ON THE ATLANTIC OCEAN
Last night, Adventure of the Seas fired up its diesel generators and powered out of Philipsburg harbor in St. Maarten, in the Netherlands Antilles, and set a course for the open sea. It will be six days before we see land again.
We had about 225 nautical miles on the virtual odometer at that point. At sea, the captain expects to average about 425 nautical miles a day (24 hrs @ 17.7 knots per hour). The weather has been sensational so far, except for the some wind. A big storm blew through these parts the night before our cruise departed Puerto Rico, and temperatures and humidity have been lower than usual in its wake. St. Maarten was especially idyllic.
If you should ever find yourself on a cruise ship, with a day to spend in Philipsburg, here is my recommendation: Walk to the far end of town, and then drink your way back to the ship.
Good plan, for several reasons: The price of drinks – not to mention food, souvenirs, beach chairs, etc. – decreases the farther you are willing to travel away from the ship.
You get a pretty good idea of what appeals to you, when you compare everything before you get out your wallet.
Some of the local folks farthest away from the ship seemed to be the ones who most appreciated a few tourist dollars. (Plus, if you do it this way, you don’t have as far to carry whatever it is you bought.)
Anyway, I’m a cheapskate. I’m always looking for the best deal. And I’m willing to work – and walk – for it.
It was only a $3 cab ride into town from the docks. But the short walk was worth more than that, in local color alone. The town has a vibe somewhere between old Key West, and parts of Kingston, Jamaica. We spent some quality time at a place called the Honky Tonk Bar, which served the most memorable onion rings imaginable.
But the best souvenir from St. Maarten, in my opinion, is one you can’t take with you: the water.
Sherry said it best: “Nothing is that turquoise. Not even turquoise.”