A slice of France in the Caribbean’s Lesser Antilles islands

With a distinctive blend of French influences and West Indian culture, Martinique offers a range of unique experiences for cruise guests to discover

A slice of France in the Caribbean’s Lesser Antilles islands
The 17th-century fortress of Fort Saint-Louis juts out into the bay of Fort-de-France

Located in the heart of the Lesser Antilles islands between Dominica and St. Lucia, Martinique is a distinctly French destination in the Caribbean. The island’s French influences combined with its native West Indian music, dance, cuisine and cultural heritage, offers unique experiences for visitors to explore and enjoy.  

The Pointe Simon Cruise Terminal offers a pier capable of receiving ships up to 450 metres in length in downtown Fort-de-France, while Tourelles Cruise Terminal offers four berths ranging from 83 to 325 metres in length 15 minutes from the city centre. The Cruise Village welcomes guests to the island with English-speaking vendors selling a range of local arts, crafts, jewellery, accessories and souvenirs, as well as guides offering tips on what to see and do during port calls. The facility also hosts regular live music and Creole dance performances and offers opportunities for visitors to taste Martinique’s famous rhum agricole beverages.  

Cruise guests can then explore the capital of Martinique on a walking tour, taking in sights such as the traditional market, La Savane Park public garden, and the Schoelcher Library, which was built for the 1898 World Expo in Paris. Guided tours are also available for Fort Saint-Louis, a fortress initially carved from a rocky promontory jutting out into the bay of Fort-de-France in 1640. The fortress now towers almost 200 feet over the bay and will be one of the first buildings guests will see as they approach the city by ship.  

Outside the city, visitors can explore the south of the island with a ride in a 4x4 vehicle, visiting attractions such as the Trois Rivières rum distillery, the fishing village of Anse Dufour and the town of Les Trois-Îlets. Snorkelling experiences provide the chance to swim with angelfish, parrotfish and other local sea life, while kayaking through the mangrove forests of Martinique will enable guests to learn more about the local fauna.  

Those interested in history can take a trip to La Savane des Esclaves, a recreation of a former Maroons village where slaves who escaped from sugar cane plantations once lived. Here, they will gain an insight into the story of slavery on the island and the resistance of local Martinicans. Meanwhile, a visit to the Musée de la banana will let guests learn more about the long history of banana-growing on the island and discover the 44 banana species in the museum’s park.

This article was first published in the 2022 issue of Cruise & Ferry Itinerary Planning. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. 

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Alex Smith
By Alex Smith
14 January 2022

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