Christmas in the Caribbean
13 days with Ponant Rating:
DAY 1 – FORT-DE-FRANCE
Departure at 23H30.
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 – PORTSMOUTH
With its mountainous terrain, vast tropical forest, hot springs, rivers and spectacular waterfalls, Dominica is undoubtedly the wildest island in the Caribbean. Protected by several national parks, this little-known land, located in the heart of the Caribbean Sea, between Guadeloupe and Martinique, will inspire adventure and exploration. During your port of call, do not miss out on discovering the enchanting landscapes of the Indian River: navigating through this dense mangrove, in which creepers, ferns, forest trees and giant roots are interweaved, is a magical experience, a fascinating voyage into the heart of an almost mystical natural universe.
DAY 3 – 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 4 – SOUFRIÈRE
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 5 – 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 6 – MAYREAU ISLAND
Among the string of paradisiac islands with their white sandy beaches that form the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines archipelago, Mayreau is the smallest. Its peaceful and idyllic atmosphere, far from the madding crowd, invites you to relax. Onshore, make the most of a shaded and fully equipped beach, from where you’ll be able to set off snorkelling to explore superb coral gardens overflowing with life and colour.
DAY 7 – 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 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 – BONAIRE
Surrounded by a barrier reef and a marine sanctuary, Bonaire is a true paradise for divers. This peaceful and preserved little island is renowned all over the world for its coral reefs, which are directly accessible from the beach, providing a unique sensation of freedom. Discover magnificent marine fauna and flora while snorkelling or diving in its turquoise waters. The Washington Slagbaai National Park in the north of the island is home to many birds. It is the most important breeding site in the south Caribbean for the pink flamingo, the island’s emblematic animal.
DAY 10 – AT SEA
DAY 11 – CARTAGENA
A splendid harbour city in the north of Columbia, a source of inspiration for the Columbian writer Gabriel García Márquez, Cartagena will win you over with its well-preserved colonial architecture, and warm friendly atmosphere. You can visit the sumptuous UNESCO World Heritage fortified historical centre whose churches and houses have magnificent multi-coloured façades. A witness of Spanish domination, the San Felipe de Barajas fortress stands on top of a hill from where you can admire views over the whole city. The Las Bóvedas neighbourhood will charm you with its arcades, used as prison cells during the 19th century civil wars.
DAY 12 – SAN BLAS ISLANDS
Located on the north-east coast of Panamá, the San Blas archipelago is a string of coral islands that graces the heart of the Caribbean Sea. Over 300 islands and cays covering an area of 300 square kilometres offer travellers a multitude of treasures. Sheltered behind a long coral reef, the San Blas Islands are full of paradisiac anchorages. The long sandy white beaches bounded by crystal clear waters will allow you to relax and enjoy an incredible marine fauna before discovering the Kunas Indian community. Still feeding off hunting and fishing, they will welcome you in their villages of bamboo houses gathered near the beaches.
DAY 13 – COLÓN
Disembarkation at 07H00.
Colón is the second largest city in Panama, at the Caribbean entrance of the Panama Canal. Colón is today an important port, and the free trade zone created in 1953 contributed greatly to the development of the city. Colón was founded in 1850 by Americans working on the Panama railroad connecting the Atlantic and Pacific coasts through the isthmus of Panama; the city rapidly overshadowed the older Caribbean ports of Panama when the canal opened.
All This Included
Join us aboard Le Dumont-d’Urville for an exceptional PONANT cruise sailing from Fort-de-France to Colon. This 13-day itinerary will give you the opportunity to appreciate the richness of Afro-Caribbean cultures, an azure blue sky and white-sand beaches.
Leaving from Martinique, you will head in the direction of 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.
You will also discover the idyllic beaches of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, renowned for the richness of their underwater world. In a setting of white sand, turquoise water and lagoons, you will enjoy some unforgettable bathing.
On the island of Grenada, the elegant capital Saint George's will charm you with its particularly picturesque settings in a very pretty bay.
Then, you will visit the city of Cartagena de Indias in Colombia. Heavily influenced by its colonial past, it offers a number of interesting sights and landmarks.
Finally, succumb to the charms of the clear waters of Panama and the San Blas archipelago, composed of more than 300 islands and cays. Here, surrounded by palm trees and dugout canoes, you will discover the crafts and culture of the the Kuna people.
Cruising: Standard cabin onboard Le Champlain or Le Dumont d'Urville
Terms and Conditions
For Ponant terms and conditions, please click here.
* 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.