Simpson Bay, St Maarten
We had an awesome time on the boats and snorkeling! We had plenty of time on the mini boats and snorkeling. There were beautiful views of different parts of the island as we went on the boats and plenty of different types of fish (including an white eagle ray!) when we were snorkeling. The guide was really great - he even pulled out different sea creatures (urchins and starfish) from the bottom of the ocean and brought them up for us to view and hold. He passed out some refreshments before we headed back to shore which was really nice. One thing to watch out for, un-beknownst to the guide, they had overbooked our trip by one couple and didn't have the extra boat working/available (I know this books thru viator and cruise lines for the same tour). I would make sure you check-in with the desk across from the boats prior to coming down to check-in with the guide/get in your boat to ensure everything is all set, and get there 15 minutes early just in case these issues arise (though who knows how often they happen). Best excursion of our trip and the 10am tour isn't super early and gives you enough time to check out the rest of St. Maarten prior to returning to the ship. Enjoy!
Tour guide was friendly - tour was great price online for what they offered. He had us walk around to all the main sites we were interested in seeing (top 10 list for Istanbul), and gave us commentary at each that was informational and not boring. We had some time for pictures at each place which was nice, but my husband and myself were always done before most people so we did spend some time waiting for other people (or relaxing, I guess). Lunch was included, but drinks were not. It was a pretty fair restaurant, but nothing special. We were led to a "carpet presentation" which included a free drink, but also included salesman that were acting very aggressively after a 15-20 minute sales pitch for rugs priced from $3,500+. We were not interested in spending that kind of cash and did not see that on the excursion info. Either, so were a bit disappointed there, especially since we killed ~30 min. waiting for other people to escape the salesman when we were able to dart out quickly right after the pitch. I would recommend this tour and all that it covers, and the ease of getting around. However, I think the carpet presentation should be removed or be optional.
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