Philipsburg

White buildings and delightful shops
Dutch and French fortresses
Wooden houses and luxury yachts

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Philipsburg

17th century atmospheres

During your cruise in the Caribbean Sea, after disembarking from your cruise ship in the Dutch port of Philipsburg and visiting the Court House, the heart of the city (a white and blue building dating to 1793 that now serves as the Post Office), don’t miss out on an excursion to the French side of the island.

Marigot, the capital of Saint Martin located on the island’s western coast, is protected by the great lagoon of Simpson Bay. It has retained the atmosphere of late 17th century, when it was founded. It is worth your while to visit its historical centre, which is crowded with wooden houses dotted with delightful shops.


Next, treat yourself to an excursion to Fort St. Louis, built on a hill on the orders of Louis XVI. From here, you can enjoy a stupendous view of Marigot Bay and its beautiful yacht club with the majestic docked luxury yachts.


However, a better view can be enjoyed with a trip to Pic du Paradis, where you will be able to see as far as Anguilla, Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Barth. Since here the sea is the sovereign, don’t miss out on St. Maarten’s beaches, starting with Great Bay Beach, a crescent of sand one kilometre and a half long located in front of Philipsburg. Going beyond the heritage that is Fort Amsterdam (a Dutch fortress constructed in 1620 housing a beautiful exhibit of historical finds) will take you to the intimate Little Bay Beach. From here, you can reach the base of Cay Bay, flanked by a beautiful sea bottom that’s great for snorkelling.


From the capital, surfers and golfers head west. The latter, into the waters of Mullet Bay; and the former onto the golf course behind it. A short distance further, you will find Cupecoy, excavated from the base of a cliff to form small beaches. Even further, on the western tip of the island, you will enter Terre Basse, the French territory. St. Marteen’s largest beach, Baie Longue, is located just a short distance away

Must see places in Philipsburg

Discover our excursions

15 results found

Limited number of guides in languages different from English. Should your language be not available the tour will be performed in English.
  • "AMERICA'S CUP" 12 MT YACHT

    ACTIVE & ADVENTURE

    SMT11

    Sign up this week to experience the thrill of racing multi-million dollar “America’s Cup” race boats in the warm blue waters and brisk trade winds of St. Maarten. Dennis Conner’s America’s Cup winning Stars & Stripes, Canada II and True North are yours for this once in a lifetime adventure. Our expert crew will show you exactly what to do in your “crew members” position. Then it’s off to the racecourse…grind a winch…trim a sail…punch a stopwatch, or just sit back, relax, and enjoy the complimentary refreshments. For this unique adventure…this highlight of your holiday, previous sailing experience…is NOT necessary! After the race enjoy the complimentary victory rum punch party, while you browse through our museum souvenir boutique. Please note: The minimum age to participate is twelve years old. A waiver is required for participation. As these boats are pure race boats, they have no toilet facilities aboard. All guests should be asked to wear soft-soled running shoes. T-shirts and shorts over a swimsuit are ideal. There is ample storage space below for beach bags, etc. and a small plastic bag to prevent a camera being splashed is a good idea.
    • Limited seats

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      2:30 h

    • Adults$92.00Price per person

    • Children$85.00Price per person

  • DISCOVER ST. MAARTEN BY JEEP

    ACTIVE & ADVENTURE

    SMT35

    This tour gives a chance to the adventuresome to get away from the crowds and share with fellow guests a 4x4 experience on off – trails and some regular island roads to enjoy wonderful views of incredible St. Maarten. The convoy will explore several rustic areas with special emphasis on popular island attractions including the famous gourmet mecca at Grand Case and the scenic lookout at Cole Bay Hill offering a view of the famous Simpson Bay Lagoon and neighbouring islands….Enjoy a scenic drive past Oyster Pond and Dawn Beach. There will be a time to explore the shops, markets and restaurants at the French capital, Marigot after spending an hour on world famous Orient Beach, where guests may enjoy a walk on the beach or sit back and relax! You will then head back towards the cruise ship pier via Cole Bay Hill Look-Out Point. Please note: Driving responsibilities can be rotated and guests planning to drive must be 23 years of age or older and have a valid driver’s license. All vehicles must remain with the group throughout the tour. Minimum age is six. Optional food & beverage services, along with beach chairs and umbrellas are available at an additional charge. Jeeps have automatic transmission.
      • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

        Difficulty Level
        Moderate

      • Duration
        4 h

      • Adults$95.00Price per person

      • Children$89.00Price per person

    • GOLDEN EAGLE CATAMARAN

      ACTIVE & ADVENTURE

      SMT09

      Go First Class, enjoy great snacks and an open bar while sailing in the sparkling waters. Sail aboard the Golden Eagle! An unforgettable experience while our crew pampers you, as you laze in the shade of Golden Eagle’s hand painted sails, lie in the nets or sit back in the captains’ cockpit watching action as we troll for kingfish. Maybe spot a dolphin, flying fish or the enormous whales in season. Golden Eagle will anchor off the fabulous golden sand beach, explore the island, look for shells or snorkel in the crystal clear waters. Our friendly crew will provide you with free flotation and snorkel equipment, together with any help you may need. Enjoy fresh sandwiches and champagne, with onboard music, sailing back in the azure waters of St. Maarten. Please note: An alternate venue may be visited depending on sea conditions at the time.
      • Drink included

      • Snack included

      • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

        Difficulty Level
        Easy

      • Duration
        4 h

      • Adults$85.00Price per person

      • Children$75.00Price per person

    • HARLEY IN PARADISE

      ACTIVE & ADVENTURE

      SMT05

      You will be in “Hog Heaven” for this ride through both the Dutch and French sides of St Maarten. After a short bus ride through the capital of Philipsburg arrive to the staging area where you’ll pick up your Harley Davidson motorcycle and complete the necessary paperwork. Once briefed and issued a helmet your guide escorts you for a bike ride through the island. The convoy arrives in French capital Marigot, home to Fort Louis, built in 1767 to protect the town from the English. The ride continues through the island and the local countryside. Eventually, arriving back to the staging area, transfer to the bus which will take you back to the ship. A unique way to see this fascinating island, shared by two countries. Please Note: There will be a guide in front. Make sure to bring your credit card and valid current motorcycle license to complete the rental contract. Driver must be 25 years and no person under 18 can participate. The tour price includes CDW insurance with a $3000.00 deductible. The deductible is fully or partially charged to the driver’s credit card in the event the motorcycle is returned damaged. Participants should wear long pants and closed shoes for their protection. Tour price is based on a per vehicle rate (vehicle can accommodate up to 2 persons including driver, you can go as a single or take a companion along for free). The tour should only be reserved by one person per vehicle and the rate will be charged to that person’s credit card. The tour payment cannot be divided amongst multiple participants , it can only be charged to one account. If you are taking a companion it is only necessary that you register their name with the ship’s shore excursion office upon embarkation.
        • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

          Difficulty Level
          Easy

        • Duration
          3 h

        • Adults$222.00Price per person

        • ChildrenNot available

      • HISTORICAL PHILIPSBURG BY BICYCLE

        ACTIVE & ADVENTURE

        SMT32

        Your guide will meet you at the entrance to the cruise ship terminal and give you a short lesson on the operation of your Trek bicycle. You will start riding along the Point Blanche road to the start of the Boardwalk in the capital, Philipsburg. Your first historical stop will be at the Passangrahan Hotel, St. Maarten’s oldest inn, which was originally the Governor’s House and then the Royal Residence when St. Maarten’s Queen Beatrix would visit. Continue along the Boardwalk for your next stop at the Captain Hodge’s Wharf which is the center of this bustling & colorful town and was the original fishing and shipping venue in the early 1900’s. Walk over to the Philipsburg Courthouse which was built in 1793 and see the lawyers and judges congregating every Wednesday for cases as they have been doing for hundreds of years. Get back onto your bicycle and continue pedaling along the Boardwalk until you come to the end of the beach and cross over to Back Street, one of the three one-way streets which make up the routes through Philipsburg. Pass the oldest traditional West Indian (Gingerbread) cottages, and start your first climb up the Little Bay Hill where you can stop and rest at the Look Out Point which offers an incredible view of the town. Enter the beautifully located Divi Little Bay Resort and begin your second short incline to the historical Fort Amsterdam. Built in 1631, this strategic point was the place of many battles between the Spanish and Dutch fleets in the 17th century. The remaining walls and cannons offer a glimpse into St. Maarten’s rich history as well as a sense of tranquillity while you view Philipsburg and the Cruise Ship Terminal from this spectacular vantage point. Please note: Please bring walking shoes, sunglasses, hat and sunscreen. Guests must be at least 12 years of age and 153 cm/5 ft. in height to take part.
        • Limited seats

        • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

          Difficulty Level
          Moderate

        • Duration
          3 h

        • Adults$59.00Price per person

        • Children$55.00Price per person

      • KAYAK SNORKEL ADVENTURE

        ACTIVE & ADVENTURE

        SMT33

        The tour leaves from the clean sandy Kim Sha beach after a short paddling technique demonstration by the guide. You will paddle through the beautiful Simpson bay and you will reach a small beach at the Pelican Resort where you will pull up your kayak and have a snorkeling instruction by your guide. You will then swim along with your guide for 5 minutes to the shallow reef at Pelican Rock, where you will spend approximately 45 minutes looking at the beautiful world undersea. Elegant Angel Fish, brightly colored Parrot Fish and hundreds of reef fish are just a few of the amazing creatures you will glimpse in this serene location. There is a beautiful sandy beach where you can rest if you feel the need to as well as an accompanying guide on a kayak who can assist you while snorkeling. On the way back along the Pelican coast, the guide will point out the neighboring islands of Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Kitts that can be seen clearly from this southern side of St. Maarten. Please note: Guests wishing to take part in the tour should be in good physical health. Guests must be at least 10 years of age to take part; a maximum weight restriction of 113 kg/250 lbs per person applies. The tour is considered to be unsuitable for guests with cardiac disease or back/neck injury. Pregnant women are not allowed to participate in this tour.
        • Possibility of swimming

        • Limited seats

        • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

          Difficulty Level
          Moderate

        • Duration
          3:30 h

        • Adults$69.00Price per person

        • Children$59.00Price per person

      • POWER RAFTING ADVENTURE, SNORKEL, SHOP & BEACH

        ACTIVE & ADVENTURE

        SMT14

        This great combo tour offers a snorkel experience at a calm south coast location, followed by one hour of shopping and finished off with time at a great beach!!! The comfortable high speed vessel gives you the best snorkel of the day. No traffic, just cool breezes as you whisk across Simpson Bay Lagoon with great photo opportunities, and exploring/shopping time at Marina Royale in Marigot. Then, it is time to cool off, find a calm beach with crystal clear waters and crisp white sand for an hour of sunbathing and relaxing before returning to the ships pier. Do all, in this 4 hour combo tour. Please note: All snorkel gear included – mask, snorkel, buoyancy vest and fins.
        • Possibility of swimming

        • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

          Difficulty Level
          Easy

        • Duration
          4 h

        • Adults$79.00Price per person

        • Children$72.00Price per person

      • RHINO RIDERS

        ACTIVE & ADVENTURE

        SMT27

        Experience on-the-water excitement, with these two-man RHINO RIDERS – zippy little 10’ inflatable motorboats, which are yours to command for a couple of hours of fun in the sun…! At the RHINO RIDER base in the calm waters of Simpson Bay Lagoon, you’ll be welcomed by the enthusiastic staff, who will offer basic instruction, and then the opportunity to acquaint yourself with the boats, prior to starting off your adventure. Following a guide, you’ll manoeuvre safely through anchorages for hundreds of boats, and alongside mega-yacht marinas, before exiting the lagoon into Marigot – the French capital. View historic Fort Louis, which overlooks the bay, before continuing along the picturesque coastline, and relaxing at Happy Bay – your final destination…It’s your choice, whether you snorkel the reef (gear is provided!) or build sandcastles on the secluded beach – this time is yours to enjoy the beautiful surroundings… Please note: Minimum age to participate is 10 years old. Guests must be 18 years old to operate the boat. Weight restriction: 400 lbs per boat. Life vests are required. All participants must follow guide and safety instructions. Wear footwear suitable for wet conditions (water socks, Teva-type sandals, etc.). Wear swimsuit under comfortable, appropriate clothing. Sunscreen and sunglasses are recommended. Participants should be in good physical condition. This tour is not recommended for guests with back problems and for those who do not swim. It is not recommended for pregnant women. This tour is only available for Divina calls.
        • Possibility of swimming

        • Limited seats

        • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

          Difficulty Level
          Moderate

        • Duration
          3 h

        • Adults$92.00Price per person

        • Children$85.00Price per person

      • BUTTERFLY FARM & MARIGOT

        CITY TOUR

        SMT65

        One small island, two great nations, a slew of pristine landscapes, superb beaches, picturesque resorts and an amazing Butterfly Farm! This is the Caribbean island of Saint Martin and the resident nations are France in the north and the Netherlands in the south. Your tour begins in Philipsburg, capital of the Dutch half, with a coach ride that will take you through scenic landscapes, across the border and on to the farm. Scenically set in between the Étang des Poissons (Fish Pond) and the Salines d’Orient, the Butterfly Farm opened in 1994 and has since grown to its current impressive size. The brainchild of two visionary Englishmen, the capacious enclosures are full of the greenery the butterflies need to complete their fascinating lifecycle. Friendly guides will show you around and familiarise you with hundreds of exotic species in every colour of the rainbow. You can even learn how to handle these fragile flappers and their caterpillars, whose flamboyant markings often rival even the most die-hard fashionista in terms of colour, texture and pattern mixing. Next up is Marigot, the capital of French Saint-Martin, where you’ll have time to go shopping, visit the open-air market or take the weight off your feet at an outdoor café. A photo stop is also scheduled at the Harold Jack vantage point on your return journey to the port.
        • Drink included

        • Limited seats

        • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

          Difficulty Level
          Easy

        • Duration
          3:30 h

        • Adults$42.00Price per person

        • Children$39.00Price per person

      • SEA & SEE

        CITY TOUR

        SMT26

        This tour combines the best St. Martin has to offer on land and beneath the ocean's surface. You leave Philipsburg, on the Dutch side of the island, and drive up the eastern side to the second largest town in St. Martin, Grand Case, a quaint, unspoiled fishing village surrounded by an idyllic bay. Here at Grand Case Pier, you board the Seaworld Explorer, a semi-submarine, which takes you on a 45 minute narrated tour of the coral reefs surrounding Creole Rock. Seaworld Explorer is a state-of-the-art semi-submarine developed in Australia for use on the Great Barrier Reef. The vessel does not submerge; you descend into the hull of the boat and sit in air-conditioned comfort five feet below the surface of the water, exploring sea life in this cruising underwater observatory through large clear glass windows. Acknowledgeable marine experts will provide you with information on the amazing underwater world, and will be happy to answer questions. On the return trip to shore you can relax and enjoy the magnificent view of Grand Case Bay and Creole Rock. Your tour continues to the French capital of Marigot, where you will have time to explore this attractive port city with its sidewalk cafes, open-air market and duty free shops.
        • Limited seats

        • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

          Difficulty Level
          Easy

        • Duration
          3:30 h

        • Adults$55.00Price per person

        • Children$55.00Price per person

      • ST. MAARTEN ISLAND TOUR

        CITY TOUR

        SMT57

        Treat yourself to a few hours of fun off the ship by joining this thoroughly laid-back tour of Saint Martin island. After meeting your guide at the pier, the fully narrated outing begins with a drive through Philipsburg, the attractive capital of the Dutch Sint Maarten, as you head for Cole Bay Hill, where gorgeous views of Simpson Bay Lagoon await you. On a clear day, you may even catch a glimpse of St. Kitts, Nevis, Sint Eustatius and Saba in the distance. You’ll then travel through Cole Bay and Simpson Bay, two fishing villages, and past the airport to reach Maho Beach. A stop at the lovely stretch of shoreline – also known as Airport Beach due to its proximity the runway – will give you a chance to take photos before you move on to Marigot, the capital of the French Saint Martin. You’ll have some time to explore the coastal town on your own. Check out the sidewalk cafés, open-air markets, fashionable shops and trendy boutiques before the scenic return drive takes back to the pier and your ship.
          • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

            Difficulty Level
            Moderate

          • Duration
            3 h

          • Adults$59.00Price per person

          • Children$55.00Price per person

        • PANORAMIC TOUR OF ST. MAARTEN AND BEACH TOUR

          SCENIC ROUTE

          SMT12

          During this tour, you’ll drive from today’s modern Dutch capital of Philipsburg past the Great Salt Pond, which served to make the island “worth its salt” attracting the French. On the way to the French side, you’ll pass the Border Monument. Between 1948 and 1816, this border changed 16 times. The tour continues through the island, passing through Marigot, bustling small capital of French St. Martin. Then the true meaning of the term “Best Of” comes through with approximately one and half hours at one of the island’s best beaches. Your troubles will blow away like ashes in the breeze. All too soon it’s time for the drive back to be dropped off at the pier. Note: Bring a towel, sunscreen and sun glasses. The order of the tour may be reversed depending upon local conditions. Traffic can be heavy at times. All beaches are public so please do not leave your personal belongings unattended. There are no lifeguards, so swim at your own risk. Chairs, umbrellas etc. are not included but may be available for rent from local vendors. The beaches have bars, restaurants, local vendors and activities and things to do. These all have a charge Remember where the bus drops you off as this is where you will pick up the return. Check your watches as the buses will only wait a few minutes if you are late. Otherwise the return will be at your expenses.
          • Possibility of swimming

          • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

            Difficulty Level
            Easy

          • Duration
            2:30 h

          • Adults$52.00Price per person

          • Children$49.00Price per person

        • VIVA ORIENT BEACH BREAK

          SEA & SUN

          SMT40

          A sun-drenched tour awaits you that teams a scenic trip through both sides of this bi-nation island, whose border division between the Dutch and French halves changed location no less than 16 times between 1648 and 1816, with a chance to spend 3 relaxing hours at a stupendous beach. A modern coach will take you from today’s Dutch capital of Philipsburg past the Great Salt Pond, the place that once made the island literally “worth its salt” and served to attract the attention of the French, and through the island’s attractive countryside. On the way to the French side, you will also pass the Border Monument before continuing on to Orient Beach on French Saint-Martin. You will then have plenty of time to savour all this picture-perfect beach has to offer, which includes a refreshing welcoming drink, a light lunch and use of a beach chair. A scenic return journey then awaits you back to the pier and your ship. Please note: you are recommended to bring a towel, sunscreen and sunglasses. The tour may be run in reverse order depending on local conditions. Traffic can be heavy at times. As all beaches are public without life guards, you will swim at your own risk and are advised not to leave personal effects unattended. The price of the tour includes use of a beach chair, but not umbrellas, which may be available for rent from local vendors at additional cost. Please make a mental note of where you are dropped off so you may return for the pick up when it is time to leave. Please be punctual as transport will only wait for a few minutes before departing. Guests who arrive late would then have to take a taxi back at their own expense.
          • Lunch or dinner included

          • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

            Difficulty Level
            Moderate

          • Duration
            4:30 h

          • Adults$59.00Price per person

          • Children$59.00Price per person

        • SINT MAARTEN ADVENTURE: THE RACE

          SOMETHING SPECIAL

          SMT64

          Put on some comfy walking shoes, hone your sense of orientation and prepare to have bags of fun exploring Sint Maarten’s historical capital of Philipsburg on a light-hearted race in the style of a scavenger hunt. Working in groups of 2 to 10, you can compete against the other teams by solving clues, finding each new destination and carrying out specific tasks to score bonus points. Best of all: the race will let you see parts of Philipsburg that would otherwise remain undiscovered and teams sightseeing with a touch of adventure. You’ll score points for both the time you take to finish the course and for the challenges you complete, so the pace you set will be at your discretion. But if you want to win, there’s nothing for it but to get a little silly and do things like build a sandcastle, identify an ice cream flavour or let the world at large know: “I LOVE SINT MAARTEN”. So join the fun and find out first-hand what else this tour has to offer: museums, historical landmarks and perhaps a swim in the Caribbean Sea. Your return to the ship ultimately brings your tour to a close. Please note: guests must be at least 6 years of age to take part. The tour is considered to be unsuitable for guests with mobility problems. Each team will be issued with a mobile phone to contact a tour guide if the need arises; guides will also keep an eye on participants throughout the tour. At least one individual per team must be prepared to go in the sea (flotation devices will be provided). Individuals will be placed in teams of 2-10 participants.
          • Possibility of swimming

          • Limited seats

          • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

            Difficulty Level
            Moderate

          • Duration
            4 h

          • Adults$69.00Price per person

          • Children$59.00Price per person

        • St. Maarten Sunset Sailaway - Evening Tour

          SOMETHING SPECIAL

          SMT70

          St. Maarten Sunset Sailaway - Evening Tour
          • Drink included

          • Limited seats

          • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

            Difficulty Level
            Easy

          • Duration
            00 m

          • Adults$102.00Price per person

          • Children$92.00Price per person

        The excursions in the program above are intended to provide MSC Guests with an idea of the different tours that can be arranged in each port of call; this program is merely a guide and confirmation of each excursion and its description and prices will be made during your cruise.
        Shore excursions programs and itineraries may vary depending on local conditions and/or any unforeseen events in relation to the timing on the day of the tour.

         

        Some excursions are very popular and therefore availability cannot always be guaranteed, it is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment. The guides are guaranteed in English. Only for South America cruises, the guides are guaranteed in Brazilian Portuguese. Narration in other languages depends on the availability of guides. Please note that the final language of the tour will be confirmed on board during the cruise.

        Saint Maarten

        Ivory beaches and turquoise waters
        Ivory beaches and turquoise waters

        One island , two identities. Sint Maarten, the southern part belonging to Holland whilst the northern part, Saint Martin, to France.

        On a cruise to Saint-Martin you will disembark in the Dutch capital of Philipsburg, just a few kilometers from the airport. 

        From the beautiful Maho Beach, at one end of the runway you can see low flying airliners passing over the beach: a real sight! 


        Just to the east, is the great Simpson Bay which offers two choices: breakfast at the Yacht Club bar on the Isle de Sol, where some of the most interesting mega-yachts cruising the Caribbean are moored; or the beach of Kim Sha, with palm trees, white sands and turquoise water (if you are looking for other typical Caribbean beaches then head for Bay Rouge, Plum Bay, Long Bay and Mullet Bay, which has tourist facilities). 


        In the French part of the island  Orient Beach, in Orient Bay, facing the island of Tintamarre is the nudist beach which is perhaps the best known and most appreciated naturalist beach in the Caribbean. 

        Saint Martin also means shopping; in the capital, Marigot, you can find a daily French market as well as more than 100 stalls on the sea shore full of spices, fruit and vegetables, rum and local handicrafts.

         
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