The Caribbean & French Guiana
11 days with Ponant Rating:
DAY 1 – FORT-DE-FRANCE
Departure at 21H00.
Located on the western coast of Martinique, Fort-de-France will amaze you by the splendour of its bay, a magnificent cut-out in the coastline, considered as one of the most beautiful in the world. At the harbour mouth, on its strip of land, fort Saint-Louis overlooks the capital city of Martinique. If you climb up to it, you can see some breath-taking views. Saint Louis Cathedral and the Schoelcher library bear witness to a secular history, intimately linked to the island’s story. Why not try some fresh coconut at the colourful Grand Marché. Two really pleasant places you can take a breather in, right in the heart of the city, are the garden of Balata and the Aimé Césaire park.
DAY 2 – LES SAINTES
During the feast of All Saints in 1493, Christopher Columbus discovered this archipelago of nine islands that he named "The Saints". Today, only two of them are inhabited. Terre de Haut, in the east, is dominated by the Morne Mire hill; at the summit stands Fort Napoleon, paying homage to the islands' history. In the heart of the botanical garden, shared by iguanas and cacti, there is an exceptional view of the Baie des Saintes, one of the most beautiful in the world. On Terre-de-Bas, you'll be charmed by the authenticity of the village of Petites-Anses. Off the coast of the "Saints" archipelago, traditional fishing vessels sail the blue seas of the Caribbean. Don't turn down a coconut "tourment d'amour", a sweet treat you'll be offered when you disembark.
DAY 3 – PIGEON POINT, SOUFRIÈRE
Linked to St Lucia by a sand causeway, Pigeon Island has been a designated National Park since 1979. The tropical vegetation of this wild, protected island is home to abundant birdlife. It is easy to explore on foot; the remains of Fort Rodney offer an insight into the region's naval history as well as fabulous views. Two beautiful beaches nestle on the southern side of the island, where you can take a scuba dive adventure, an exciting mix of diving and snorkelling.
Nestled in the crook of a breath-taking bay, the former capital of St Lucia is brimming with attractions. Soufrière is famous for The Pitons, volcanic spires that tower over the entrance to the town, and you will fall in love with its authentic Creole charm and warm friendly atmosphere. As well as diving and swimming off exquisite beaches, don't miss Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens for the mineral baths, one of the natural wonders of the Caribbean.
DAY 4 – BRIDGETOWN
Bridgetown, the bustling capital of Barbados, is located on the island's south-west coast. Its historic quarters are UNESCO World Heritage sites and contain prime examples of British colonial architecture, which you will see between the postcard-perfect fishing harbour and St Ann's Fort. Streets shaded by palms and flamboyant trees lead you to the Anglican cathedral church of St Michael, built from coral stone, the Barbados Museum and George Washington House, a Georgian-style mansion. There'll be plenty of time to relax on the Caribbean beaches of Carlisle Bay, a few paces from the old town centre.
DAY 5 – PORT ELIZABETH, BEQUIA ISLAND
In the heart of the Caribbean, Bequia is the second-largest of 32 islands that make up the country of St Vincent and the Grenadines. This secluded island, strongly attached to its tradition of whale hunting, is popular with visiting yachties and divers. Port Elizabeth, the island's main town, has a lively atmosphere and further afield tropical rainforest and white-sand beaches provide a natural setting for peaceful walks.
DAY 6 – SAINT GEORGE'S, GRENADA
Delicately set against the back of a bay on the west coast of Grenada, Saint George’s attracts newcomers by the beauty of its location and its friendly, festive atmosphere. This “spice island” capital is an excellent base for visiting the surrounding natural sites, but you’ll also want to spend some time here moseying around its narrow streets where colonial houses and lush green gardens coexist. Carenage is Saint George’s lively commercial fishing harbour, high in colour, especially when the boats are being loaded with fruit and vegetables destined for neighbouring islands. 5 kilometres south, the Grand Anse beach is one of the most beautiful in the Caribbean islands.
DAY 7 – PORT-OF-SPAIN, TRINIDAD
DAY 8 – AT SEA
During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.
DAY 9 – PARAMARIBO
The many facets of Paramaribo, the capital of Suriname, a small South-American country nestling between French Guiana and Guyana, will undoubtedly surprise you and fill you with wonder. This former colonial town was established by the Dutch in the 17th century. The historic city is home to many buildings made of wood and red bricks: a simple architecture that has been enriched over the centuries under the influence of the growing ethnic diversity of the population. Be sure to visit the Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral and the presidential palace in the historic inner city, now on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
DAY 10 – SALVATION ISLANDS
Lying off the coast of Kourou, an essential element of any trip to Guiana, the Islands of Salvation were known as the "Islands of the Devil" because of the strong sea currents that made access to them perilous. Once infamous for being the site of a jail with very harsh conditions of detention, where Alfred Dreyfus was exiled, today they are a peaceful place where coconut palms cast shade over the crystal-clear waters. During your cruise, we invite you to make a timeless journey to visit the many remains of the prison that are still visible, including cells and the abandoned hospital.
DAY 11 – CAYENNE
Disembarkation at 07H00.
Capital of French Guyana located more than 7,000 km from the French mainland, Cayenne offers a harmonious ensemble of monuments, beaches and old creole houses on the eastern side of the South American continent. Between history and modernity, the city is marked by the presence of the former prisons, the vestiges of which can be seen on the Salvation Islands. This port of call will give you the opportunity to visit two museums, the Musée local de la Guyana and the Musée des cultures guyanaises, and learn more about the historic and cultural interests of the region. The Place des Palmistes, with its three soaring Guisanbourg palm trees, is the main square in Cayenne It provides the setting for a variety of events throughout the year.
All This Included
Set sail for a cruise to the heart of the most enchanting islands in the Caribbean Sea, up to the tropical rainforest of French Guiana. PONANT offers you a 11-day circuit aboard Le Dumont-d’Urville, from Fort-de-France to Cayenne.
Leaving from Martinique, your first stop will be Les Saintes, a highly popular anchorage site with crystal-clear waters and fabulous seabed. You will then set sail to the beautiful island of Saint Lucia. Close to the Soufriere volcano, you will be enchanted by the two emblematic rocky pitons, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which form the backdrop to the island.
Then discover Saint Vincent and the Grenadines archipelago and Bequia Island, the “whale-hunting island,” and its wild and unspoiled coastline. You will enjoy the lively atmosphere of Port Elizabeth, the island’s main town. During your call at the island of Grenada, visit its elegant capital, St. Georges, a particularly picturesque town dotted with pastel-coloured colonial houses nestled in a very pretty bay.
After a day in Trinidad, you will then chart a course towards the picturesque town of Paramaribo in Surinam, before a call at the Salvation Islands. This will be the occasion to visit the former prisons which once held political prisoners and convicts, deep in the lush vegetation.
Cruising: Standard cabin onboard Le Dumont d’Urville
Terms and Conditions
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* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.