Icon of the seas will be making its inaugural St. Maarten

Boat Spotting: Eleven Iconic Ships to look out for when on St. Maarten/ ST. Martin

You knew St. Maarten was a great plane spotting  paradise – but did you know St. Maarten is a key yachting hub of the Caribbean too? When getting around on St. Maarten keep an eye out for this series of special ships !




1. Below Deck’s Honor (now: Lumiere)


St. Maarten twice was the décor for the world famous yachting reality tv series “Below Deck” Center stage in the first series was 50-meter (164-foot) yacht Honor and its crew led by captain Lee Rosbach. In fact, the real name of the yacht was “Cuor di Leone”, built by Benetti in 1999. Now, its name is “Lumiere”, and you might run into it during St Maarten winter yachting season. It will not be with Captain Rosbach however; he served the ship solely for the series.



2. The Edge by Aqua Mania

A very special boat design is that of Aqua  Mania’s  Edge, connecting St Maarten to Saba. Its two “skis” give the boat both stability and speed as this fast ship ploughs its way through the waves to Saba in only slightly over an hour.



3. Sea Rescue’s Dolphin

Both day and night, St. Maarten’s seas (and those surrounding it) are guarded by the wholly voluntary St. Maarten Sea Rescue Foundation. Its new flagship MS Dolphin, a rebuilt Anguilla coastguard vessel, as well as its sidekick MS Chief, can be seen daily at Philipsburg Marina – unless the boat is out for training or its life saving duties of course. The ships are easily recognizable for their bright orange and blue design.



4. Wind Surf by Windstar

Of all ships visiting the St. Maarten cruise port, the Wind Surf is a special one. This impressive sailing ship docks on St. Maarten many high season weekends as the island is the ships’ home base for its Caribbean itineraries. A magnificent sight on itself!



5. Icon of the Seas

As of its maiden voyage in January 2024, the world’s largest cruise ship” Icon of the Seas” docks regularly on St. Maarten. This 5610 passenger (with space for expansion up to 7000), 2300 crew vessel is a not to miss spectacle in the Philipsburg harbor. The vessels previously holding the title of world’s largest cruise ship, “Allure of the Seas”, “Harmony of the Seas”, “Oasis of the Seas” and “Wonder of the Seas”, also frequent St. Maarten.



6. Pyratzsxm

If you see the ships of “Pyratz” popping by, they are after something else than your average snorkeling trip. The Pyratz catamarans do high end food tours, unfolding their barbecue at some of St. Maarten’s / St. Martins prettiest beaches. If this is your type of tour, make sure you book well in advance!



7. FRISCs of the Royal Dutch Marines

Around Great Bay and beyond, you might see exercises by the Royal Dutch Marines with their FRISCs (Fast Raiding Interception Special Forces Craft) used for amphibious operations. As with all autonomous countries in the Dutch Kingdom (Aruba, Curacao, the Netherlands) St. Maarten boasts its own base of this oldest marine corps in the world. The local base and its battalion in Philipsburg assist in maintenance of safety around the islands. Every year, the corps organizes the “Beat the Marines” Event and Marines Run in Philipsburg. A few times a year, larger Dutch marine ships can be seen mooring in Philipsburg’s harbor too.



8. Mega yachts


St. Maarten is a yachting hub, and especially in the winter season, you will notice. In the Simpson Bay Lagoon and the Philipsburg Marina, you will find many megayachts anchoring. A sight on itself.



9. VO65


The Volvo Ocean 65 or VO65 is a specially developed ship for the Volvo Ocean Race around the world. One is on island in the Simpson Bay Area, but at the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta you will find more of these superfast sailing ships as competitors. At the event, you can very possibly also see VO70s racing.



10. The Rusty Parrot


To be a ship or not to be a ship – in any case, the Rusty Parrot very much looks like one, and until you stand in front of this unique ship, you probably have perceived the “Parrot” to be one. This multimedia pirate activity Centre was built as a shipwreck site. Though it (will) never set sail, this galleon will teach you a lot about nautical history.




11. Celebrity Beyond of Kate McCue


Cruise vessel Celebrity Beyond by now has a true celebrity behind the steering wheel. Captain Kate McCue has posted many insights about life leading a huge cruise vessel on social media, making her a phenomenon amongst cruise fans. The Captain’s Daily Log on social media amongst others keeps track of the ships location and daily life on board. Regardless of the fact St. Maarten is a popular port of call for crews to shop around, given this busy double career we deem it unlikely you will run into her in Philipsburg. But the impressive Celebrity Beyond, you very well might!





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