A cruise offering from Smithsonian Journeys and PONANT

Set sail across the Windward Islands, exploring rainforests, snorkeling reefs, and encountering local history and culture in Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados and beyond.  

Starting at: $5,160 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The tropical Tobago Cays  Credit: PONANT/Margot Sib  View of St. Lucia Credit: Corinne Kutz  Terre-de-Haut, Guadeloupe Credit: Viktor Ruppert  Tobago Cays, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Credit: Bradley Wade  Mayreau Credit: PONANT/Margot Sib  The vibrant marine life and turquoise waters of The Tobago Cays Credit: StudioPonant/Margot Sib  Bridgetown Wharf Credit: Kathryn Maingot  Hawksbill sea turtles in Barbados Credit: Cedric Frixon  The Pitons Credit: Scott Taylor

Cruising the Caribbean’s Windward Islands

From St. Lucia to Barbados Aboard the 184-guest Le Dumont-d’Urville

9 days from $5,160

A cruise offering from Smithsonian Journeys and PONANT

Set sail across the Windward Islands, exploring rainforests, snorkeling reefs, and encountering local history and culture in Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados and beyond.  

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

brochure iconbrochure

WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

The ship was beautiful, the service was incredible, the speakers were very interesting, our cabin was very comfortable with plenty of room, the food was delicious!

- Smithsonian Journeys Traveler

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

See All Journeys Dispatches ››

SOLO TRAVELERS

No Single Supplement: Limited availability and subject to change.

Overview

An arc of jewel-like islands separating the Caribbean Sea from the Atlantic, the Windward Islands offer much more than a tropical beach paradise. From the lush rainforests of Dominica to a French fortress in Guadeloupe and the World Heritage-listed architecture of Barbados, discover history, culture, and natural wonders as we make our way across the eastern Caribbean. Sail by catamaran to remote islands in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and enjoy plenty of opportunities to swim and snorkel or dive amid colorful reefs and rich marine life. 

The Smithsonian Journeys / PONANT ExperienceEach cruise will be accompanied by two Smithsonian Journeys Experts. An excursion or activity is included in each port of call. You may have a choice of excursions in many ports, so that you can delve more deeply into subjects that interest you.  

Highlights Include 

  • Dominica: Experience the lush beauty of the Caribbean’s “Nature Island” on a hike to spectacular viewpoints, a boat ride through the enchanting tangled forests along the Indian River, or a tour and tasting at a family-owned chocolate factory.  
  • Les Saintes: In this mostly uninhabited French archipelago, home to the superb Baie des Saintes, go island-hopping in a local boat, watching for wildlife and swimming and snorkeling in pristine waters. Or visit a historic French fortress with incredible island views.  
  • Bequia: On a jeep tour, explore the lively town of Port Elizabeth, enjoying views of Admiralty Bay from the 18th-century Hamilton Fort; and visit the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary to hear about efforts to raise and release endangered hawksbill turtles. Or set off on a catamaran cruise around Bequia and its neighboring isles, and drop anchor off a tiny island to snorkel the reefs and swim. 
  • Grenada: Dubbed the "Spice Island", visit this hilly island of unspoiled beauty and the southernmost isle of the Lesser Antilles. Grenada is home to a number of nutmeg plantations, which you may choose to visit.
  • Mayreau and Tobago Cays Marine Park: During a day on tiny Mayreau, stroll along  the beach, go swimming and snorkeling, and enjoy a beach barbecue. Then head for the turquoise lagoons of Tobago Cays Marine Park for excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities. 
  • World Heritage sites: Experience two very different World Heritage sites—the dramatic, jungle-clad peaks of St. Lucia’s Pitons and the colonial architecture of Bridgetown in Barbados. 

The ship was beautiful, the service was incredible, the speakers were very interesting, our cabin was very comfortable with plenty of room, the food was delicious!

- Smithsonian Journeys Traveler

2023 Itinerary

Map - Cruising the Caribbean’s Windward Islands

Day 1 – Vieux Fort, Saint Lucia

Arrive in St. Lucia, one of the Lesser Antilles, located in the Eastern Caribbean. Board the ship in Vieux Fort, where two pointed volcanic peaks—the Gros and Petit Pitons—jut majestically out of the sea. The Pitons have been designated a World Heritage site for their rich biodiversity and their dramatic geology. (D)

Day 2 – Portsmouth, Dominica

With its mountainous terrain, blanketed in tropical forests and sheltering hot springs and spectacular waterfalls, Dominica is undoubtedly the wildest island in the Caribbean. Its natural treasures, protected by several national parks, have earned it the moniker, “the Nature Island.” Enjoy your choice of excursions during our day on Dominica. Set out on an easy hike on the Syndicate Nature Trail, a sanctuary for about 50 species of local and migratory birds. As the trail loops through the forest, it offers panoramic views of the Dublanc River Valley below. Keep your eye out for Dominica’s national bird, the Sisserou parrot. Or take a scenic drive to the cacao farms on the northeast coast, and enjoy a tour and tasting at a sustainable, family-run chocolate factory. Alternatively, settle into a wooden rowboat for a leisurely cruise down the enchanting Indian River, whose brackish waters feed unusual plant and animal species. As you pass through thick mangroves intertwined with ferns and trees, you may spot herons, kingfishers, iguanas, and more. (B,L,D)

Day 3 – Les Saintes, Guadeloupe

During the feast of All Saints in 1493, Christopher Columbus sighted this archipelago of nine islands that he named "The Saints." Today, Les Saintes are part of the French territory of Guadeloupe, and only two of them are inhabited. Go sailing amid these islands by local boat, watching for turtles and seabirds, and stop to swim and snorkel in the clear waters at the foot of the Pain de Sucre. Or go ashore at Terre-de-Haut for a visit to Fort Napoléon, situated on a promontory some 300 feet above the exquisite Baie des Saintes. Take a guided tour of the fort, built in 1867 on the site of another fort that English destroyed in 1809, or enjoy free time to explore it on your own. Then stroll down to a shipyard in Marigot Bay to see how traditional island boats are built and sample a local pastry on a walk through town.  (B,L,D)

Day 4 – Bequia Island, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Our first port of call in the island nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is Bequia, the second largest of the 32 islands that make up the archipelago. Here, choose to discover the island on a jeep tour, exploring the markets and picturesque streets of lively Port Elizabeth, the island’s main town. Take in spectacular views of Admiralty Bay from the remains of 18th-century Hamilton Fort; then visit the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary and hear from the owner about his efforts to raise and release endangered hawksbill sea turtles. Or set off on a catamaran cruise around Bequia and its neighboring isles, and drop anchor off a tiny island to snorkel the reefs and swim. (B,L,D)

Day 5 – Mayreau Island

Tiny Mayreau is the smallest inhabited island of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines archipelago, measuring less than two miles square and largely privately owned. We’ll have the full day here to swim, stroll the beach, and snorkel or scuba dive among the reefs in the bay. Gather for a barbecue lunch on a private beach. (B,L,D)

Day 6 – St. George's, Grenada

Continue to Saint George's, the capital of Grenada, a hilly island of unspoiled beauty and the southernmost isle of the Lesser Antilles. Nicknamed the "Spice Island", Grenada is home to a number of nutmeg plantations. Enjoy a visit to a Nutmeg Processing Station, a chocolate factory, and Grand Etang National Park or a catamaran and snorkeling cruise to an underwater sculpture park. (B,L,D)

Day 7 – Tobago Cays

The Tobago Cays are five uninhabited isles that comprise a protected marine park whose turquoise lagoons provide a haven for a wide range of marine life, including green turtles, colorful sponges, conchs, sea turtles, and tropical fish. The fringing reef makes for calm waters and vibrant marine life, which we’ll encounter during a wonderful day of snorkeling, swimming, or scuba diving. (B,L,D)

Day 8 – Bridgetown, Barbados

Arrive in historic Bridgetown, the bustling World Heritage-listed capital of Barbados.  This picturesque town is filled with British colonial architecture, from its postcard-perfect fishing harbor to the cathedral of St Michael, built from coral stone. Sail a catamaran to a sheltered bay where green and hawksbill turtles are known to reside, and enjoy a chance to snorkel and swim among these fascinating creatures. Or choose between two tours of the island: a visit to the elegant plantation home of Clifton Hall and the 18th-century Anglican seminary known as Codrington College; or an overview of the history and architecture of the island.  Toast the end of your cruise with a glass of the island’s famous rum. (B,L,D)

Day 9 - Bridgetown / Depart for Home

Disembark after breakfast and transfer to the airport for your flight home. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)