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The Pitons of St. Lucia

Hidden Gems of the Caribbean

Example 12 Day Cruise aboard Le Ponant (ZE)
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Explore the lesser-known island gems of the eastern Caribbean on an itinerary exclusively designed to take you far from the standard cruise ship routes. Join Le Ponant on this 12-day journey, discovering several of the idyllic islands that comprise the little-explored Grenadines, an island chain in the heart of the Caribbean Sea. Learn from local experts and onboard lecturers about the fascinating history of the islands you visit and their struggle for independence from Europe.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Martinique
Day 2 : Martinique | Embark Le Ponant
Day 3 : Tobago Cays
Day 4 : Grenada
Day 5 : St. Lucia
Day 6 : Dominica
Day 7 : Iles des Saintes, Guadeloupe
Day 8 : Montserrat
Day 9 : Barbuda | Antigua
Day 10 : Sint Eustatius
Day 11 : Saba | St. Barth's
Day 12 : St. Martin | Disembark

Highlights

  • Visit the little-explored Grenadines, an idyllic island chain
  • Seek out a variety of endemic bird species including the St. Vincent parrot
  • Snorkel or dive to discover dazzling coral reefs and tropical fish
  • Learn the history of the islands from local experts and onboard lecturers

Ship

Le Ponant (ZE)

Places Visited

  • Caribbean
  • Antigua
  • Barbuda
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Grenadines
  • Iles des Saintes
  • Leeward Islands
  • Lesser Antilles
  • Martinique
  • Montserrat
  • St. Barth
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Martin
  • St. Vincent des Grenadines
  • Tobago Cays
  • Virgin Islands
  • Windward Islands

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

The Pitons of St. Lucia Anses d'Arlet village, Martinique, West Indies An underwater world awaits you Unspoiled beaches and pristine coves in the Caribbean A green heron found in the Caribbean

Day 1 Martinique

  • 1 Dinner
Arrive in Martinique and transfer to Le Cap Est Lagoon for dinner and overnight. 

Day 2 Martinique | Embark Le Ponant

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Martinique is home to a fascinating and dynamic mélange of French traditions and Caribbean Creole culture. Birders depart early for Presquile Caravelle National Park to search for such island endemics as the Martinique oriole and white-breasted thrasher. Or, choose to visit Balata Church, a miniature version of the Basilica Montmartre in Paris, then continue to Domine d’Emeraude, a botanical garden and interpretive center devoted to the island’s natural history. After lunch at a local restaurant, take a short drive through the ruins of St. Pierre, which was destroyed in 1902 during a massive volcanic eruption. The tour ends in Fort-de-France with a visit to the fascinating Pre-Columbian Museum. Board Le Ponant this afternoon.

Day 3 Tobago Cays

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
These five small, uninhabited islands are part of Tobago Cays Marine Park. With pristine coral reefs, crystal-clear waters, and deserted white-sand beaches, this area is renowned for some of the best snorkeling and diving in the Caribbean with vertical and gently sloping walls, and multiple wrecks.

Day 4 Grenada

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
St. George, the quaint, bustling capital of Grenada, sits on a supremely scenic horseshoe-shaped bay. Wander through the maze of narrow streets to admire colorful colonial buildings, forts, and churches. Enjoy a hike along densely forested trails to view an idyllic waterfall.  

Day 5 St. Lucia

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Be on deck as the ship approaches St. Lucia for stunning views of the Pitons, two volcanic peaks rising more than 2,400 feet from the turquoise sea. Birders seek the St. Lucia parrot, St. Lucia oriole, and St. Lucia pewee. Take a hike through Edmund Forest Reserve, or choose a tour that visits the Diamond Falls botanical garden, a mineral bath, and a cocoa plantation.

Day 6 Dominica

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Birders depart early for a hike to Syndicate Falls to search for Dominica’s two endemic and endangered birds—imperial and red-necked parrots. Or, choose a cultural tour of Carib Territory, a reserve where approximately 3,000 native Kalinago reside. Learn about their customs, history, and culture, with the chance to view exquisite handicrafts, including baskets, wood carvings, and canoes. Both groups return to the ship for lunch, with an afternoon of snorkeling or diving in a marine protected area. Or, choose to explore Fort Shirley, built by the British between 1770 and 1815.

Day 7 Iles des Saintes, Guadeloupe

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Eight small islands makes up Les Saintes, endowed with superb beaches, gorgeous bays, fascinating historical sites, and exceptional snorkeling and diving. Spend the morning strolling through one of the tiny French-flavored villages. In the afternoon, snorkel and dive to enjoy the underwater delights.

Day 8 Montserrat

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Towering 3,000 feet above sea level, Montserrat’s Soufriere Hills Volcano slumbered uneasily for at least a century before erupting violently in 1995. Covering the capital city of Plymouth with pyroclastic flows, the southern two-thirds of the island are still off limits. Learn more about this devastating event at the Montserrat Volcano Observatory and enjoy grand views of the volcano and surrounding areas. Take a hike in the Runaway Ghaut, a steep ravine that carries rainwater to the sea from high in the mountains. Learn about the luxuriant vegetation as you explore the rainforest-like environment.

Day 9 Barbuda | Antigua

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Popular with the yachting set, Barbuda boasts pretty pink beaches and an easygoing attitude. It is also home to a large magnificent frigatebird colony. Other species you are likely to find here include tropical mockingbirds, pelicans, ibis, oystercatchers, herons, a variety of ducks, and the endemic Barbuda warbler. After lunch on board, step ashore on Antigua for a scenic drive along the coast to Dow’s Hill to learn about the island’s history and enjoy splendid views over the island. Continue to Shirley’s Heights, a restored military lookout with fantastic views over English Harbor. Your tour ends at Nelson’s Dockyard where you have free time to browse the shops, tour the small museum, and perhaps dine on your own at one of the many seaside restaurants. 

Day 10 Sint Eustatius

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Take a stroll around the sole town and capital, Oranjestad, with its collection of Caribbean-style cottages and elegant colonial buildings in various states of disrepair. Soak up history and sweeping views from the extensively restored Fort Oranje, a mighty citadel complete with cannons, triple bastions, and cobblestone parade grounds. Or, hike to the top of the Quill, a dormant volcano with a lush cloud forest occupying the crater.

Day 11 Saba | St. Barth's

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Saba’s volcanic peak rises majestically from the water like the tip of an emerald iceberg. In Saba Marine Park, protected since 1987, divers explore volcanic pinnacles encrusted with corals and sponges, which are frequented by nurse sharks, parrotfish, barracuda, sharks, stingrays, and turtles. Land-based explorations include a hike along the Crispeen Trail for fantastic views over the island. In the afternoon, step ashore on St. Barth’s, take a stroll through Gustavia, the relaxed capital, and visit the 17th-century forts, or browse the town’s many duty-free boutiques. View marine life while staying dry during a thrilling ride in the Yellow Submarine. Or, take a hike along the Colmbier Beach Trail, where there is a good chance to see nesting red-billed tropicbirds.

Day 12 St. Martin | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Disembark and enjoy a short island tour en route to the airport. Board your independent homeward flight.

Le Ponant (ZE)

Per person starting at
$12,980
Le Ponant Category 1 Stateroom
Select a Date
Category 1
Two twin beds, one double bed, or one queen bed. Porthole window. Ocean views, en-suite bathroom, minibar, safe, radio, air conditioning, and telephone.
Le Ponant Staterooms
Select a Date
Category 2
Double bed and window (approx. 2 x 2 ft). Ocean views, en-suite bathroom, minibar, safe, radio, air conditioning, and telephone.

Notes

Please Note:
The Euro is the currency used on board. Most credit cards and travelers checks are accepted for payment of shipboard accounts.

For most activities, a moderate level of exertion is required. You will need to climb into and out of Zodiacs for snorkel and dive activities and excursions ashore. You must be able to walk moderate distances along beaches and sometimes on rough or slippery terrain. Some stairs may be uneven and without handrails. Temperatures will range in the 80sºF, with the possibility of some days reaching the low 90sºF, though high humidity can make it feel warmer.

Included:
  • Daily activity options including Zodiac cruises, snorkeling, diving, nature walks, and cultural tours
  • All gratuities
  • All accommodations
  • World-class lecture and expedition team
  • All onboard meals and group meals ashore, including soft drinks, beer, and wine with lunch and dinner
  • All entrance fees, taxes, and landing and port charges
  • Arrival and departure transfers on group dates
  • Gift certificates for recommended expedition gear and reading materials
  • Medical expense coverage and emergency evacuation insurance

Excluded:
  • Airfare from your home city/Martinique and Saint Martin/home city
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Airport arrival and departure taxes
  • Transfers for independent arrivals and departures
  • Passport and/or visa fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, alcoholic beverages, (other than listed above), and other incidentals
  • Email/Internet/fax/telephone charges

Included

  • 11 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 11 Dinners
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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