We took a taxi over to Cabbage Beach on Paradise Island. We rented an umbrella and chairs from the vendors on the beach. They want $30 for the umbrella - don't pay them more than $15. Don't pay more than about $8 for a chair - they want about $15. They were offering wave runner rides and we heard them go as low as $50. I think they started negotiations around $100.
We had a good time on Cabbage Beach. It's beautiful and there are several vendors selling drinks (alcoholic and non) and snacks.
Beware of making sure you knock the sand off your feet and ankles when you sit down. My husband did and I didn't. Guess who had all th sand flea bites?
We booked Best Island Jeep Safari at https://secure.shoretrips.com/excursion/region-car-sxm-058682/caribbean-central-america/st-martin-st-maarten/best-island-jeep-safari The experience was fantastic! We ended up being the only two people booked on the tour, so we essentially had a private tour guide for several hours. He was wonderful and informative. Whatever tour you take on St. Maarten, make sure it takes you through both the Dutch (St. Maarten) and French (St. Martin) sides. The ships dock on the Dutch side and it's all most people ever see. Don't just go to the tourist boardwalk that could be on any island. Really see the place!
Skip the open air market on St. Martin, as the items for sale are all made in China. It's a tourist trap.
Make sure your tour guide takes you to the best place to see the wild iguanas. Tell him you know about the place with the chickens with the small pond where the guides routinely feed the iguanas to keep them staying around. It's unbelievable! Iguanas everywhere! Lounging in trees, crawling out from under bushes, swimming in the pond, etc. When the guides unwrap their tin foil of lettuce and other things the iguanas come running like dogs. Truly an unbelievable experience. My niece has told everyone about having a wild iguana lick her toe. Some of them were small like a large lizard, and there was a big guy who must have been at least 40 pounds. There was also everything in between. When the guide takes you there you'll see some broken down buildings and think it's where you're going to be robbed and killed, but it's one of the best parts of the tour.
Our trip did not include lunch. It was a fabulous excursion and the crew was so much fun. They were all around their 20's and were Americans. They made the experience a good one and said they did so so that they "didn't have to go back to the states and get a real job." Great job! So much fun and wonderful snorkeling! They're in the water with you to make sure they point out things you shouldn't miss.
This skyride is terrific! The view is truly amazing. We loved it and spent some time sitting up there. There is a little cafe where you can order food and beverages.
Get their early! Head there at a fast pace immediately when you can get off the ship to get ahead of the line. It's walkable, but is several blocks. By getting there early you can save more of your day for other things instead of waiting in long lines.