Like in many Caribbean cruise ports, taxis are highly regulated and operate on a system that encourages the sharing of taxis. The cost is per person and it goes down if you have more people going to the same place or at least in the same general direction. We 1st wanted to go to Marigot, it was $18 for the 1st two people and with the addition of several more people it dropped to $7 per person.
We only used taxi's to get to and from the airport. They can be costly for general traveling (about $18 per trip) They are certainly efficient and both our drivers were super friendly and talkative. They taxi's are actually mini vans and coming from the airport you may have to share the ride. Fares are set by the government, so you won't get ripped off unless you take a gypsy taxi.
Some guides suggest you rent a car here. I wouldn't suggest it. Parking here is insane and you can be towed even if there is not a no parking sign. Plus traffic can get aggravating.
Buses (actually mini vans) were our choice of travel for most of the week we spent here. Between $1.50-3.00 per ride you can get anywhere on the Island. Plus, it's quite pleasant to have each new passenger greet you with "bonjour" Or "hello"
You flag down a bus the way you would a taxi. Destination is listed in the window. If you aren't sure where to get off, just tell the driver and they will let you know. If you see your stop, just speak up with "stop please" and the driver will pull over. Buses usually run until 8-9 at night, after which you will have to pay a taxi.
Helpful hint. If you are paying with $10 or 20 bills, make sure to pay when you get on the bus so the driver can get you change. Otherwise, you can pay as you get off.
Segways seem to be the way many tour companies like to take tourist around the island. It's easier than loading people on a bus and you can take the segway on sidewalks, streets and small alleys unlike a car or bus. I was so surprised to see them in such high use on the islands; I had only seen them used heavily at Disney World.
Exploring any place on foot is usually the best way to see everything. Walking around allows the opportunity to see hidden areas and small alleys full of interesting and fun things. Liz and I enjoyed exploring St. Maarten on foot and finding off the beaten path shopps and vendors with their interesting goods.
Taxis rates on the island are set by the government which is nice so you don't get screwed or taken for a "ride". Taxis are easy to come by and can be seen all over Philipsburg. The rates aren't bad but I prefer the water taxis.
Liz and I hopped aboard the Emerald Princess for a Caribbean Cruise out of Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades). The Cruise Ports includes stops at: Princes Cays, St. Maarten/St. Martin, Grand Turk and St. Thomas. I was a nice seven day cruise with beautiful weather and a great ship.
Princess likes to give the big ship feeling without it being overwhelming which is hard to do when the ship can accomodate 3,070 passengers. Princess managed to give us a relaxing cruise where we didn't feel rushed. The ship was very nice with 4 pools, several restaurants, a spa, varius lounges and clubs, shopping and more. The Piazza area was their version of a centrum through the middle of the ship with retail , dining rooms, clubs and bars surrounding the area. The staff aboard were very nice and attentive. I enjoyed that this line attracts an "older crowd", less children and less of the party puking variety twenty somethings that other cruise lines tend to cater to.
We chose this cruise in particular due to their port choices and were happy at the smooth embarkation and disembarkation process. Checking onto the ship was also a breeze with our rooms being ready immediately and our luggage arriving quickly.
The shows and entertainment were great fun and we enjoyed the Movies Under the Stars. The food in the dining room is not as good as Royal Caribbean but there were several nights that "Wowed" me. We did like that there were plenty of quick food options such as burgers, hit dogs, pizzas, sandwiches and pastries that were not from the buffet. The drink selection and prices were very good and we enjoyed the variety of themed lounges as well as pool bars.
This was a great cruise and we were very happy to sail Princess. We look forward to our next cruise with them which we have already booked.
The easiest way to get to Philipsburg from the Cruise Port was to take a water taxi. There are plenty of taxis available and the cost is low at $6 per person roundtrip. Once you purchase your fare they put a colored bracelet on your wrist to identify you have paid the fare. The water taxis are in good condition with plenty of seating. The crew is very friendly and play some good music along with ride.
The water taxi is an excellent way to see the boats and view the town from the water. It is a fun way to reach Philipsburg.
**Make sure to throw some money in the tip jar after your trip. These guys make very litle and are extremely friendly despite that.**
The island has tourism as its main source of income and much of that is from the thousands of tourists who call at the island when their cruise ships dock for the day. Many ships include the island on their itinary.
We travelled to the island on 'Freedom of the Seas'
Make sure you shop rental car prices before you get to the island and make a reservation, as prices are highly variable and negotiable between agencies. Make sure you get a smaller car unless you have lots of luggage as most of the roads aren't very wide and it is much easier to park a smaller car on the street. Try to steer clear of Philipsburg during the morning and afternoon rush hours as traffic can get very heavy toward Front Street.