was streets ahead of BA's South American services.  I think KLM has several connecting flights from the UK to Amsterdam (we flew from Norwich) and Schiphol has two excellent airport hotels, the Sheraton and the Hilton, should you need one. 

 

Sint Maarten/St Martin is a major cruise port.  While we really dislike the island because of its  casino/junk food culture it has perhaps our favourite Caribbean hotel, La Samanna, which has recently opened after the devastating hurricanes two years ago.  Avoid at all costs the Westin near the port.

Edited by Fletcher

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Air France did fly via Paris  and KLM via Amsterdam but since the hurricane I do not know if has changed

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We have booked for November through Air France via Paris from St Martin. It used to be serviced by Joon, the low cost Air France carrier, but these are all now operated by the main Air France carrier since 2019. As they are partnered with KLM we had options to onward connections either direct or via Amsterdam which may work out for you dependent on where your nearest airport is in the UK. As our cruise is transatlantic we were able to book both legs as a multi journey also and got a good rate as a result.

 

FYI - you can book the same flight either through KLM or Air France (in case you have air miles with one)

 

Hope this helps?

 

Kind Regards

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At Christmas we flew London Miami and spent three nights there before going on to St Maarten.

 

We were on the Crystal Esprit for 11 nights.

 

Coming back we were booked American Airlines via Charlotte. AA overloaded and underfuelled the plane in St Maarten and left two hours late. We missed our Charlotte connection and consequently were delayed 22 hours.

 

As American Airlines is not based in a EU country the normal compensation of 600 EUR per person does not apply. They offered us 175 USD to be spent on another AA flight during the following 12 months. In theory the offer can be transferred - but not in practice.

 

We have vowed NEVER to fly American Airlines again.

 

Have a lovely holiday and keep clear of AA - they are the pits.

 

Tony

London UK

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We did the 7 day cruise from Barbados to St Maarten in early March. We then got a Caribbean Airlines flight from St Maarten back to Barbados to spend 6 days there before flying back to the U.K.

it was a 3.5 hour flight as it touched down in Port of Spain for an hour. In hindsight I wish we had booked the full 14 day cruise Barbados to Barbados as we wasted a whole day travelling which wasn’t even pleasant as St Maarten airport was packed . Our hotel in Barbados was nowhere near as good as being on the Odyssey. You live and learn!

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6 hours ago, AnnieO2019 said:

 . Our hotel in Barbados was nowhere near as good as being on the Odyssey. You live and learn!

 

I find very few hotels are as good as being on Seabourn; that’s why we (nearly) always fly straight home after we leave the ship

 

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We plan on sailing the St. Martin round trip Caribbean itinerary on the Odyssey next year, and have begun to look at St. Martin hotels.  Has anyone stayed at the Little Divi hotel?  I would appreciate any comments.

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By all means avoid a flight out of Sint Maarten.  The airport for departures is a nightmare! 

 

We had a 14-day cruise out of Sint Maarten in February.   Never again.

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22 hours ago, Kamfish642 said:

By all means avoid a flight out of Sint Maarten.  The airport for departures is a nightmare! 

 

We had a 14-day cruise out of Sint Maarten in February.   Never again.

 

DITTO - never again!

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Since the 14 day cruise we are interested in for 2020 is round trip St. Martin, I am really concerned by both your comments.  Could you give me insight as to what particularly went wrong, and would there be any chance of avoiding/mitigating it?  Sorry to bring back those memories...

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Airport still has not been restored since hurricane.  Overcrowded with verify limited seating and food/bar services.  Jetways still out of service; busses to/from plane.

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I agree with Kamfish. There are a large number of cruise ships staring or ending in St Maarten (I counted six in port) and as a result there are very big planes landing and taking off on Saturdays (cruise changeover day). The airport couldn’t cope with the huge volumes of people. We stood in so many queues (lines) being barked at by angry staff, then were packed like sardines at the departure gates. I don’t know what it was like before the hurricane so if it does get back to normal by 2020 you may be ok. If you can fly to Barbados consider that as an option - it’s exactly the same 14 day cruise but obviously you only get a day in St Maarten. Or if you are planning on staying in St Maarten before and after the cruise the airport may be much better on weekdays. You can check on the airport website how many planes are coming through - there’s a timetable. 

Someone else may have experience of weekday flights or what the airport was like before?

Enjoy the cruise - we loved it so much !

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Thank you Kamfish and Annie!

Annie, I will look into your suggestion of flying in/out on a weekday.  We had planned flying in some days earlier, since we have not gone back to the island since our honeymoon.  Now, we most probably will be staying over an extra day..wohoo!

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We flew in on Thursday for a Saturday cruise departure.  No problems arriving at Sint Maarten airport, were the Immigration (passport check) line was only a 15-20 minute wait.  As AnnieO2019 stated, departure on Saturday was pure hell, but other travelers did say that it is much better on weekdays without the cruise ship traffic.

 

Enjoy your cruise.

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I would say that the experience of Queen Juliana Airport in Sint Maarten on any day of the week will be markedly less stressful than any major US airport where the lines and rudeness are off the scale.  Ditto Heathrow on occasions.

Edited by Fletcher

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Thanks all for your comments and suggestions!  Looking forward to next year's break from our never-ending winter in the Syracuse area...would you believe it still snowed two days ago?  Uff!

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Departure from Queen Juliana Airport in Sint Maarten on Saturday during the high cruise season will definitely match the long lines and stress at any major US airport.

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19 hours ago, Fletcher said:

I would say that the experience of Queen Juliana Airport in Sint Maarten on any day of the week will be markedly less stressful than any major US airport where the lines and rudeness are off the scale.  Ditto Heathrow on occasions.

Wow. I fly out of US airports 10 plus times a year and my longest wait time in the past 12 months was out of Orlando on a very busy day. The TSA line was less than 15 minutes.  My check in time  to drop my bags at the AA counter in St Maarten was an hour and my wait time to get through security and to gate was almost 4 more hours. AA started checking in  the Miami passengers at 1:30 and we got to the gate at 6:30.  Orlando was a wee bit better. 

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