Fort-de-France cruises

Martinique is part of the Lesser Antilles, sitting between Dominica and St Lucia, and is every inch as beautiful as its neighbours. It is an overseas region of France whose currency is the euro, and it possesses an appealingly French flavour. Yet this is also pure Caribbean, where bananas, pineapples, mangoes and papayas have long grown in plentiful supply from the rich volcanic soil. Indeed Mt Pelée remains semi-active, having devastated St Pierre in 1902, and the poignant ruins of its former capital make a fascinating day trip.

Fort-de-France’s Cultural Heritage

Martinique was originally home to the Arawak people, then the Caribs. Almost two centuries after Columbus’s first visit, French settlers arrived in the mid 1600s. They have remained ever since, despite the island briefly changing hands with the British several times. Their legacy is reflected in both the culture and the architecture. On one of the main northward roads out of Fort-de-France stands the domed Balata Church, which may look somewhat familiar. It’s actually a scaled down version of the Sacré Coeur in Paris; construction began on the Caribbean church in 1915, the year the Parisian original was finally completed. 

Martinique was also the birthplace of Empress Josephine, and you can visit her childhood home at La Pagerie Estate, now a museum containing, among other things, love letters from Napoleon.  

Discover Fort-de-France

Fort-de-France is one of the larger Caribbean cities. One of its earliest European buildings is Fort St Louis, whose imposing outline has guarded the headland on which it stands since the fifteenth century. Another landmark building is the Schoelcher Library, designed by Gustave Eiffel, and topped with a distinctive dome. 

Nature often takes centre stage on Martinique, and the Balata Botanical Gardens provide one of the best snapshots of the flowers that bloom across the island, with hibiscus, orchids, heliconia and bird of paradise flower among the specimens on display. The Habitation Anse Latouche makes for an interesting discovery too, with rows of cacti among the ruins of a former plantation that was destroyed during the eruption of Mt Pelée. 

For those who wish to head out onto the water, it’s also possible to explore mangroves on nearby islets by kayak. Finally, rum punch is most definitely on the menu since Martinique produces some of the Caribbean’s finest rum, as you may discover on a distillery visit.

Excursions

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

  • South Panoramic and Beach

    A panoramic tour of the South of Martinique with a stop at the beach.

    South Panoramic and Beach

    Leave Fort-de-France via the main road to reach the South of Martinique, passing close to the economical heart of the island. Before arriving at Marin village, enjoy a short photo stop at the Marin Bay viewpoint. Here, you’ll see panoramic views over the marina, which has become one of the most important places in the Caribbean Sea to welcome sailing boats. Soak up the history of this bay, where many battles took place between the English and French between the 17th and 19th Century. Reboard your coach for the short drive to Pointe Marin Beach. You’ll have approximately 1½ hours of free time at the beach to sit back and relax on the white sandy beach or splash about in the crystal clear water. Afterwards, enjoy a scenic drive down the Atlantic coastal road, as you make your way back to your ship.

    BEACH/WATER RELATED EXCURSIONS
    For any excursion involving water, passengers are reminded to exercise particular care. Alcohol and eating a full meal should be avoided before swimming. If buoyancy aids are provided for an activity they must be worn at all times. You should bear in mind that the sea is unpredictable. Lifeguards are unlikely to be present and there may not be a flag system to indicate whether or not it is safe to go in the water. In addition, beach activities may not be supervised or accompanied and so you should take care to satisfy yourself as to the safety of the beach and/or the sea at the time of your excursion. Please exercise caution when entering the sea as the seabed and aquatic environment is capable of springing surprises and we have not inspected the beach or seabed for its safety. Children must be supervised by you at all times near water. All activities on the beach, water and in the sea are undertaken at your own risk. You’ll need to take swimwear, a towel, sunscreen and flat shoes that can be worn in the water.

    LIABILITY
    Cunard Line will arrange for the excursions to be performed by the relevant excursion provider. Cuanrd line does not provide or supply the excursion services. Cunard Line Cruises will exercise reasonable care and skill in the selection of the excursion provider, but will not in any circumstances have a greater liability than the excursion supplier and Cunard Line shall not be responsible for the negligent acts/omissions of the excursion supplier. Please note that in relation to all excursions Cunard Line is not responsible or liable for any loss, damage, or injury sustained by you unless such loss, damage or injury arises out of a breach of legal duty of Cunard Line.

    TRAVEL INSURANCE
    Before booking any activity excursions it is essential that you ensure your travel insurance extends to cover the specified activity. It is your responsibility to obtain adequate insurance.

    This tour operates by coach and on foot. This tour involves approximately 20 minutes of walking. Sun chairs and umbrellas are not included but may be available for hire. Changing facilities are limited. Passengers are reminded to wear swimwear, take a towel and sunscreen. Please refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages prior to any swimming activities. There may be independent suppliers on the beach that offer watersports. These are provided by parties unconnected to Cunard Lines. Euros and are accepted for purchases. Before you book this excursion you must refer to the ‘Beach / Water Related’ paragraph under the Guide to Symbols in this brochure.

    Tour code

    FDF_009

    Features

    • Activity low

      Activity Level: Low

    • Family

      Especially suitable for families

    Duration

    4½ hours

  • Botanical Gardens and Zoological Park

    Discover a unique Botanical Garden and Zoological Park created amongst the ruins of one of the oldest plantations on the island.

    Botanical Gardens and Zoological Park

    Heading west via the Caribbean Coast, you’ll pass by quaint fishing villages, before arriving at the ruins of one of the oldest plantations on the island.

    Habitation Anse Latouche was completely destroyed when a volcano erupted on May 8th 1902, and today it is the enchanted setting for the Martinique Zoological Park and Botanical Gardens. During your visit, you’ll have the opportunity to walk along a didactic trail to discover a variety of animals including monkeys, jaguars, pumas, lorikeets,great anteater, butterflies and racoons.

    Another highlight of your visit will be the opportunity to explore the ruins of Latouche House. The restored 1643 main house and its surrounds will take you back in time to glimpse the economic activity of yesteryear and Martinique’s rich heritage.

    The highlights continue as you pass the historic town of St Pierre, driving through the rainforest to Balata Church, an exact replica of the Basilica of Montmartre in Paris. Here, enjoy a spectacular view of Fort de France and the bay before continuing your scenic drive back to Fort de France.



    This tour is operated by coach and on foot and involves approximately 1-1½ hours’ walking which may be uneven in parts. There are steps to negotiate at Balata Church. Comfortable flat walking shoes, a sun hat, sunscreen a bottle of water and a snack (refreshments are not included) are recommended. This tour involves some winding roads and is not recommended for those who suffer from vertigo. The tour itinerary may operate in reverse.

    Tour code

    FDF_011

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    • Family

      Especially suitable for families

    Duration

    4¼ hours

  • Catamaran and Beach

    Step aboard a motor catamaran and discover the marine life and coastline of Martinique.

    Catamaran and Beach

    Join your motor catamaran at the pier and cruise off across the Flemish Bay. Admire the lovely surroundings as you head along the Ramier Islet and pass by the Bat Cave. Your motor catamaran is also fully equipped with an underwater viewing area, ideal for catching sight of the underwater world.

    As you continue, you will pass by Salomon Cape and arrive at Grand Anse Beach. Here, you will have an opportunity to view from the catamaran the turtles that inhabit the area, and to spend time relaxing on the warm sand or perhaps take a refreshing dip in the inviting sea.

    During your cruise fruit juice will be available, and rum punch will be served on the return journey.

    BEACH/WATER RELATED EXCURSIONS
    For any excursion involving water, guests are reminded to exercise particular care. Alcohol and eating a full meal should be avoided before swimming. If buoyancy aids are provided for an activity they must be worn at all times. You should bear in mind that the sea is unpredictable. Lifeguards are unlikely to be present and there may not be a flag system to indicate whether or not it is safe to go in the water. In addition, beach activities may not be supervised or accompanied and so you should take care to satisfy yourself as to the safety of the beach and/or the sea at the time of your excursion. Please exercise caution when entering the sea as the seabed and aquatic environment is capable of springing surprises and we have not inspected the beach or seabed for its safety. Children must be supervised by you at all times near water. All activities on the beach, water and in the sea are undertaken at your own risk. You’ll need to take swimwear, a towel, sunscreen and flat shoes that can be worn in the water.

    LIABILITY
    Cunard will arrange for the excursions to be performed by the relevant excursion provider. Cunard does not provide or supply the excursion services. Cunard will exercise reasonable care and skill in the selection of the excursion provider, but will not in any circumstances have a greater liability than the excursion supplier and Cunard shall not be responsible for the negligent acts/omissions of the excursion supplier. Please note that in relation to all excursions Cunard is not responsible or liable for any loss, damage, or injury sustained by you unless such loss, damage or injury arises out of a breach of legal duty of Cunard.

    TRAVEL INSURANCE
    Before booking any activity excursions it is essential that you ensure your travel insurance extends to cover the specified activity. It is your responsibility to obtain adequate insurance.

    This excursion will operate by catamaran. The underwater viewing area has limited seating and is not able to accommodate all guests at once. Rotations will be required. Participants must be competent swimmers. Sunchairs are not included and not available for hire. Please remember your swimwear, sunscreen and a towel. Flat, non-slip shoes or water shoes are recommended.

    Tour code

    FDF_005

    Features

    • Activity low

      Activity Level: Low

    • Refreshments included

      Refreshments included

    Duration

    3½ hours

  • North Discovery by Land and Sea

    Enjoy the very best of Martinique by land and by sea.

    North Discovery by Land and Sea

    Sit back and relax as you cruise along the West Coast, passing along several small fishing villages including Le Carbet, where Christopher Columbus landed in 1502 and where Paul Gaugin lived in 1887. If weather permits, you may have the opportunity to take a quick dip in the inviting Caribbean waters before enjoying a local snack and refreshment as you continue on to St Pierre.

    Disembarking your motorised boat in St Pierre, the city destroyed by a volcanic eruption in 1902 killing 30,000 inhabitants, take a short coach transfer to the Volcanological Museum. Here, enjoy the chance to learn all about the dramatic events surrounding the eruption via the fascinating exhibits.

    Re-boarding your coach, embark on a scenic drive back to Fort de France via the rainforest road. Along the way, enjoy a brief stop to the mini-replica of the Sacred Heart Basilica of Montmartre in Paris, built in 1925. Keep your camera handy as situated at the height of Fort de France, this little gem offers a stunning panoramic view out over the city and its bay.



    This tour is operated by coach and boat and involves approximately 50 minutes’ of walking over some uneven ground. There are steps and ramps to negotiate at Saint Pierre and the Balata Church. The boat ride is around 3 hours and may include a swimming stop (weather permitting). If you think you may wish to swim, please wear swimwear and take a towel. The scenic drive is around 1 hour 20 minutes. Flat, comfortable shoes are recommended. This tour involves some winding roads and is not recommended for those who suffer from vertigo.

    Tour code

    FDF_012

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    • Refreshments included

      Refreshments included

    Duration

    4½ hours

  • Naturally Martinique

    Experience the biodiversity and natural beauty of Martinique.

    Naturally Martinique

    Leaving the port, you’ll head to the Balata Church for a photo stop and scenic views over the surrounding bay.

    Continuing along the Trace Road, you’ll arrive at the Emerald Estate, a natural regional park located at Morne Rouge village between Mount Pelee and the Carbet Pitons. Here, you’ll learn about Martinique’s biodiversity, view traditional Creole gardens, and gain a better understanding of the natural soul of Martinique.

    In the estate's interactive stage gallery, your guide will teach you about the Natural history of Martinique. Immerse yourself in family friendly interactive exhibits, including a cleverly illustrated discovery of nature.

    During your visit you’ll have time to explore this amazing nature estate on foot. If you are feeling active you can take an optional short guided walk along a walking trail that winds its way through the rainforest past some of the 100 endemic species.

    Finish your visit by enjoying some traditional snacks and a local natural drink, made from fresh fruit juice.

    A scenic drive along the Caribbean coast and through the mythical town of St Pierre will return you to your ship.



    This tour will operate by coach and on foot. There is approximately 1¼ hours of walking on this tour over uneven and gravelled ground. The group will be split in 2 upon arrival at the estate. Passengers are reminded to take sun protection with them and wear footwear suitable for hiking over rough, uneven and wet ground. This excursion involves travelling along winding roads, which may affect those who suffer from vertigo.

    Tour code

    FDF_007

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    • Refreshments included

      Refreshments included

    Duration

    4 hours

  • Saint Pierre

    Absorb the history of Saint Pierre and enjoy the coastal sights of Martinique.

    Saint Pierre

    Setting off from the port you’ll take a scenic drive along the west coast road and on to Saint Pierre.

    The city was destroyed by a volcanic eruption in 1902 killing 30,000 inhabitants. Today the town attracts visitors to its fascinating ‘Volcanological Museum’, which explains the dramatic events surrounding the eruption.

    Afterwards, your return journey to Fort de France will take you back along the rain forest road, stopping en-route to visit the lovely Balata Church, a mini replica of the Sacred Heart Basilica of Montmatre in Paris. This charming church was built in 1925 and has an elevated location offering panoramic views of the town of Fort-de-France and its bay.



    The scenic drive is around 1 hour. This tour involves approximately 50 minutes’ of walking over some uneven ground. There are steps and ramps to negotiate at Saint Pierre and the Balata Church. The scenic drive is around 1 hour. Flat, comfortable shoes are recommended. This tour involves some winding roads and is not recommended for those who suffer from vertigo. The tour itinerary may operate in reverse.

    Tour code

    FDF_001

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    Duration

    3 hours

  • Balata Botanical Gardens

    Visit the Balata Botanical Gardens and submerse yourself amongst an array of floral colours and lush plant life.

    Balata Botanical Gardens

    The Balata Botanical Gardens are nestled in the outskirts of Fort De France and are the result of 20 years of dedication. The owner, Mr Jean Philippe Thoze, is a botanical and landscape gardener who has carefully designed the charming gardens.

    As you take a leisurely guided walk, look around you and discover a multitude of harmoniously placed botanical plants and flowers. There is said to be over 3000 varieties of plant life. For those who wish, you can take the walk across the suspension footbridge, situated around 20 feet above the ground. Here, you’ll capture some lovely views overlooking the gardens and as far across to the Pitons of Carbet.

    En route to the Balata Botanical Gardens, a short stop will be made to view the external architecture of the ‘Sacré –Coeur De La Balata’, a smaller scale replica of the ‘Basilica Montmartre’ in Paris. Its location high in the hills above Fort De France also offers an excellent panoramic view.

    This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. This tour involves around two hours of walking over varying terrain including uneven ground. Due to the winding roads this tour is not recommended for vertigo sufferers, and those prone to travel sickness are advised to take the appropriate medication. The suspension footbridge is not suitable for pregnant women or children under the age of seven.

    Tour code

    FDF_006

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    Duration

    3 hours

  • Discover Martinique

    Make the most of your time in Martinique and visit some of the island’s historic locations and beautiful sights and scenery.

    Discover Martinique

    Driving via the east coast, you’ll head to Sainte Marie for a visit to the factory of Sainte James, where you can sample some excellent local rum.

    Afterwards, your drive continues to Saint Pierre, one of the most famous places on the island due to the devastating volcano of 1902. Thirty thousand people perished, with a prisoner in an underground prison being one of the lucky survivors. Lying at the foot of the Mount Pelée volcano is the small village of Morne Rouge where you’ll be served a delicious Caribbean lunch in a local restaurant.

    Your return journey will go via the west coast of the island, where you’ll pass Case Pilote, one of the oldest fishing villages on the island. You’ll also see the point where Columbus landed in 1502 and where Gaugin lived and painted some of his most beautiful canvases.

    This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. This tour involves approximately 1-1½ hours’ walking which may be uneven in parts. Comfortable flat walking shoes are recommended. The tour itinerary may operate in reverse.

    Tour code

    FDF_002

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    • Meal included

      Meal Included

    Duration

    7 hours

  • Rum & Bananas

    Discover the scenic beauty and tropical delights two at of the area’s most treasured plantation homes.

    Rum & Bananas

    Board your bus for a scenic 30-minute inland drive to Le Lamentin, one of the largest towns on the island.

    L'Habitation Belfort is a charming banana plantation where you’ll discover one of the island’s most important industries. Ride an open air tram to tour the plantation, learning how this sunny yellow fruit gets from the field to the supermarket. Discover all processes including irrigation, harvest, banana fields, and seeing locals at work. At the end of the tour, explore the pretty grounds and gardens and sample some of the delicious local produce.

    Afterwards, continue onto the Clement Plantation House, on the east coast of Martinique and one of the most famous plantation homes in the Caribbean. This spectacular cultural heritage site and garden displays a breathtaking selection of local flora and is also home to a world-famous distillery.

    Stroll along shaded walkways to the plantation's antique rum distillery. Since 1887, Clement Rum has been one of the most recognised rums in the world. Enjoy a guided tour of the old distillery, which crafts the sugar-based delight, using traditional techniques and machinery. Learn the history of the distillery, and sample rum and sugar cane juice. Some time for shopping will be given for you to purchase some premium rum in the store.

    Following your visit, settle back and enjoy a relaxing drive back to the ship through lush landscapes.

    This tour will operate by bus, open tram and on foot. There is approximately 1½ hours of walking on this tour.

    Tour code

    FDF_008

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    • Refreshments included

      Refreshments included

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    4¼ hours