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Martinique harbor

Wild Caribbean with the Grenadines

Example 13 Day Cruise aboard Le Ponant
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Discover the enchanting lesser-visited isles of the Eastern Caribbean, calling at quaint ports and tiny islands that larger cruise ships simply cannot access. Step back in time as you explore historic forts, constructed to protect important trade routes with Europe. Stroll along peaceful plazas and sleepy lanes where graceful colonial buildings harken back to the heyday of the 19th-century sugar-boom. Join naturalists on nature hikes to discover a variety of colorful birds, including several endemic species. Far from modern shipping lanes, snorkelers and divers find healthy coral reefs and a wealth of dazzling tropical fish.
Spotfin ButterflyfishUninhabited IslandDock going out into the crystal blue oceanSnorkel the clear, tropical watersMartinique harbor
  • Identify endemic bird species in each port of call
  • Hike Grenada's dense forest to view an idyllic waterfall
  • Snorkel Tobago Cays' sloping walls and multiple ship wrecks
  • View a myriad of underwater wonders at St. Barth's Marine Reserve
Trip Type:
  • Small Ship
Activity Level: Relaxed

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Martinique | Embark Le Ponant

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 and free time to peruse the shops or take a walk along the scenic Promenade. Board Le Ponant this afternoon.

Day 2: St. Vincent, Grenadines

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The main island of the Grenadines, volcanic St. Vincent offers beautiful white-sand beaches, lushly forested interiors, and excellent snorkeling and diving. Birders take a walk along the Vermont Nature Trail passing through the southwestern tip of the St. Vincent Parrot Reserve, where you may spot this colorful endemic bird. A cultural tour takes in the old-world charm of Kingstown, St. Vincent’s historic capital. Enjoy stunning views of the town and the southern Grenadines from the ramparts of Fort Charlotte, built in 1806, and visit the oldest botanical gardens in the western hemisphere.

Day 3: 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 4: 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 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. An active hike to the summit of Gros Piton offers splendid views over the island, 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. A historic tour explores Fort Shirley, built by the British between 1770 and 1815. Both groups return to the ship for lunch with an afternoon of snorkeling or diving in a marine protected area. Or, choose a full-day 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.

Day 7: Iles des Saintes, Guadeloupe

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Eight small islands make up Les Saintes, endowed with superb beaches, gorgeous bays, fascinating historical sites, and exceptional snorkeling and diving. Spend the morning enjoying the underwater delights, then go ashore to visit one of the tiny French-flavored villages.

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. Birders search for the Montserrat oriole, green-throated carib, brown trembler, forest thrush, and bridled quail-dove.

Day 9: Barbuda

  • 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. Spend the afternoon snorkeling or diving in the local marine reserve.

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

  • 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, explore volcanic pinnacles encrusted with corals and sponges, which are frequented by nurse sharks, parrotfish, barracuda, sharks, stingrays, and turtles. In the afternoon learn about local handicrafts with displays of hand-blown glass and Saban lace.

Day 12: St. Barth's

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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. This afternoon, hike along the Colmbier Beach Trail, where there is a good chance of seeing nesting red-billed tropicbirds. Or, enjoy the myriad underwater wonders of the St. Barth’s Marine Reserve.

Day 13: St. Martin | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Board your independent homeward flight at the Saint Maarten Airport.


Le Ponant

Le Ponant
Le Ponant
Lounge on the Le Ponant.

Dates & Prices

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Marie-Galante Stateroom aboard the Le Ponant.
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Marie-Galante Staterooms
Ocean-view staterooms on the Marie Galante Deck are between 122 and 145 square feet, and most feature beds that are configurable into two twins or one queen, en suite bathroom, and one porthole.
Le Ponant Staterooms
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Marie-Galante Premium Staterooms
Ocean-view staterooms on the Marie Galante Deck are between 113 and 145 square feet, they feature one queen bed, en suite bathroom, and one porthole.
Antigua Stateroom aboard the Le Ponant.
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Antigua Staterooms
Ocean-view staterooms on the Antigua Deck are between 133 and 165 square feet, and feature one fixed queen bed, en suite bathroom, and one window.


Fares include: All gratuities; hotel accommodations and on board Le Ponant as outlined in the itinerary; all onboard meals; soft drinks, wine, and beer with lunch and dinner; all group meals on land; arrival and departure transfers on group dates; services of the expedition staff, including lectures, briefings, and slide/film shows; all group activities and excursions; landing and port fees; and medical expense coverage and emergency evacuation insurance.

Fares do not include: All air transportation; 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, bar charges, alcoholic beverages (except as listed above), and e-mail/fax/telephone charges.



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