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Setting sail from Fort-de-France
The volcanic French Caribbean island of Martinique is a land of contrasts, from the lush rainforests of the north to the busy streets of the capital, Fort-de-France. There are plenty of lovely beaches geared towards relaxation, and the French influence also means that the cuisine is a cut above the usual Caribbean fare.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Bequia
Bequia is an incredibly friendly, laid-back island blessed with pristine golden sand beaches and some excellent restaurants. It’s also a popular sailing destination; the yachts tend to congregate around Admiralty Bay, where you’ll find the little waterfront town of Port Elizabeth.
Grenada: St George's
Browse the markets of charming St George’s, fragrant with the scent of cinnamon and nutmeg, and you’ll soon understand why Grenada is known as the ‘isle of spice’. This is one of the Caribbean’s most enchanting islands, fringed by gorgeous beaches and largely unsullied by mass market tourism.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Mayreau
Situated just to the west of the Tobago Cays, Mayreau is a tiny, barely inhabited island that can only be reached by boat. There is very little to do, which is the main attraction for those lucky few who wash up here; the palm-fringed beaches and gently lapping waters are the Caribbean island idyll par excellence.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Tobago Cays
Accessible only by boat, the five uninhabited islands of the Tobago Cays are surrounded by some of the best reefs for snorkelling anywhere in the Caribbean. The area was declared a protected wildlife reserve in 2006, and the crystal clear waters are home to sponges, sea turtles and a kaleidoscopic array of colourful fish.
There’s more to Barbados than just beaches; the delightful architecture of the old garrison in Bridgetown, the capital, is fully deserving of its UNESCO World Heritage status, and the island interior is littered with old sugar plantations and natural wonders such as Harrison’s Cave.
Saint Lucia: Pigeon Island
Connected to the mainland by a man-made causeway, Pigeon Island is one of Saint Lucia’s most important historical sites. The British admiral George Rodney gave his name to the fort built here in the 18th century to spy on the French in Martinique, as well as the beautiful bay that the fort overlooks.
Saint Lucia: Soufrière
Soufrière is Saint Lucia’s oldest city, founded by the French in 1746 in the stunning south of the island. Nearby natural wonders include the iconic Piton mountains, the Diamond Botanical Gardens and the world’s only drive-in volcano, where you can soak in the restorative sulphur springs.
Guadeloupe: Iles des Saintes
Eight tiny islands make up the Iles des Saintes, a sparsely inhabited archipelago off the southern coast of Guadeloupe. The most interesting island is hilly Terre-de-Haut, almost entirely populated by the fair-skinned descendants of Breton sailors and home to a beautiful bay reminiscent of a mini Rio de Janeiro.
Arriving in Fort-de-France
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Sleek and stylish, Ponant's wonderful Explorer yachts blend luxury and intimacy with a discreet elegance and tasteful décor.
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Named after six of France's most famous explorers, Le Champlain, Le Lapérouse, Le Bougainville, Le Dumont d'Urville, Le Bellot and Le Jacques Cartier offer exciting and adventurous itineraries in the utmost comfort. Technologically advanced, with the latest in environmentally friendly hardware, the new ships embody Ponant's trademark élan and flair, with just 92 spacious rooms and suites, a stylish pool deck and an intimate, refined onboard ambience.
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