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Taking advantage of an amazing deal to make our tall ship dreams come true. Seriously, go check out the prices for next year on their website if you haven't already. :classic_cool: We're doing the Star Flyer Treasure Islands Jan 16 2021 itinerary, stateroom 300. We've been briefly to St Maarten on a HAL cruise in December and look forward to going back. We've never been to any of the other islands on this itinerary. Yes, we know about how very different this will be from a regular cruise and that's the appeal. I've read about as much as I can find but the over-planner in me still has questions.

 

  1. Does anyone know where the Star Flyer docks in St Maarten? The main cruise terminal or ... ?
  2. We like to cash tip our bar tenders generously (even on HAL where it's on top of a beverage service fee). Would it be rude to tip at the bar in US dollars? We can bring euros if the staff would prefer that. I'm hoping they wouldn't mind getting US cash on a Caribbean itinerary. 
  3. Any accommodations recommendations that aren't the Holland House? We're familiar with it and it's beach front location. I see no reason to spend $400+ per night. We don't mind being further out and less fancy/lacking a view as long there's at least a double bed, a private bathroom, and within a reasonable taxi ride of the airport and port. 
  4. Normally we book our own private excursions, but with this cruise line's non-standard timing I'd rather not bother. So I'd love some clues about what types of excursions Star Clippers tends to do in the Caribbean and what prices are like. How many digits should I brace myself for per tour? I don't know if we're talking under a hundred euros or over a thousand or somewhere in between. I know I'll need to wait until onboard to see what they have available for us.
  5. I'm pretty sure we charge excursions and alcoholic drinks at the bar/dinner to our room. Is that right? Any other worthwhile upcharges or paid services we should be budgeting for?
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1. The couple of times I've sailed on one of the Star Clippers fleet out of St Maarten, it has been from the main cruise terminal.

 

2. There is a 15% service fee included in the stated price of the drinks - it is not added on separately to the price of the drinks. I have sailed on Star Clippers over a dozen times and have not seen a cash tip given to the bar tenders - possibly this has been done discretely. I suspect that most people on board only carry cash when they go ashore as there is nothing you need to spend cash on when on the ship. US Dollars are accepted anywhere in the Caribbean whereas Euros are only accepted on the few islands linked to France and The Netherlands, so US Dollars would be more practical for tips to the staff. 

 

3. I haven't stayed on St Maarten for many years, so can't offer accommodation suggestions.

 

4. You will get sent details of the excursions and their cost about 3 weeks before you sail. You can't book an excursion until you are on board. The excursions vary from coach tours to various sites, to energetic  kayaking and cycling trips, to jeep or other motorised 'off-roadadventures'. From memory, you are looking at prices between 70 and 120 Euros. Wherever the ship docks, there are always taxis waiting to offer you 'explorations' of the island - these are normally very enjoyable, and good value if you go with another couple.

 

5. Yes, excursions and bar bills (including restaurant drinks) are charged to your account - as mentioned, you don't need cash whilst on board. The other thing charged to your account is the service gratuity - Star Clippers suggests 8 Euros per night per person. Oh yes, and wi-fi if you want it.

 

I hope that helps a bit.

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1. There is a large tent to check-in at the harbour, located behind the parking lot of the cruise harbour. Even there is luggage pick-up after the cruise.

 

2. Beside of the included tips we always tip the bar staff separately with a little cash at the end of the cruise for every of the bar tenders. They do a grest job. USD or Euro - it doesn't matter.

 

3. In former years we stayed at the Sonesta, which is blown away by the last hurricane. They still have two other Sonesta Hotels, but they are located near the airport.

 

4. verything was written to shore excurions by Purley King.

 

5. Even shop sales and massages are to be charged to your onboard account. You do not need a lot of cash, only for some personal tips and for on shore expenses.

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I have taken 3 Clipper cruises out of St Maarten and last year I stayed at the Passanghram House which is on the boardwalk couple blocks from the Holland House and much cheaper.  I could walk to the main pier where you drop off luggage and check in in about 15-20 minutes.  Lodging is still an issue after the hurricane but I wanted to be close to the pier and price was reasonable compared with other places nearby.  If you find what you want at a reasonable price I saw go ahead and book it as some have limited availability.  If you  received any OBC a work of caution, in February I had $75 OBC and after the cruise I noticed it was not applied and after calls to Star Clipper they refused to do anything about it so be sure you double your statement before leaving.Enjoy your cruise.

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I cannot thank you all enough for the info! 

 

I'm especially happy to hear it leaves from the usual sea port (ie where I know where I'm going!) and that the excursions are reasonably priced. I'll look into booking a hotel this month while there's still a good selection. 

 

We don't have any OBC, but we did book a gratuity-included fare (worth $70 each). I'll be sure we check that with the office on board about that. 

 

We'll plan to tip the bartenders in dollars and have plenty for local guides for anywhere we choose to skip the ship excursions. 

 

Can't wait to climb to the mast and get my snorkel on! Shame they don't have a scuba option on Caribbean itineraries.

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9 hours ago, faerievert said:

we did book a gratuity-included fare (worth $70 each). I'll be sure we check that with the office on board about that. 

 

 

Just check your travel voucher - the prepaid/included gratuities should be stated therein. If not, contact your travel agent before you go onboard. Purser's office has usually no insight in your booking details.

 

Gratuities will not be charged automatically to your account. If you have no prepaid gratuities, you will get an information sheet, envelopes for cash, and the option to charge it to your cabin account instead of cash.

 

In addition, about two days before the end of the cruise you will get an 'invoice for information', stating all expenses until then. If there are any queries you are able to handle with that before check-out day. After 13 cruises, the invoice was always correct, and prepaid/included gratuities are always stated in the travel voucher and handled correctly onboard, when this applied to us.

 

Simply enjoy your cruise. :-)

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On 5/5/2020 at 1:18 AM, Diddn said:

Just check your travel voucher - the prepaid/included gratuities should be stated therein. If not, contact your travel agent before you go onboard. Purser's office has usually no insight in your booking details.

Thanks for this important tip!

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On 5/4/2020 at 11:44 AM, elklemi said:

I have taken 3 Clipper cruises out of St Maarten and last year I stayed at the Passanghram House which is on the boardwalk couple blocks from the Holland House and much cheaper.  I could walk to the main pier where you drop off luggage and check in in about 15-20 minutes.  Lodging is still an issue after the hurricane but I wanted to be close to the pier and price was reasonable compared with other places nearby.  If you find what you want at a reasonable price I saw go ahead and book it as some have limited availability.  If you  received any OBC a work of caution, in February I had $75 OBC and after the cruise I noticed it was not applied and after calls to Star Clipper they refused to do anything about it so be sure you double your statement before leaving.Enjoy your cruise.

Hi John (I think that is you 🙂 ) - I hope you are well & safe in Tennessee. We had the pleasure of sailing with you on the Flyer in February. We were so lucky to be able to cruise before COVID took it's toll. We have cancelled our remaining cruises this year but still hope to get to the Key's in December & see Jimmy Buffett in Tampa. We moved our Clipper Croatia cruise in August to another Caribbean cruise on the Royal Clipper next December 2021 so 2 booked next year hopefully 🤞🤞 Take care & it was great sailing with you & having a beer or 2 at those wonderful beach bar's we found. Paul & Mel ( Isle Of Wight UK)

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Absolutely I remember you all and so much enjoyed your company and conversations with the cold beer.  I cancelled my tour and river cruise the Danube in September with just too much uncertainty about flights and what will and not be open.  I have two trips with GATE1 i am looking at to Guatemala and to Mexico for Mayan ruins. I got a map and found your Isle of Wright and sorry that you all have to cancel your trips for this year but you have good plans going forward and Jimmy Buffet is the main reason for my love of the islands.  So good to touch base again and thank you all for your wonderful friendship on our cruise, all the best to you all.

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