You will be cheering vive la France during your time in Fort-de-France. The capital of Martinique boasts beautiful French architecture, such as the Cathédral St-Louis, several French-built forts and pristine beaches that rival those of the Riviera. All roads lead to La Savane, a serene central park overseen by a statue of Empress Josephine. Savor the favored French-Antillean dish of Filet of John Dory with yellow bananas and anise.

Port: Fort de France
Experience

Fort de France

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  • Helicopter Escape

    Get a literal "bird's-eye view" of Martinique's stunning coastline, passing over the island's unspoiled beaches and landmarks such as Diamond Rock in a helicopter.

    Departing from the pier, you will drive south along the inland roads that follow Fort de France bay. Before long, you will arrive at a lovely Creole-style mansion known as Château Gaillard where your Robinson helicopter awaits. Equipped with large windows for unobstructed viewing, you will have an excellent opportunity to fully enjoy this unique perspective of Martinique.

    As you lift off, the sights become awe-inspiring in every direction. From this exeptional vantage point, Martinique takes on a completely different look and feel. The topography varies enormously from powdery beaches to lush forests to mountainous terrain. The colors of the bay and ocean reflect a palette of vibrant blues and greens and colorful fishing boats can be seen along the coast.

    Your air-born adventure also takes you over Diamond Rock, a more than 500-foot-high volcanic basalt island that soars out of the sea. Its name comes from the diamond-like reflections it casts in the water during certain times of the day. The island is completely uninhabited, which only adds to its stark natural beauty.

    After an unforgettable flight of approximately 15-minutes, you will land back at Château Gaillard where your transportation awaits to transport you back to the pier.

    Please note: This tour includes a limited amount of walking; however, guests must be able to make their own way into and out of the helicopter. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and those with mobility concerns are cautioned to evaluate their personal level of ability. The tour may not be suitable for those who suffer from motion sickness or a fear of heights. Light-weight, casual clothing; sunglasses and flat, comfortable walking shoes are suggested. Participants will need to provide their weight to the Destination Services Desk 36-hours before the tour departs.

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  • Sainte-Pierre & Rum Distillery

    See Martinique's boundless diversity by touring a church, rum distillery and a museum devoted to the island's volcanic history.

    Drive from Fort de France through the lush countryside to the village of Balata, where you will visit its famed church. It's noteworthy for being an exact replica of Paris' beautiful Sacré-Coeur Basilica, although on a smaller scale.

    After a brief stop to admire the views of Fort de France and beyond, you will continue on, driving through a dense rainforest. Here, the air is noticeably cooler, the vegetation more exotic, and the scenery awe-inspiring. Your next destination is the Chateau Depaz Estate, which has been producing rum made exclusively from fresh-cut blue cane grown in its fields since 1651. The method of production is the most expensive known and results in a spirit treasured by connoisseurs the world over. During your visit, you will have the opportunity to sample some of this unique Depaz rum.

    A short drive then brings you to the coastal village of Saint-Pierre, which was devastated in the violent volcanic eruption of Mount Pelée in 1902. Almost the entire population perished as a result of this devastating natural disaster and you can learn about the fascinating details in the Volcano Museum in Saint-Pierre. The photos of the destruction are quite a contrast to the scenery now, which you will see on the drive back to Fort de France, passing through one quaint fishing village after another. Le Carbet, where Paul Gauguin lived and painted in 1887, is particularly picturesque.

    Please note: This tour includes approximately 90-minutes of easy to moderate walking/standing. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, are able to make their own way on and off the coach and have a companion to assist them. Those with mobility concerns are cautioned to evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. As the tour travels over winding roads, it may not be suitable for those who suffer from motion sickness. Light-weight, casual clothing; sun cap; sunglasses and flat, comfortable walking shoes are suggested. Cameras are not permitted in the Sainte-Pierre Museum. The order of the sites viewed or visited may vary.

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  • Balata Botanical Gardens

    A must-see attraction for plant lovers, the Balata Tropical Gardens offers a slice of serenity and beauty in Martinique's lush countryside.

    A short drive inland brings you to tiny Balata, a quiet town known for two namesake sights-the Balata Church and the Balata Tropical Gardens. First, you will briefly visit the church, which was built in the 1920s to commemorate those who perished in World War I. What's really remarkable about the church is that it's an exact replica, although down-sized, of the Sacré-Coeur Basilica in Paris. It is a glorious sight from every angle and so are the panoramic views of Fort de France and the bay, which lie below.

    The majority of this tour, however, is spent at the serene Balata Tropical Gardens. Martinique, which is often called the "Island of Flower," has an ideal climate for dense tropical foliage. As you will see, the garden is a fine example of the island's fertility, as it is flourishing after having been planted a mere two decades ago. Created by landscape gardener Jean-Philippe Thoze, Balata Tropical Gardens is a paradise of fragrant flowers, exotic water lilies, rare indigenous plants and shaded trails. One of the finest viewpoints is from the garden's newest attraction, a footbridge situated in the trees, so you'll want to be sure and visit this vantage point with camera in hand.

    After approximately 2-hours spent enjoying this tropical wonderland, you will travel back to the pier where your tour concludes.

    Please note: This tour includes approximately 2-hours of easy to moderate walking/standing and includes negotiating a significant number of steps and uneven ground. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and those with mobility concerns are cautioned to evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. As the tour travels over winding roads, it may not be suitable for those who suffer from motion sickness. Light-weight, casual clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; insect repellant and flat, comfortable walking shoes are suggested. The order of the sites viewed or visited may vary.

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  • Deep Martinique 4x4 Adventure

    This exhilarating outdoor excursion includes fording rivers, driving through a tropical rainforest, and stopping at the picture-perfect Coeur Bouliki River.

    Climbing aboard your comfortable, air-conditioned Jeep at the pier, you will head off to the St. Joseph area, passing several banana plantations, crossing a few shallow rivers and traveling deep into the luxuriant La Palourde rainforest. Adventure truly lies around every corner.

    Here, green comes in a thousand different shades and the forest resembles a wild botanical garden. Chances are, you will see exotic hardwoods, endemic palms, clusters of fragrant orchids, and thousands of plants rarely found elsewhere. The beauty is extraordinary, the serenity absolutely overwhelming.

    Continuing on, you will enter a more agricultural region, dotted with banana and sugar cane plantations, two of Martinique's most important cash crops. While the landscape is certainly different than that in the rainforest, it's no less lush, green or peaceful. You will stop to take in the beauty of the Coeur Bouliki River.

    Heading back to the ship, the route will also be quite scenic, offering picturesque views of the sparkling bay.

    Please note: While this tour includes a limited amount of walking, there are numerous steps and uneven surfaces to negotiate. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and those with mobility concerns are cautioned to evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. As the tour travels over winding roads, it may not be suitable for those who suffer from motion sickness. Light-weight, casual clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; insect repellant and flat, comfortable walking shoes are suggested. The order of the sites viewed or visited may vary.

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  • Historic Clement's Plantation & Balata Garden

    Delve into some of the attractions that have come to define Martinique, including a rum-producing plantation, banana fields, a historic church and Balata Garden.

    Drive east toward Martinique's economic hub of Lamentin to Clement's Plantation House, an historic home surrounded by sugar cane fields. Decorated with period furnishings, Clement's gained new significance in 1991 when U.S. President George Herbert Walker Bush and France's President François Mitterrand met there to discuss international affairs. During your visit, perhaps enjoy a stroll through the home's park and samplings of sugar cane and rum.

    Continuing on, you will stop briefly in a banana field, where your guide will explain the crop's immense importance to Martinique.

    Don't be surprised to hear French spoken throughout the island, as it's the official language, and Balata Church certainly solidifies the relationship between France and Martinique, an overseas department of the country since the mid-1940s. This charming church is a scaled-down version of the revered Sacré-Coeur Basilica in France.

    Your final stop is at the peaceful and relaxing Balata Tropical Gardens. The garden's shaded paths are lined with tropical species such as torch gingers, parakeet flowers, hibiscus and an abundance of orchids. What's truly amazing about his fecund wonderland is that in the mid-1980s, it was farmland with very few of the colorful and fragrant plants that now grace its acreage. Created by landscape gardener Jean-Philippe Thoze, the garden is a fine example of the island's fertility, as it is flourishing after having been planted a mere two decades ago. Following a visit of approximately 45-minutes, you will rejoin your coach and transfer back to the pier.

    Please note: This tour includes approximately 2-hours of easy to moderate walking/standing and includes negotiating a significant number of steps and uneven ground. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and those with mobility concerns are cautioned to evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. As the tour travels over winding roads, it may not be suitable for those who suffer from motion sickness. Light-weight, casual clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; insect repellant and flat, comfortable walking shoes are suggested. The order of the sites viewed or visited may vary.

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  • Hiking in Martinique's Tropical Forest

    An exhilirating hike through a tropical forest reveals nature's bounty in the form of exotic vegetation and wildlife.

    Depart Fort de France for the leisurely drive to Fontaine Didier, a thermal spring whose mineral-rich water has been used for centuries as an antidote for numerous ailments. In fact, you may see the water bottled for sale while in Fort de France, albeit it's now promoted as a refreshing beverage rather than a cure-all.

    Upon arrival, you will receive a briefing on your hike and then set-off along a trail that follows a meandering stream and gently winds through the tropical forest to a place called Absalon. It's an exceptionally tranquil and beautiful setting. The diversity of botanical species in this pristine environment is staggering. Great stands of mahogany trees tower above the forest floor and luxuriant ferns grow almost everywhere, punctuated by splashes of color from indigenous balisier flowers. The balisier flower is so visually spectacular that it's often depicted in local paintings of Martinique, which is known as the Island of Flowers.

    Another highlight of your hike is discovering several cascading waterfalls nestled deep in the forest. During your trek, you will have a break where you can relax by the river, sip a cool beverage in the shade, and simply gaze out over the picture-perfect landscape.

    After nearly 2-hours traversing this breathtaking natural environment on foot, you will rejoin your transportation and transfer back to the pier in Fort de France.

    Please note: This tour includes nearly 2-hours of hiking and climbing over natural and uneven surfaces which can become slippery when wet. Guests should be in very good physical condition. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests, pregnant women, those with mobility concerns, heart conditions, asthma or epilepsy. Shorts; t-shirt; sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; insect repellant and comfortable, flat, hiking or athletic shoes are suggested. Minimum age to participate is 8 years old and children under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian.

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  • Mangrove Kayaking Adventure

    Kayak through an islet shaded by an umbrella of mangrove trees and discover their ecological importance to the waterway.

    Put on your swimsuit and travel by boat across picturesque Fort de France bay. Upon arriving at an islet lined with mangroves, you will receive a safety briefing and instructions on how to navigate your kayak. When everyone is ready, you will board your two-person kayak and begin paddling through this fascinating natural wonderland. Along the way, your guide will explain the many benefits of mangrove forests and point out the fauna that makes its home here.

    Mangrove trees thrive in brackish water, their roots extending up into air and forming arched thickets that shelter the wildlife. The mangrove foliage also provides shade and cooler temperatures. The surrounding water is a vast eco-system that supports a variety of fish, crustaceans and birds, both indigenous and migratory. Without mangroves, or "marine nurseries" as they're sometimes called, the wildlife in Martinique would be greatly diminished. While paddling your kayak through these protected waters, be on the look-out for herons, frigate birds, turtles, mollusks and crabs.

    After approximately 1-hour of paddling, you will find yourself back at the islet where dependent upon weather and sea conditions, you will have some brief time to swim. Rejoining your boat, you will cruise back to Fort de France, enjoying some refreshments along the way.

    Please note: While this tour includes a limited amount of walking, guests should be in very good physical condition and be good swimmers. Participants must be able to negotiate steps to board the boat from the pier, and a ladder to enter and exit the vessel from the water. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests, pregnant women, those with mobility concerns, heart conditions, asthma or epilepsy. Swimwear; towel; sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen and flat shoes with a non-slip sole are suggested. Minimum age to participate is 8 years old and children under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. Those who take part in any water activities do so at their own risk and responsibility and a waiver may be required. The order of the sites viewed or visited may vary.

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  • Snorkel Fort de France Bay & the Bat Cave

    See the wonders that lie below the surface of the crystal-clear waters of Fort de France bay by snorkeling at Anse Dufour beach and the Bat Cave.

    Depart from the pier by boat and cruise across beautiful Fort de France bay. During the crossing to its southern shore, you will see mountains looming in the distance, yachts bobbing in the harbor, and the gentle curve of the bay's sandy beaches. It's a wonderful setting for the capital of Martinique.

    The beauty is well complemented by the underwater world off shore. With the boat anchored near the serene beach at Anse Dufour, you may swim or observe the marine life below the surface by doing some snorkeling. The choice is entirely yours. Marine life is abundant here, so enjoy the colorful, curious fish darting about.

    The setting is dramatically different at the second snorkeling site, which lies just a few minutes away. The entrance to the Bat Cave is in a steep cliff wall that plummets into the sea. The waters are usually a stunning azure blue with excellent visibility. You may see vibrant angelfish, multi-colored parrot fish and all sorts of other marine life. Take your time and enjoy the never-ending spectacle, as the sights are constantly changing.

    A refreshing rum punch will be served on the return boat ride to the pier at Fort de France.

    Please note: While this tour includes a limited amount of walking, guests should be in good physical condition and be good swimmers. Participants must be able to negotiate steps to board the boat from the pier, and a ladder to enter and exit the vessel from the water. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests, pregnant women, those with mobility concerns, heart conditions, asthma or epilepsy. Swimwear; towel; sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen and flat shoes with a non-slip sole are suggested. Minimum age to participate is 5 years old and children under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. Those who take part in any water activities do so at their own risk and responsibility and a waiver may be required. The order of the sites viewed or visited may vary.

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