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Pinel Island question

Posted By: kimberly2

Pinel Island question - 04/15/2019 01:28 PM

We are in St. Maarten from 7-4 on a cruise in September. Looking to spend the day on Pinel. Is it easy enough to get off the cruise ship and grab a taxi to the ferry port to Pinel? Or what is the best way to do a day on Pinel outside the cruise excursion? Thanks for your insight!
Posted By: SammyM

Re: Pinel Island question - 04/15/2019 02:13 PM

Hi Kim ... typically the cruise ship's shore excursions will be much more expensive than planning this yourself. Also, we've been on a few cruises to St. Martin in the past and I can't recall seeing a shore excursion to PInel. Different cruise lines offer different excursions, but I've never seen one to PInel and back on Princess or Celebrity. But, with that said if your time frame is from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. you'll need to plan this well, but it shouldn't be a problem. If you're off the ship by 7:30 bear to the right after you leave the cruise port and you'll find a taxi circle. It's really not hard to find. A taxi for two to Cul-de-Sac on the French side of the island should be $25 USD and no higher. Get a quote from the driver before you accept the ride. Let them know that you are planning to catch the ferry to Pinel Island and they will drive you to Rue de Cul de Sac and 'Ferry pour Ilet Pinel'.

It will take about 25 minutes or so to get there, so my guess is you'll arrive around 8:30 a.m. The cost of the small ferry boats to Pinel was $12 per person the last time we did this, but I'm not sure what they are presently. The ferry rides depart every half hour, but before exiting the taxi ask the driver if he or she can return to the same spot that afternoon to take you back to the cruise port. You should try to make this arrangement in advance just in case you have difficulty finding a taxi when you return from Pinel. I would suggest maybe 2:30 p.m. that afternoon. The boat to PInel is fairly quick (10 to 15 minutes), and if all goes as planned you'll be on there by 9:15 or so. You can rent beach chairs and an umbrella at either Yellow Beach or Karibuni. And, you can enjoy a nice lunch there as well. You can even take a hike to the far less crowded north-facing beach, but be sure to wear sneakers if you plan to do this.

Check with Pinel Ferry when the last boat returns to Cul-de-Sac. This should not be an issue for you, and I would suggest catching the ferry back from PInel around 1:30 to 2:00 at the latest. Overall, that should give you four hours or more to enjoy this lovely little island. Overall cost depends if you plan to eat lunch, but between the taxi, ferry boat, and beach chairs rental you're looking about $80 for two of you. I doubt you would find a shore excursion with the cruise line that would be this low. Good luck and I hope this works out well for you.
Posted By: Carol_Hill

Re: Pinel Island question - 04/15/2019 02:33 PM

I'm not exactly sure, but I don't think the ferry opens that early? I thought it was 10 AM, but I could be wrong.
Posted By: SammyM

Re: Pinel Island question - 04/15/2019 02:40 PM

You might be right, Carol. I thought it was 9:00 a.m., but I haven't done this in a little while. For those interested who have international calling, the Pinel Ferry phone numbers are: 0690-10-31-35, 0690-40-90-95, or 0690-50-57-94. Might be a good idea to call and check on that in advance. Can also verify the price of the ferry when you call.
Posted By: SXMScubaman

Re: Pinel Island question - 04/15/2019 02:40 PM

Yes. First ferry is at 10. You don't want to get there to early as the area around the ferry to pinel has a very offensive smell coming from all the rotting seaweed around that dock. Nothing like that on pinel or that dock.
Posted By: ruralcarrier

Re: Pinel Island question - 04/15/2019 02:40 PM

Originally Posted by Carol_Hill
I'm not exactly sure, but I don't think the ferry opens that early? I thought it was 10 AM, but I could be wrong.

I believe the ferry does start at 10:00 but not 100% sure. While this is a few months off, I would follow the current strike situation and if it is still an ongoing situation, I would be very leery of venturing to the French side if on a cruise ship. Getting back could be a problem unless one knows the strike is over or the exact location of any actions.
Posted By: SXMScubaman

Re: Pinel Island question - 04/15/2019 02:44 PM

I would do the cruise excursion. That way if you have problems getting back to the ship from pinel its up to the ship personel to make sure you don't miss the ship. The ship will wait if your on an excursion but if you go on your own they won't.
Posted By: BillandElaine

Re: Pinel Island question - 04/15/2019 02:49 PM

They probably won't offer the excursion if there are road blockages. May want to think of a nice beach day on the Dutch side. IF this strike is not over my then. I cannot imagine it would be allowed to go on that long.
Posted By: Carol_Hill

Re: Pinel Island question - 04/15/2019 03:39 PM

I'm REALLY hoping it will be over by June. This will be our first trip staying on the French side in a long time, and I'm hoping we won't have a problem.
Posted By: Bahston

Re: Pinel Island question - 04/15/2019 04:41 PM

Originally Posted by SammyM
You might be right, Carol. I thought it was 9:00 a.m., but I haven't done this in a little while. For those interested who have international calling, the Pinel Ferry phone numbers are: 0690-10-31-35, 0690-40-90-95, or 0690-50-57-94. Might be a good idea to call and check on that in advance. Can also verify the price of the ferry when you call.


The phone numbers are French-side mobile numbers. If calling internationally, drop the leading 0, and put a country code of 590 in front of them, for example 590-690-10-31-35.
Posted By: SammyM

Re: Pinel Island question - 04/15/2019 05:57 PM

Scubaman makes a solid point up above. When you venture out on your own the cruise lines tell you that you better be back when they set sail, though I've never seen them leave anyone behind (they typically try to track down the late arrivers and wait for them ... but don't count on that!). I would suggest checking the website for the cruise line you are taking and research their shore excursions. If they have one to Pinel Island compare the price with what I stated in my original post. Also, see if they include lunch with this. Without lunch a per person price of $40 to $50 (including beach chairs) would be fair. If lunch is provided, then maybe $60 per person would be acceptable. Sometimes my wife and I find good shore excursions that are a value or are simply too complicated to arrange on our own. But, every time I've planned a shore trip myself we have saved money, and in some cases the savings were significant. Also, keep in mind that some cruise lines are extremely well organized with their excursions (i.e., Celebrity), and some others are near total chaos. Hope this helps.
Posted By: islandgem

Re: Pinel Island question - 04/15/2019 06:55 PM

I would not chance this Pinel trip on your own. If the cruise ship does not offer this excursion, choose something else of interest to do that day. Not worth missing the ship and they won't wait for you if it is not a cruise excursion!
Posted By: SXMScubaman

Re: Pinel Island question - 04/15/2019 08:23 PM

I've been on cruises that they left without passengers before. It happens.
Posted By: bdeeley

Re: Pinel Island question - 04/15/2019 10:46 PM

The Ferry starts service each morning at 9:30 a.m.
Posted By: islandgem

Re: Pinel Island question - 04/16/2019 02:00 AM

The ship won't leave without passengers that have booked excursions through the ship. They Do Not wait for those who arrange things on their own and are late for departure. They have to fly to the next destination to meet the ship. Not fun for them.
Posted By: SXMScubaman

Re: Pinel Island question - 04/16/2019 04:26 AM

Originally Posted by bdeeley
The Ferry starts service each morning at 9:30 a.m.

That is for the workers. Normal tourist starts at 10.
Posted By: bdeeley

Re: Pinel Island question - 04/16/2019 05:06 AM

Again, the first scheduled ferry for visitors/tourists leaves from the dock at 9:30 a.m. daily.

Attached picture 2943C170-B223-42FE-B1D6-F00058EE0AB2.jpeg
Posted By: RonDon

Re: Pinel Island question - 04/16/2019 12:20 PM

Originally Posted by bdeeley
Again, the first scheduled ferry for visitors/tourists leaves from the dock at 9:30 a.m. daily.






what date (year) is that schedule?
Posted By: bdeeley

Re: Pinel Island question - 04/16/2019 03:06 PM

April 18th of 2018.
Posted By: SXMScubaman

Re: Pinel Island question - 04/16/2019 03:10 PM

Last May and years prior it was always 10. Just because that is published doesn't mean they adhere to it.
Posted By: ruralcarrier

Re: Pinel Island question - 04/16/2019 03:26 PM

And remember," island time", where actual schedules mean little.
Posted By: SXMScubaman

Re: Pinel Island question - 04/16/2019 03:32 PM

Originally Posted by ruralcarrier
And remember," island time", where actual schedules mean little.

Correct
Posted By: pburke40

Re: Pinel Island question - 04/17/2019 12:23 PM

We where there at 9:00 one year and were told that the 9:00 run was for cruise ship people only. However they took us anyway. Don’t know if that is still true. We had trouble leaving Pinel that time because we did not get a chit or something when we got off the boat.
Posted By: SXMScubaman

Re: Pinel Island question - 04/17/2019 02:43 PM

We have been to pinel many times and never had to had a return slip to board the boat.
Posted By: islandgem

Re: Pinel Island question - 04/17/2019 08:01 PM

I have never had a return slip either. Maybe something new now.
Posted By: SXMScubaman

Re: Pinel Island question - 04/17/2019 09:24 PM

Poster said it was a few years ago. Probably a cruise excursion and they needed a count to make sure all got on.
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