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: $5,780 * Price includes special offer 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
 Jungle waterfall, Dominica
 Indian River on Dominica
 Terre-de-Haut, Guadeloupe. Credit: Viktor Ruppert
 Tobago Cays, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Credit: Bradley Wade
 Mayreau. Credit: PONANT/Margot Sib
 Saint George's, Grenada
 Sea turtle in 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 Bellot or Le Champlain

9 days from $5,780

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

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

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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 Experience: Each 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, St. Vincent and the Grenadines: 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: Discover the natural and human history of the "Spice Island" on a full-day tour that includes stops at a chocolate factory and a historic plantation. Alternatively, choose a rainforest trek through Grand Etang Forest nature reserve or a snorkeling excursion to an underwater sculpture park.
  • 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 (extension only) 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

Itinerary

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 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 and enjoy the tropical rhythms of a local steel band. (B,L,D)

Day 6 – St. George's, Grenada

Continue to Saint George's, the capital of Grenada, the southernmost isle of the Lesser Antilles. Choose to discover the island one of the three ways. Set out on a full-day tour, following the picturesque coast and lush hills to waterfalls, nutmeg and cacao plantations, fishing villages, rain forests, and a stunning crater lake. Take a tasting tour at the world-renowned Diamond Chocolate factory, and stop for a lunch of Creole specialties at the historic Belmont Estate.  Alternatively, hike among towering mahogany trees and tropical flora and fauna on a rainforest trek in Grand Etang National Park, or board a catamaran for a snorkeling excursion at 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 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 an overview of the history and architecture of the island that includes the 18th-century Codrington College, or a tour of a rum distillary including a tasting of famous Barbados rum. (B,L,D)

Day 9 - Vieux Fort, Saint Lucia / 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)

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