The island of St. Maarten is divided in half, in fact it's two countries, one Dutch and one French. We visited the Dutch side in Philipsburg, but some of our fellow cruisers ventured over into the French side (somewhere there was a clothing-optional beach...). We were free to travel to both as long as we had the proper documentation with us. St. Maarten is quite hilly, but we only walked on the flat parts (99 steps were enough for us). It was warm and a little sticky, but not as hot as the day before in Charlotte Amalie, and none of our days were as hot as last July in Nassau and Freeport. In fact, we were amazed at how comfortable we were.
The ship next door is always fascinating. And though The Allure of the Seas is the world's largest cruise ship (for now at least), the others were not miniature.
Those little tugs earn their keep. Look how beautiful the water is.
Sometimes it takes more than one to get a ship situated.
Ropes hold everything in place.
With so many ships docking constantly, it's not surprising that the shore has to be reinforced with huge concrete boulders.
Now we know we're in the Caribbean...
I was a little wary when I heard that we'd have to take a water taxi across the harbor to get to Philipsburg. Some of the buses and taxis we'd taken were rickety at best. But our little water taxi was like a small ferry.
And the crew was a hoot.