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Cruise trip report to SXM #155201
02/18/2018 09:15 PM
02/18/2018 09:15 PM
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 1,124
Virginia
Snorkeller Offline OP
Traveler
Snorkeller  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 1,124
Virginia
Grandeur stopped in SXM today. We had fantastic weather today - but it was very windy (they say the Christmas winds have not stopped) and the sea conditions were not the best for our snorkel excursion.

Ship arrived in SXM a little after 7am - first port of five ports in which we arrived later than scheduled arrival. Another couple and the two of us got off about 7:30 and went out main gate and met Calvin from Rodeal who was there waiting for us. We rented a car for about $60 - a very good condition Toyota Corolla. Great service from Rodael. Thanks to Mike and Lesley for their recommendation.

Port obviously had taken a hit but looked pretty good. There was evidence of some damage to buildings and a few things were just not there any more, but overall, first time visitors probably did not think too much of conditions in port.

Drove over to Orient Village to look around. Driving felt weird because so much vegetation was gone and also some buildings were gone or damaged - so, although I know the way so well I did not make any wrong turns, it just seemed kind of weird. Driving into and through Orient Bay Park, down to the village, we saw many buildings for the first time or better/differently because of the amount of vegetation (tress, bushes, etc) that were no longer there. The village looked terrible. Since this was early Sunday, even places that may be open or partly open some times were not open this morning. Bruno's places - Petit Casino, his bakery counter, and Yellow Submarine are cleared and cleaned up but there is not much there. All that remains of Yellow Submarine is messed up decking. Petit Casino looked like a mere shell. The bar that is usually frequented by locals looked like it was open other times but was closed this morning.

We drove down to the Kontiki statue - only the man remains - kind of amazing that the stone platform for the woman statue and the statue itself were gone without a trace, as far as I could tell. The amount of damage simply is sickening and we did not linger long.

We drove over to Grand Case which did not look as bad to us (just speaking relatively) as the water facing buildings left along Orient (probably because we did not see water-side) but the destruction was clear. Two small structures that had been in first municipal lot (across from where Calmos was) are simply gone but for remains of flooring. Talk of the Town and Sky’s the limit looked fixed up and people were working – I think Rib Shack is open and operating – not sure of others.

Stopped at airport (french-side) to use rest rooms and get a drink - and it looks great!

Drove to Oyster Bay Resort Marina. The marina you pass on left before getting to Oyster Bay Resort was simply smashed. A number of wrecks are in Oyster Pond. Mr. Busby's was smashed and little is left. The Westin looks like a horribly ugly concrete set of empty shells. The resort marina (where Captain Alan operation is located) did better but it needs a LOT of work. The storm surge was about twenty feet from normal sea level as it came ashore at Oyster Bay marina. Alan and Paul lost their newest boat (totally destroyed) and another will take a LOT of work to put back into operation... The surge knocked many boats off their lifts.

Four of us took a snorkel trip with Captain Alan - Alan actually was our captain for first time - wife and I have gone with them many times and have most often had Francois captain our boat. Francois and their other employees have found other work because they basically have little to no business going. I learned after getting back to ship in evening when I checked email that they had really wanted to cancel because of wind and sea conditions but they did not tell us that when we showed up. Despite the rough seas we had a great time, going to Tintamarre, where there were the fewest boats we have seen there - especially in February - high season! Did the standard Tintamarre, Green Cay, Pinel circuit. Water was murky - sea bed stirred up - and snorkeling not that great. But very good time.

Alan told us of Irma experience and how for a time after Irma there was simply lawlessness and looting everywhere. There were people stealing stuff they could never use or sell - ripping the equipment out of the McDonalds or fixtures from grocery stores. What he described was as bad or worse than what I had read about the first hours and days. Whatever the problems and issues, the government utterly failed to provide basic security for its people. If anyone in governing coalition on September 6 gets reelected it will just show how hopeless things may be.

We did a drive by of Orient on way back from Pinel to marina. Club Orient appears as reported and shown on videos - utterly smashed up and looted. It really was not something we wanted to look at very hard. I could not see a single building that looked like it was salvagable - but maybe there are some. There were about 50 to 60 umbrellas up on Club O beach and lots of people. There were two small operations to north. I was so unable to get oriented to where things had been I could not say if one was Chez Leandra - but from what has been reported it probably was. There was another very small operation north of that, but I have no idea if was someone who previously had operated something. There was a flag planted up near where new Bikina had been – I think that may have been Wind Adventure trying to get some kite surf business – but don’t know.

Drove by Bruno’s place and Bungalows and his house looked fine – lots of cars at bungalows and I think they were full of guests.

We have not talked to many other pax on ship but our general impression is that people had a great day in SXM – partly or mainly because of the fantastic weather – clear skies and temperature around 78 F. The people (as usual in our experience) are welcoming and friendly. People always saying thank you for coming. The few business people we talked to are determined to get their businesses back in shape and going again - no matter what it takes. Some said that business owners were far more likely to plan to get going again, while some employees and people who were not owners had left the island and might not return.

We normally visit SXM – land vacation - for over a week every year – some years it has been two visits – but, we probably will not do a land vacation in 2018. We are French-side people – we always stay on French-side and when eating out are far more likely to go French-side – it just is not the same and, at least for us, kind of depressing. I hate to say that knowing maybe some friends who live there see that. We will plan to stay extra long in 2019 if things can get a little bit closer to what it was – we still love the island and the people we know there.

Last edited by Carol_Hill; 02/18/2018 09:37 PM.
SXM Sponsors
Re: Cruise trip report to SXM [Re: Snorkeller] #155204
02/18/2018 09:39 PM
02/18/2018 09:39 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 71,916
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
Traveler
Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 71,916
Central Florida!
Hi. thanks for posting.


Carol Hill
Re: Cruise trip report to SXM [Re: Snorkeller] #155205
02/18/2018 10:11 PM
02/18/2018 10:11 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 12,790
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
Traveler
pat  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 12,790
Brookfield, CT.
Thank you for your very factual report and descriptions. We were scheduled to return in March but I remembered too well how upsetting our return immediately after Luis proved to be. In any event, I could see the island as it is thanks to your excellent reporting of your experience.😊😊


Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: Cruise trip report to SXM [Re: Snorkeller] #155212
02/19/2018 04:36 AM
02/19/2018 04:36 AM
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 938
Toronto, Ontario
D
Dreamer Offline
Traveler
Dreamer  Offline
Traveler
D
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 938
Toronto, Ontario
Once again, France is to busy conquering the Commonwealth of Canada. Good luck with that.....


Rum...the seventh level of concentration - G.B Shaw
Re: Cruise trip report to SXM [Re: Snorkeller] #155213
02/19/2018 04:38 AM
02/19/2018 04:38 AM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,832
Portland, OR
jazzgal Offline
Traveler
jazzgal  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,832
Portland, OR
Thanks for the honest report. Glad you had a good day on the island.


[Linked Image]
Re: Cruise trip report to SXM [Re: Snorkeller] #155218
02/19/2018 06:02 AM
02/19/2018 06:02 AM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 15,516
Ohio
ruralcarrier Offline
Traveler
ruralcarrier  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 15,516
Ohio
Thanks for your report and observations.


J.D.
Re: Cruise trip report to SXM [Re: Snorkeller] #155220
02/19/2018 08:35 AM
02/19/2018 08:35 AM
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 557
Maine
SXMbeacher Offline
Traveler
SXMbeacher  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 557
Maine
Thanks for taking the time to report. Some of these reports helps us reaffirm our decision to wait for a 2019 return as much as it kills us! Hope you enjoy the rest of your cruise!



[Linked Image]


Re: Cruise trip report to SXM [Re: Dreamer] #155221
02/19/2018 08:56 AM
02/19/2018 08:56 AM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 707
Chicago area & St-Martin
ChiTownHarry Offline
Traveler
ChiTownHarry  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 707
Chicago area & St-Martin
Originally Posted by Dreamer
Once again, France is to busy conquering the Commonwealth of Canada.


I don't know what Canada has to do with a Saint-Martin forum. I do know what France has done for the island. It has committed millions of Euro in relief funds. We own a unit at Les Balcons on the French side and after paying our French property taxes last October, it refunded the entire amount in November.


--ChiTownHarry
Re: Cruise trip report to SXM [Re: ChiTownHarry] #155224
02/19/2018 10:10 AM
02/19/2018 10:10 AM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 15,516
Ohio
ruralcarrier Offline
Traveler
ruralcarrier  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 15,516
Ohio
Originally Posted by ChiTownHarry
Originally Posted by Dreamer
Once again, France is to busy conquering the Commonwealth of Canada.


I don't know what Canada has to do with a Saint-Martin forum. I do know what France has done for the island. It has committed millions of Euro in relief funds. We own a unit at Les Balcons on the French side and after paying our French property taxes last October, it refunded the entire amount in November.

Glad you received a refund but I think a valid argument could be made regarding the lack of support each side of the island has received to this point.


J.D.
Re: Cruise trip report to SXM [Re: Snorkeller] #155229
02/19/2018 11:42 AM
02/19/2018 11:42 AM
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 348
SeaStar Offline
Traveler
SeaStar  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 348
Thanks for your report.
Like you we spend most of our time on the French side.
Appreciate your honest observations. Enjoy the rest of your cruise.

Re: Cruise trip report to SXM [Re: Snorkeller] #155232
02/19/2018 11:56 AM
02/19/2018 11:56 AM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 12,261
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Offline
Traveler
SXMScubaman  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 12,261
Auburn, WA
Thanks for your first hand honest assessment of the conditions.

Re: Cruise trip report to SXM [Re: SXMbeacher] #155238
02/19/2018 12:57 PM
02/19/2018 12:57 PM
Joined: Apr 2012
Posts: 131
Maryland
S
ScottW Offline
Traveler
ScottW  Offline
Traveler
S
Joined: Apr 2012
Posts: 131
Maryland
I understand waiting until 2019, but we have been on island for a week now and are thoroughly enjoying ourselves. One thing to keep in mind, if construction noise is going to ruin your vacation, now is not the time to come. An example, we had a great breakfast this morning at the yacht club, but there was noise from the workers doing work at the waters edge. No problem for us, watching them kept my curious 3 year old grandson amused the whole time. There are certainly fewer people around and there has been no traffic to speak of. Nice crowd for music at the Buccaneer Beach Bar on Saturday evening.

Glad we came and wish we could stay longer.

Scott

Re: Cruise trip report to SXM [Re: Snorkeller] #155240
02/19/2018 01:08 PM
02/19/2018 01:08 PM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,865
Royersford, PA (30m NW of Phil...
Biturbo Offline
Traveler
Biturbo  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,865
Royersford, PA (30m NW of Phil...
Sounds like a busy, enjoyable day. Thanks so much for an enjoyable report.


"In a yellow El Camino, listening to Howlin' Wolf" - Lucinda
Re: Cruise trip report to SXM [Re: Snorkeller] #155271
02/19/2018 09:59 PM
02/19/2018 09:59 PM
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 732
Austin, Texas
B
BerneandGary Offline
Traveler
BerneandGary  Offline
Traveler
B
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 732
Austin, Texas
Thank you for the first hand report. I was corresponding last week with Bruno & the bungalows & villa are totally full - needless to say, he was quite pleased with that, as I think that may be his only business that is operational right now.


Gotta Caribbean soul I can barely control and some Texas hidden here in my heart...(J.B.)
Re: Cruise trip report to SXM [Re: BerneandGary] #155273
02/19/2018 10:16 PM
02/19/2018 10:16 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 71,916
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
Traveler
Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 71,916
Central Florida!
Yes, as of now, that is all that Bruno has, which is quite devastating. He hopes that he will get LaPlaya going before fall.


Carol Hill
Re: Cruise trip report to SXM [Re: Snorkeller] #155276
02/19/2018 11:35 PM
02/19/2018 11:35 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 12,261
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Offline
Traveler
SXMScubaman  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 12,261
Auburn, WA
Fall? I'm hoping for May.

Re: Cruise trip report to SXM [Re: SXMScubaman] #155283
02/20/2018 10:14 AM
02/20/2018 10:14 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 71,916
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
Traveler
Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 71,916
Central Florida!
I don't have any specifics, but I think that they are still waiting for the government to give them a go ahead


Carol Hill
Re: Cruise trip report to SXM [Re: Snorkeller] #155292
02/20/2018 12:00 PM
02/20/2018 12:00 PM
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 169
Columbia, SC, USA
DandM29212 Offline
Traveler
DandM29212  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 169
Columbia, SC, USA
Thank you for taking the time from your cruise and writing this! We all appreciate it greatly!



[Linked Image]
Re: Cruise trip report to SXM [Re: Snorkeller] #155300
02/20/2018 01:54 PM
02/20/2018 01:54 PM
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 211
TOTOWA NJ
lina Offline
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lina  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 211
TOTOWA NJ
i was on RCL freedom landed on st martin 1/10/18


lina and piggy
Re: Cruise trip report to SXM [Re: lina] #155301
02/20/2018 02:12 PM
02/20/2018 02:12 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 71,916
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
Traveler
Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 71,916
Central Florida!
Hi Lina--so, what were your impressions of SXM? Did you talk to any first time visitors to SXM on the ship? Would be interested to hear what their thoughts were.


Carol Hill
Re: Cruise trip report to SXM [Re: Snorkeller] #155302
02/20/2018 02:14 PM
02/20/2018 02:14 PM
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 211
TOTOWA NJ
lina Offline
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lina  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 211
TOTOWA NJ
We had a nice driver take us to Dany's beach, but couldn't stay..had a rum punch and went to Orient... well it was a very disturbing ride, to say the least, we have been going to sxm for over 33 years, and I was shocked to see the destruction from Maho all the way the Marigot then from Marigot to Orient. The piles and piles and tons of metal lined the roads. Boats strewn on land. We sat on Orient with a couple of chairs and I swam in my beloved water. It was eerily quite and remote, but with that said, "I" would go back. I'm not a high maintenance person needing luxuries, but staying 1 day as opposed to 15 days may be a little challenging for some. I saw a lot of rebuilding, but you could hear crickets on Orient. It was a mess, metal and steel lined the beach all the way to the parking lot.

this is my 02. cents smile


lina and piggy
Re: Cruise trip report to SXM [Re: lina] #155303
02/20/2018 02:31 PM
02/20/2018 02:31 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 71,916
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
Traveler
Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 71,916
Central Florida!
Thanks for your thoughts.


Carol Hill
Re: Cruise trip report to SXM [Re: Snorkeller] #155393
02/21/2018 04:47 PM
02/21/2018 04:47 PM
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 1,124
Virginia
Snorkeller Offline OP
Traveler
Snorkeller  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 1,124
Virginia
Since Sunday I have talked with other passengers and crew about the stop in Saint Martin and the general consensus is that almost everyone was very happy to stop in St. Martin. People were sad to see the destruction but were glad to go and help the island with some business. Everyone has commented on the friendliness of the people and how they were thanking cruisers for visiting the island. Even a couple that cruises a lot and sometimes stays on ship went ashore and walked front street, buying some jewelry.

Last edited by Snorkeller; 02/21/2018 04:49 PM.

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