Some people spend their entire cruise on board, never getting off the ship in port. We’ve always done something, but thought this cruise to maybe stay on board in Puerto Rico as we’ve been there several times already. In St. Martin though we had plans. On our first visit there we found a sleepy little port where none of the shops were open in the early morning before our planned sail and snorkel excursion. The second visit we had no problem walking to the taxi stand and catching a ride to Maho Beach where jets fly directly overhead on their way to the runway across the street.
This trip I researched online and found low priced ziplines at Lotiere Farm (which the folks at the taxi stand pronounced Lottery). They also have hiking trails and a pool. Carnival Breeze pulled in next to Carnival Dream, which had passengers streaming down the dock. The next pier over held Carnival Sunshine and Disney Fantasy, both appearing to have already unloaded most of their guests. It doesn’t pay to pull in fourth out of four large ships at a port where we had previously never seen more than 2. I’m not sure they even had dock space for more than 2 on our last visit as I don’t recall the second pier existing at that time.
Finally getting through the crowd to the gangway, we joined the throng of passengers pouring off the Breeze, which blended into those still exiting the Dream. Talking to one of them we found out we would see the Dream again in Puerto Rico. Sunshine came to all the same ports as Breeze that week.
Unlike our last visit where we just walked up to the open taxi stand and got on a van, this time it swarmed with people. Locals spaced around the stand would tell people where to wait depending upon where they wanted to go. One told us to go to the center, another pointed to a post and said to stand there. Then they proceeded to ignore us while loading van after van to go to other places. After about 20 minutes of standing there we gave up as the ziplines are first come first served and we were already behind the crowd from 3 other ships. At the information booth they said people could get an individual taxi in town, but that would require joining the que waiting in a long line for the water taxi to town so we wouldn’t have much chance of getting on a first come first served zip line if we had to go through all that just to get there. Another time if we ever think of going there again we would either try and find other people on the ship who wanted to go too so we could fill a van or else go straight to town where we could get a taxi.
Looking around at the crowd we rather thought anywhere we might try and visit would be too crowded to see much so we passed on the island tours and snorkeling/airplane watching tours offered by people walking around with signs on shore, or on a van to any of the island’s beaches. We thought about doing the snorkel & airplane thing where they would stop somewhere for snorkeling and then park out on the water by Maho beach for airplane watching, but we were dressed for ziplines not water sports and didn’t want to go back to the ship to change and then get off again. We’ve taken the water taxi to town before. The town has a nice beach, shops, and a casino. People can take segway tours there or rent jet skis. They had plenty of things we could have chosen to do as a plan B, but we’d kind of wanted to spend a port day on a ship for awhile anyway and decided we’d rather do that.
On a nearly empty ship there are no lines for waterslides, very few people in pools and hot tubs, and no lines at the buffet or any of the popular food places like Guy’s Burgers or the Blue Iguana Cantina. Even the Mongolian Wok on the Lido had no line. Sport Square with mini golf, pool tables, and other games sat wide open. Most deck chairs sat empty for the taking so we spent a pleasant day just enjoying the ship. It’s also a good time to do laundry with no lines for washing machines in the launderette. Throughout the day more and more people showed up on the pool deck, but still far less crowded than a sea day. I wouldn’t mind spending a port day on board again.