The last day of our Caribbean cruise was upon us…and so was Valentine’s Day!
We couldn’t think of a more perfect place to celebrate than on the dual-nation island of St. Martin/St. Maarten!
Half Dutch and half French, there’s no shortage of delicious food to savor, duty-free shops to discover or turquoise water to swim in…
but for us, the order of the day was toes in the sand and drink in the hand! ;)
There was no rushing off the ship for us…
we were in relaxation mode from the beginning.
Our port of call, Philipsburg, on the Dutch side, St. Maarten.
I love their logo! So colorful, cheerful & fun!
Brightly colored umbrellas dotted the soft sand while plenty of shops, restaurants and hotels lined the boardwalk.
If you want an easy day without going too far from the ship, this is it!
Walking down cobblestone alleyways, there was always something around the corner…like this courthouse…
…or this quaint Roman Catholic Church, St. Martin of Tours.
And don’t get me started on the many amazing shopping opportunities!!!
After a fun morning of exploring the island’s Dutch half, St. Maarten, it was time to take our $20 one-way taxi ride to the French side, St. Martin!
On our Caribbean cruise, I experienced many gorgeous beaches, but I must admit, there was one that left my jaw in the sand.
Say “Bonjour” to Orient Bay Beach!
For me, Orient Bay Beach is the quintessential Caribbean beach!
Soft white sand? Check!
Crystalline turquoise water? Check!
Bountiful rays? Check!
Sweeping views all around? Check!
That’s right folks, if you forgot your swimsuit (or if you’re in a daring mood)…
you’ve come to the right place!
The right side of the beach is clothing optional!
We opted to remain clothed, but if you want to let the bountiful rays give you a head-to-toe overall glow, pass the short rocky divider (see below) and feel free to roam “au naturale!” That little divider didn’t do much in keeping those tanned bodies in their section though! Don’t be surprised if that picturesque photo you’re taking is suddenly photo bombed by a full moon! ;)
Yep, that’s the rocky divider!
There’s lots to do on Orient Beach!
A variety of shops, restaurants and resorts line the 1 mile beach, and a plethora of water activities like parasailing, windsurfing and jet skiing are available for the more adventurous!
If lounging the day away in paradise is more your style (like me!), you can score 2 beach chairs, 2 umbrellas & 2 beverages for $14.00 – not bad!
Tis the life!
What I loved the most (aside from the view), was that you can walk out into the water for what seems like an eternity & not worry about the ocean floor dropping out from under you. You can just let the water gently lap over you as you float, wade or swim to your heart’s content.
With our time in St. Martin coming to a close, we decided to head back to Great Bay Beach and stop at Dirty Sanchez’s for some nachos & refreshing beverages. They allow customers to “graffiti” their names on the wall, so my hubby (Crispin) did the honors…can you spot our names?
With our relaxation mission accomplished, it was time to go back on the ship & enjoy our last night on the Valor.
We decided to have our Valentine’s Day dinner in the main dining hall…and might I add…every dinner we had here was AMAZING!
Adventurous hubby tried frog legs for the first time..and yes…he’d have them again!
As the ship pulled away from St. Maarten, we looked back at the wonderful memories we made and promised eachother that this wouldn’t be our last time in the Caribbean!