Fort de France, Martinique

Fort-de-FRance, Martinique

Introduction to Fort de France, Martinique

Martinique's lively, unmistakably French capital.

The largest city on the island of Martinique, Fort-de-France is surrounded by steep green hills into which are tucked houses in a bewildering array of shapes and sizes. In the centre many major buildings are made out of iron. These include the extraordinary Cathédrale St-Louis, which was largely rebuilt in 1978 in the style of a 19th century predecessor and the Schoelcher Library, built for the 1889 Paris World Fair and shipped to the island piece by piece.

There are a couple of interesting museums in the town. The Regional Ethnography Museum has displays on the sugar-cane industry which sustained the islands and on the slaves who worked in the plantations. The Museum of Archaeology – exploring the island’s pre-Colombian past – stands in front of La Savane gardens. This delightful open space has tree-shaded walks and formal floral displays, sur-rounded by charming bars, cafés and some chic boutiques.

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NORTH DISCOVERY BY CATAMARAN (TOUR N)

·         Explore the island’s north coast by sea

·         Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins

·         Relax on one of the island’s many beautiful beaches

Boat Tour
Price£100.00 - £110.00
DurationApproximately 7 ½ hours
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Snack includedSnack included
Refreshments includedRefreshments included
Shopping time includedShopping time included
Swimming time includedSwimming time included

Discover the rugged north coast of Martinique aboard a comfortable sailing catamaran.

 

To begin this tour, you will head to thepier, where you will meet the friendly crew. You will then set sail for the north of the island. Relax as you glide along the calm, blue waters with the warm Caribbean breeze on your face and watch for the playful dolphins that may join you along the way.

 

Your captain will inform you of points of interest as you pass, including the Carbet Cliffs, Bellemare and Mount Pelee.

 

Arriving in the beautiful Bay of St Pierre, step ashore to discover this city full of history and stories. Ruins around the city testify to its prestigious past, and the disaster that struck in 1902 when Mount Pelee erupted. You may also wish to sample some local flavours by visiting the local market.

 

Boarding your catamaran, continue your journey to Carbet, where you will moor for lunch. You will have the opportunity to board a zodiac to the hot, black sand of the beach — the average sea temperature is an inviting 27o C. You will have approximately one hour at leisure to spend as you please. Meanwhile, your crew will prepare a delicious lunch, which will be served on board.

 

Refreshed, the captain will steer a course for another of the island’s stunning beaches, where you are invited to swim, and spend the afternoon exploring the coral reefs with the masks and snorkels provided.

 

All too soon, it is time to return to port, and your awaiting ship.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2017 /18 CARIBBEAN CRUISES

 

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour involves a moderate amount of walking, although guests may remain on board the catamaran at each of the stops if they wish. All guests participating in this tour must be able to board the catamaran unaided, and this will include negotiating two steps.. Guests who suffer from seasickness are advised to take precautionary medication prior to joining this tour. Don’t forget to wear your swimming costume underneath casual clothing and to bring adequate sun protection and a towel. Snorkels and masks are provided. It is not advisable to drink alcohol if you are planning to swim. For reference, the captain reserves the right to amend the itinerary depending on sea conditions.


TOUR C - DISCOVER MARTINIQUE

 

·         Visit the renowned St James Distillery and Rum Museum and gain an insight into the production process

·         Enjoy a creole lunch at La Chaudière Restaurant

·         Spend time at St Pierre — the ‘Caribbean Pompeii’

Activity Tour
Price£75.00 - £85.00
DurationApproximately 7 hours
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Snack includedSnack included
Shopping time includedShopping time included

Immerse yourself in the history and culture of Martinique on this insightful tour.

Departing the quayside, travel to Sainte Marie, situated on the east coast of Martinique. Located here is the well known St James Distillery and Rum Museum, where you can learn about the history of Saint James Rum and the unique Creole column distillation process. This unique method of continuous distillation injects the cane wine from the top of the column whilst steam is injected from the bottom. When they meet, the most volatile elements of the liquid evaporate and are condensed, before being left to age.

Continue your drive, passing quaint villages, and pause at Lorrain the largest town on the North Atlantic coast where you can capture stunning views of the rugged coastline lined with cliffs and black sand beaches. Arriving at Morne Rouge, your next stop is La Chaudière Restaurant, where you can enjoy a typical Creole lunch.

Refreshed, your journey continues to St Pierre, once considered to be the cultural capital of Martinique. Known as the ‘Caribbean Pompeii’, the town was destroyed in 1902 by a volcanic eruption, which was often referred to as the worst volcanic disaster of the 20th century, killing around 30,000 people. There was however one survivor — a prisoner, Cyparis, escaped the disaster as he had been placed in an underground cell. A visit to the Volcanological Museum provides an insight into the tragic history of the area, and here you can view photographs of the disaster, and charred artefacts that were discovered following the eruption.

Return to the quayside and your awaiting ship via the west coast, passing small fishing villages en route.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2017/18 CARRIBEAN CRUISE SEASON

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour involves a moderate amount of walking. Comfortable flat shoes are recommended. For reference, your drive will encounter winding roads and some hairpin bends, therefore it may not be suitable for guests who suffer from vertigo. Guests who suffer from motion sickness are advised to take precautionary medication prior to joining the tour. All guests must be able to board the tour transport unaided. Photography is not permitted in the Museum of St Pierre. There is a walk of approximately 200 metres (656 feet) from the ship to our tour transport, and vice versa. Please note that the drive from the quayside to St James Rum Distillery takes approximately one hour, and the drive from St Pierre back to the quayside takes one hour — a comfort stop will not be made en route. For your information, this tour may be operated in reverse.


TOUR D - RUM & BANANAS

  • Visit a working banana plantation and learn about Martinique’s most important export
  • Explore the Clement Plantation and its botanical gardens
  • Admire pyramids of barrels, before savouring the taste of rum
Price£40.00 - £50.00
DurationApproximately 4 1/2 Hours
LimitationLimited Capacity
Walking level 3 - extensive walkingExtensive walking
Refreshments includedRefreshments included
Free time includedFree time included
Shopping time includedShopping time included

Expand your knowledge of local produce with this tour visiting two of Martinique’s leading plantations.

Leaving your ship, enjoy a scenic drive to Lamentin, one of Martinique’s largest towns. Here you will find the Belfort Banana Plantation, where you can learn about the production of one of the island’s most important exports. Upon arrival, board a small open-air tram for a tour of the banana fields. Discover the process of growing, irrigating, and harvesting this popular fruit; see where the farmhands live and - of course - sample some of the delicious produce.

Continue to the town of Le Francois on the east coast. Surrounded by fragrant cane fields is the Clement Plantation House which was visited by former US President Bush and French President Mittrand in 1991 towards the end of the Gulf War. Enjoy a brief tour of the extensive botanical gardens, featuring a tropical orchard, ponds and over 300 botanical species of plants.

Next, your guide will provide you with an insight into the history of the island’s industrial past at the plantation’s old distillery, where you will find an exhibition of traditional distilling techniques and machinery. Rum has been produced here using traditional methods since 1887. Explore the vast cellars, where oak barrels of rum are stacked in vast pyramids, and sample some of this popular spirit!

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2017/18 CARIBBEAN SEASON

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour involves approximately one and a half hours of walking, some of which will be over grassy terrain and gravel pathways. Guests will need to be 18 years or over to sample rum at the distillery. There are approximately 60 steps to negotiate at the Clement Plantation, therefore unfortunately this tour is not recommended for guests with limited mobility or wheelchair users. For your information, this tour may operate in reverse order.


TOUR F - 4X4 ADVENTURE

 

·         Brace yourself for an exhilarating 4x4 adventure

·         Appreciate the tranquillity of Martinique’s rainforest

Activity Tour
Price£50.00-£70.00
DurationApproximately 4 hours
Refreshments includedRefreshments included

Go off the beaten track and discover tropical rainforests, banana plantations and magnificent views as you explore the island of Martinique by jeep.

 

Your adventure begins as you leave the ship in your 4x4 vehicle, taking the main road to St Joseph. From here you go off-road, splashing through rivers and into the heart of Martinique’s lush tropical rainforest. A short pause allows you to appreciate the area’s tranquillity, before continuing on your journey. Back on the road, you will pass banana plantations and other agricultural areas, admiring the backdrop of mountains and valleys. At the Coeur Bouliki River pause to enjoy a cool, refreshing drink in a peaceful setting surrounded by lush vegetation.

 

Don’t forget to have your camera to hand to capture the magnificent views of the bay as you return to your awaiting ship.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2017/18 CARIBBEAN CRUISE HOLIDAYS.
 

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? Whilst this tour involves minimal walking, you will be travelling both on and off-road so be prepared to be bumped around. There is a walk of approximately 200 metres (656 feet) from the ship to your tour transport, and vice versa. We do not recommend this tour to guests with limited mobility, or guests who have respiratory conditions, asthma, heart or back problems, vertigo, are recovering from surgery, or pregnant ladies. There is a short walk to the rest area at Coeur Bouliki River, which is over rocky, uneven ground, and guests are recommended to wear suitable walking shoes with good grip. If you suffer from motion sickness, it is advisable to take precautionary medicine prior to joining this tour. All jeeps are equipped with seat belts, which must be worn at all times; and seat up to six guests. You are strictly forbidden to stand when the jeeps are in motion. For your information, this tour may be operated in reverse.


TOUR G - MARTINIQUE’S BOTANICAL GARDEN

  • Enjoy a scenic drive through Fort De France and savour panoramic views
  • Explore the Jardin de Balata, the island’s most famous garden
  • Admire a birds-eye view of the garden from the treetop walkway
Activity Tour Gardening Tour
Price£35.00-£45.00
DurationApproximately 3 Hours
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Free time includedFree time included
Shopping time includedShopping time included

On this tour, discover the flora at Jardin de Balata. Featuring over 3,000 plants, it is a garden lover’s and photographer’s dream!

Leaving your ship, a short scenic drive takes you to the Sacre Coeur de Balata. Built in 1925, this replica of the famous cathedral in Paris is located in the hills above Fort de France. A short stop here provides an ideal opportunity to capture panoramic views of the island’s capital and the bay below.

Next, continue to Jardin de Balata. This privately owned garden is the result of over 30 years’ labour by horticulturist Jean-Philippe Thoze, and covers three hectares, boasting over 3,000 varieties of plants. Admire collections of palm trees, begonias, bamboo and bromeliads to name just a few during your visit.

If you are feeling adventurous, you may wish to view the garden from a different perspective – the treetop walkways offer exceptional views of your surroundings.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2017/18 CARIBBEAN CRUISE SEASON

Is this tour right for you?

 This tour involves a moderate amount of walking, some of which will be over grassy and uneven terrain. There are approximately 30 steps to negotiate at Jardin de Balata for those guests that wish to experience the treetop walkways, therefore this part of the tour is not deemed suitable for guests with limited mobility or wheelchair users. All other areas of the garden are wheelchair accessible as long as guests are able to get on and off the coach unaided. You are advised to wear comfortable walking shoes with a good grip. For reference, the order of this tour may be reversed.


TOUR H - ST PIERRE & RUM DISTILLERY

  • Relax during a scenic drive through Martinique’s rainforest
  • Visit Depaz Rum Distillery, renowned for using the world’s most coveted variety of sugar cane
  • Explore St Pierre, often referred to as the ‘Caribbean Pompeii’
Activity Tour
Price£35.00-£45.00
DurationApproximately 4 hours
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Free time includedFree time included
Shopping time includedShopping time included

On this tour, enjoy spectacular views and sample Martinique’s most famous export before a poignant visit to the Volcanological Museum in St Pierre.

Departing the quayside, a short scenic drive through Fort de France brings you to the Sacre Coeur de Balata. This replica of the Basilica of Montmartre in Paris was built in 1925 and affords a breathtaking view of the island’s capital. After a pausing briefly to capture the vistas on camera, continue your drive through the lush vegetation of Martinque’s rainforest to the Depaz Rum Distillery.

The origins of the estate date back to 1650 when the original chateau was built. The chateau and distillery found here today were rebuilt in 1917 following the volcanic eruption which destroyed the nearby town of St Pierre. Depaz uses blue cane, which is renowned for its high sugar content and distinctive flavour. This stubborn variety of sugar cane thrives in the nutrient-rich volcanic soil in the north of the island, and the rhum agricole (cane juice rum) produced here using traditional methods has a controlled designation of origin – similar to champagne. During your time here, discover the different stages of production, from harvest to aging, before tasting this exceptional product and perhaps purchasing a bottle to savour at home.

Your tour continues to St Pierre – the most famous town in Martinique, albeit for tragic reasons. Known as the ‘Caribbean Pompeii’, the town was destroyed by a volcanic eruption in 1902, which was considered one of the worst volcanic disasters of the 20th century, as around 30,000 people were killed. A visit to the Volcanological Museum gives an insight into the catastrophic history of the area; here you can view photographs of the disaster alongside charred artefacts that were uncovered following the eruption.

Return to Fort de France and your awaiting ship, en route passing through small villages including Le Carbet, where Christopher Columbus landed in 1502.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2017/18 CARIBBEAN CRUISE SEASON

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? Whilst this tour involves a total of around 45 minutes of walking, the majority of this is on flat, paved ground and ramps are provided. All guests must be able to get on and off the tour transport unaided. The photo stop at Sacre Coeur de Balata is not suitable for wheelchair users, however guests can admire the view from the tour transport if they wish. Photography is not permitted in the Museum of St Pierre. Please note that the drive from St Pierre back to the quayside takes approximately one hour – a comfort stop will not be made en route. For your information, this tour may be operated in reverse. Guests who suffer from motion sickness are advised to take precautionary medication prior to joining this tour.


TOUR J - CATAMARAN CRUISE AND TURTLE SPOTTING

  • Discover the marine biodiversity of the seas surrounding Martinique
  • Relax on the beautiful white sands of Grand Anse Beach
Beach Tour Boat Tour
Price£45.00-£55.00
DurationApproximately 3½ hours
Walking level 1 - minimal or no walkingMinimal or no walking
Refreshments includedRefreshments included
Free time includedFree time included
Swimming time includedSwimming time included

Enjoy a catamaran cruise and take the opportunity to soak up the sun on the Grand Anse Beach, or view the magical underwater world through the vessel’s glass hull.

Your day begins as you step aboard the motorised catamaran and meet your friendly crew. Fort de France Bay has recently been classed as one of the most important biodiversity hotspots in the Caribbean, and as you glide across the blue, crystalline waters, your guide will tell you more about the area and of the history of the island.

Have your camera to hand as you sail along the coast, passing the picturesque Ramier Islet and pausing briefly at Bat Cave – an area teeming with marine life and accessible only by sea.

Your cruise continues past Salomon Cape, and you will soon arrive at the stunning white sands of Grand Anse Beach. Here you will have the opportunity to either relax on the beach or view the enchanting underwater world via the vessel’s glass bottom - the waters here are perfect for spotting sea turtles!

Complete your day with a relaxing cruise back to Fort De France, and savour locally produced refreshments as you listen to traditional music.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2017/18 CARIBBEAN CRUISE SEASON

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? Whilst this tour involves minimal walking, there is a walk of approximately 100 metres (328 feet) from the ship to the catamaran. Activity whilst at Grand Anse Beach is at your own discretion. There are steps to negotiate onboard the catamaran – one from the pier, and a further eight to access the submarine viewing area. This tour is unfortunately not suitable for wheelchair users. For reference, there are no toilet facilities at Grand Anse Beach. Guests are advised to come already wearing their swimming costume underneath casual clothes, and to bring adequate sun protection. If you suffer from sea sickness it is advisable to take precautionary medication prior to joining this tour. Please note that the itinerary of this tour may be amended or cancelled without notice if sea conditions are unfavourable. Sightings of marine life, while common, cannot be guaranteed.


TOUR K - MANGROVE KAYAKING

  • Appreciate the mangroves of Martinique from the water
  • Relax on Point du Bout Beach
Activity Tour
Price£45.00-£55.00
DurationApproximately 3½ hours
Refreshments includedRefreshments included
Free time includedFree time included
Swimming time includedSwimming time included

Paddle to one of Martinique’s mangroves and discover this unique eco-system by kayak!

Meet your guide at the pier, and transfer by boat to a small islet where your kayak awaits. After a short introduction into kayaking and safety briefing, begin your journey across calm waters to the mangroves. Here, your guide will help you to discover this peaceful and atmospheric ecosystem where you may come across a variety of wildlife including crabs and birdlife.

Back at the islet, you will re-board your boat back to the ship; en route pausing at Pointe du Bout Beach, where you can relax with a drink, take a stroll on the beach or take a refreshing dip.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2016/17 CARIBBEAN CRUISE SEASON

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? Although previous experience of kayaking is not necessary, guests participating in this tour need to be in very good physical condition and strong swimmers, you will be kayaking for approximately one and a half hours. This tour is not suitable for guests with limited mobility, those who suffer from sea sickness or wheelchair users. Please note that the location of the beach stop for this tour may be adjusted without notice, and in the event of poor sea conditions the tour may be cancelled. Guests are advised to come already wearing their swimsuit underneath casual clothes, and to bring a towel and sun protection, as there are no changing facilities available. We cannot guarantee any sightings of wildlife.  For reference, there will be one or two guests to each kayak. For safety, there is a maximum weight limit of 105kg (approximately 16 stone).


TOUR M - MARTINIQUE HERITAGE

  • Learn a little of Martinique’s history
  • Visit the childhood home of Napoleon’s Josephine
  • Explore the Clement Plantation and its botanical gardens
Price£45.00 - £55.00
DurationApproximately 4 ½ hours
Walking level 3 - extensive walkingExtensive walking
Shopping time includedShopping time included

Gain an insight into the island’s past with visits to two historical sites

Departing the quayside, a short scenic drive along the south-west coast brings you to the village of Trois Islets. Here you will visit La Pagerie museum. The museum is named after the Tascher de la Pagerie family, notable members of the island’s aristocracy who owned a sugar cane plantation here in the 1700s. Whilst the full name of their daughter, Marie-Joseph Rose Tasher de la Pagerie, may not strike a chord, you are sure to have heard of her husband – Napoleon.

When she met the notorious soon-to-be French Emperor, Marie-Joseph actually went by the name Rose. Legend has it that Napoleon preferred the name Josephine, so she became known as Empress Josephine.

The cottage housing the museum was formerly the plantation’s kitchen, and houses an assortment of artefacts tracing the lives and loves of the royal couple. Wonder at Josephine’s childhood bed – still intact despite the main house being destroyed by a hurricane in 1766, and be certain to take a look at Napoleon’s hand-written letters to his love.

Next, continue to the town of Le Francois on the east coast. Surrounded by fragrant cane fields is the Clement Plantation House which was visited by former US President Bush and French President Mittrand in 1991 towards the end of the Gulf War. Enjoy a brief tour of the extensive botanical gardens, featuring a tropical orchard, ponds and over 300 botanical species of plants.

Your guide will provide you with an insight into the history of the island’s industrial past at the plantation’s old distillery, where you will find an exhibition of traditional distilling techniques and machinery. Rum has been produced here using traditional methods since 1887. Explore the vast cellars, where oak barrels of rum are stacked in vast pyramids, and sample some of this popular spirit!

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2017/18 CARIBBEAN SEASON

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? Whilst this tour involves around two hours of walking, the majority of this is on flat, gravelled paths. All guests must be able to get on and off the tour transport unaided. Please note that the drive from Le Francois back to the quayside takes approximately one hour – a comfort stop will not be made en route. For your information, this tour may be operated in reverse. Guests who suffer from motion sickness are advised to take precautionary medication prior to joining this tour. Don’t forget to wear comfortable walking shoes and bring adequate sun protection


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