ST MAARTIN ROYAL CARIBBEAN EXCURSION "BEACH SENSATION" WAS HORRIBLE
Royal Caribbean admits in their ticket contract that they have nothing to do with the excursion companies they use as "independent contractors" to handle their passenger activities. Except that they collect the money.
This was obvious from the start when we found our excursion was OVERSOLD, which forced us to ride in small UNCOMFORTABLE pull-out seats in what I would describe as a "chicken bus". If you've been in Latin America, you'll know what I mean by "chicken bus". Of the other 7 cruise ships in port at the same time, Royal Caribbean's Beach Sensation excursion was conducted in the smallest, nastiest bus when compared to the larger, nice buses used by the other cruise lines. Speaking of nasty, I reported verbal abuse to Royal Caribbean's Excursion Desk (in front of Sorrento's restaurant on the ship). The woman who took our tickets and then lost our group on the way to the bus. She had stopped holding up the sign halfway through the long walk to the "bus" and lost us in the sea of at least 4 cruise ships unloading at the same time. She never stopped to regroup. It took us about 15 minutes to locate our "bus" at which time the tall man also became verbally abusive to my party of three.
Riding this bus to Marigot was awful. We got dumped off the Bus from Hell in Marigot for 1.5 hours of shopping. At one point at the edge of the shopping tents I was alone when a man approached me and asked "would you like a young girl?". I looked over and saw what looked like marijuana cigarettes on the table next to him. The situation obviously looked like a police sting or some sort of extortion scheme. I just walked away and rejoined my friends nearby. Be warned.
Back on the Royal Caribbean Chicken Bus, we were off to Orient Beach for 3-4 hours of beach time which included "lunch". The "lunch" was horrible - nasty chicken and some sort of ribs (goat?) with huge piles of mashed potatoes and rice. YUCK! Best of all: the beer was cheap.
On the beach, we went swimming and generally enjoying the beach when the Wicked Witch from Hell suddenly reappeared right in front of our lounge chairs. She began waving her arms and screaming at us in front of other folks on the excursion. She was upset that we got separated from the group by yelling "WHERE WERE YOU?" I replied to her "where were you? … why didn't you stop and regroup? why did you stop holding up the sign?" My 2 friends with me agreed and she stormed off the beach, not to be seen again.
We advised Royal Caribbean's excursion rep that we didn't appreciate (1) being abused and insulted in front of other passengers and (2) the excursion had been oversold given the poor condition and discomfort of the "chicken bus" and (3) the "lunch" was inedible.
What did Royal Caribbean do for us? They refunded $15.80 of the $79.00 paid per person.
Overall, the Sonny Liston shopping-beach tour was good. With caveats. They picked us up on time and got us back to the boat on time. The Magen's Bay Beach was chosen by the driver and the charge of $4 per person was required. We could have gone to Sapphire Beach, but Elvis (the driver) said it was too rough as it was on the Atlantic. I didn't like Magen Bay Beach - there was trash everywhere, the public facilities nasty, it was crowded and there were no waves. The driver picked us up at the right time but then took us on a long ride to the other side of the island because he needed to "find one guy". This became annoying as the delay took us back to the ship as darkness began and the driving was, at times, quite scary.