European Cruising Meets Dutch Heritage in St. Maarten

Sun sets tonight on MSC Divina’s Infinity Pool located on Deck 15 aft. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Aaron Saunders, Live Voyage Reports
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Just after eight o’clock this morning, MSC Cruises’ MSC Divina came alongside in the island paradise that is Philipsburg, St. Maarten.
Discovered by Christopher Columbus on November 11, 1493, the town itself was actually founded nearly 300 years later. In 1763, John Philips – a Scottish captain serving in the Dutch navy – officially created the town, humbly naming it in honour of his own glorious visage.

MSC Divina docked in St. Maarten today. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

MSC Divina docked in St. Maarten today. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

But St. Maarten isn’t just a Dutch Overseas Colony. No. It’s also a French Overseas Territory, with the town of Marigot serving as the capital of the French side of the island, Sint Marten. Because of its dual Dutch/French heritage, the atmosphere on the island is a curious blend of Europeanism and Caribbean traditions all wrapped into one. St. Maarten is an independent colony of the Netherlands; the French side is part of the Eurozone – making the island one of the only places in the world where you can actually cross into Europe without border controls.

Even this two-dimensional character on Deck 16 is excited about our arrival in Philipsburg! Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Even this two-dimensional character on Deck 16 is excited about our arrival in Philipsburg! Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

It also wasn't a bad morning to be out by MSC Divina's Aqua Park midships pool, either! Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

It also wasn’t a bad morning to be out by MSC Divina’s Aqua Park midships pool, either! Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

How Far Cruising Has Come: The classic Thomson Celebration, ex. Noordam, was built in 1984...and looks positively tiny compared to our massive ship. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders
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