St. Maarten Cruise Port
With more than 2 million annual cruise visitors, St. Maarten Cruise Port has long been one of the busiest in the Caribbean. Located in the island capital of Philipsburg, it’s not only the gateway to the Dutch side of St. Maarten but also a popular choice for visitors heading to the French side of St. Martin.
St. Maarten’s small size makes it easy to explore on a half- or full-day shore excursion, either by small boat or minivan. Popular destinations on St. Maarten include Maho Beach, Simpson Bay, and Oyster Bay, where activities include swimming, snorkeling, and boat cruises. The town of Philipsburg itself has duty-free shopping, beachfront bars, casinos, and restaurants around Great Bay.
Many tours also run to St. Martin, where highlights include the capital of Marigot, a cruise across the Simpson Bay Lagoon, snorkeling at Creole Rock, or the beach resorts of Grand Case Beach and Orient Beach.
Things to Know Before You Go
St. Maarten Cruise Port open-air terminal offers tourist information, Wi-Fi hotspots, an ATM, restrooms, transport links, and several shops and kiosks.
Shore excursions usually include port pickup and drop-off.
Tours typically last between four and six hours.
Bring your passport with you if you plan to cross between the French and Dutch sides of the island.
Be sure to pack your swimsuit, towel, and sun protection—most tours offer a chance for swimming or snorkeling.
How to Get to Philipsburg From the St. Maarten Cruise Port
Cruise ships dock at the AC Wathey Pier & Port Facility around 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) south of Philipsburg center. It’s an easy 20-minute walk into town, but water taxis also make the short trip, leaving from Captain Hodge Pier (signposted at the terminal). Regular taxis are also available outside the cruise terminal.
In St. Maarten, the local language is Dutch but English is widely spoken, as are Spanish and Creole. In neighboring St. Martin, the official language is French. The official currency is the Dutch guilder on the Dutch side and the euro on the French side, but American dollars are accepted everywhere. Most shops and restaurants also accept credit cards.