December 4, 2021
We have six port days in a row. Today is the first one – Philipsburg, Sint Maarten (8:00 – 3:30). It is one of the two ports that are allowing independent excursions or just wandering around if you wish. However, we received a notice from Holland America that the French side of Sint Maarten is experiencing civil unrest. All Holland America excursions to the French side have been cancelled, and they advised all guests to stay on the Dutch side of the island.
We had visited Sint Maarten on our previous Carnival cruise and had a great time snorkeling. We hadn’t really thought about what we wanted to do today. Given the warning that we received, we just decided to stay on the ship.
We watched the sail-in from the balcony. We pulled into next to the Royal Caribbean Rhapsody of the Seas. It was so much bigger than our ship, it blocked our view to the island. As I was looking at it, I realized I only saw a few people out and about and they all looked like crew members. Found out later that the ship was in for a dry dock – repairs and refurbishing.
With most people off the ship, I decided that today would be a good day to take some photos of the various pieces of artwork around the ship.
I also discovered that the staff was beginning to decorate the ship for Christmas.
I also loved the atrium sculpture of the Rotterdam.
After getting some photos, we spent some more time at the aft pool. No breeze so this area felt much warmer than the two sea days.
Time passed quickly and it was soon time for the sailaway. After we pulled away, it was time for the SEC Championship – University of Georgia vs Alabama. Not going to be shown on any of the ship’s television sets. I was able to find it on my computer but the connection was poor so we only watched it for a little while. Later on, we found out that Alabama beat Georgia again. Sad. Thought UGA had it this year.
Dinner tonight was a crab cake appetizer for both of us. Chuck had the halibut, and I had the pasta for our main selection. We have been skipping dessert which seems to baffle the waiters.
We went to a set of the Rolling Stone Rock band and then we went to see the comedy performance of Flip Schultz. The venue was packed. I think HAL should have had him perform on the main stage instead of the BB King showroom. In the main stage area, HAL was showing the BBC film – Planet Earth II in Concert. We have seen this film before – lots of nature and the film is accompanied by live music from the musicians of the ship.
Chuck went to play in Round 3 of the slot tournament, and I called it a night. I was sleeping so hard I didn’t even hear Chuck come in.
We got our first towel animal tonight – a swan.
Tomorrow – St. Lucia
Philipsburg, St. Maarten
Sint Maarten-St. Martin is the smallest landmass in the world to be shared between two countries. Sint Maarten occupies the southern half of the island of Saint Martin in the Leeward Islands; the northern half forms the French territory of Saint Martin.
It is said that Sint Maarten-St. Martin actually received its name from the day that Christopher Columbus landed on the island, which was on November 11, 1493, the holy day of St. Martin of Tours.
The division of the island between the Netherlands and France dates to March 23, 1648, under the Treaty of Concordia. Local folklore indicates that the division of land began with a walking contest between a Frenchman and a Dutchman. Before they started, the Frenchman drank wine while the Dutchman drank the stronger jenever (Dutch gin), allowing the Frenchman to cover more territory and claim more land.
There is no physical border between the two countries. You may travel between the two countries freely.
The island is 37 square miles, and it also boasts 37 beaches. Despite its short runway that is located between a large hill and a beach, major airlines fly large jet aircraft into St. Martin’s Princess Juliana International Airport.
Trivia provided by Wikipedia and Holland America literature