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

2024 St. Lucia Pre-Cruise Program: 3 days, 2 nights

With its dense, green, rain-forest-covered peaks rising from the turquoise Caribbean, St. Lucia is known throughout the world for its remarkably beautiful variety of landscapes and seascapes. It is also one of the most culturally diverse places in an area celebrated for its multicultural heritage. This specially designed program provides the opportunity to experience both of these aspects of a fascinating island.

Day 1 – St. Lucia

Arrive at Hewanorra International Airport, where you will be met and transferred to the northern tip of the island to the Bay Gardens Beach Resort, your home for the next two nights. Check-in time is 4:00 p.m.  A local representative will be present at the hospitality desk in the afternoon to welcome you and answer any questions you may have. Relax and enjoy the many amenities of the resort before joining your fellow travelers for a welcome cocktail reception and dinner at the hotel.

Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa

Day 2 – St. Lucia

Because of its history as both a French and British colony (control of the island changed hands between these two European powers fourteen times between 1639 and 1814) the creole culture of St. Lucia is a fascinating blend of English, French, African, and indigenous Caribbean language and traditions. Today's excursion begins with a visit to a local farm that is part of the international "FarmHer" movement to highlight and support the role of women in agriculture. Meet with the owner and learn about her entry into the business, and about the support she receives from her creole background, and, of course, sample some of the produce from the farm. Continue to Stony Hill, a private residence with a splendid tropical garden and panoramic views of Pigeon Island and Rodney Bay. Enjoy a guided tour of the garden led by the owner before returning to your hotel, where the balance of the day is at leisure, until dinner.

Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa

Day 3 – St. Lucia | Embark

Breakfast and check-out are followed by a day exploring the western coast of St. Lucia. Your panoramic tour begins with a drive through the town of Castries to a viewpoint overlooking the harbor of this busy port and capital city. Drive further south through lush valleys to the yachtsman's paradise of Marigot Bay, where you pause before continuing to Soufrière, home to the iconic Pitons of St. Lucia. Here you will enjoy guided tours of the Diamond Botanical Gardens and of Sulphur Springs Park, with views of the bubbling pools of sulphur that give Soufrière its name. Your final stop will be at Morne Coubaril Estate, a working farm that produces cocoa, coconut, and manioc and that preserves a sense of 18th-century life on a French creole plantation. Enjoy a delicious creole lunch at a local restaurant before transferring to the pier in Vieux Fort to embark your ship in late afternoon.

Your hotel:

The Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa is a luxury resort on the spectacular golden sands and crystal-clear blue waters of Reduit Beach on Rodney Bay. It boasts a large pool with a Jacuzzi in the middle, two ocean side restaurants, a fitness center, and a business center. The luxurious on-site La Mer Spa and Salon offers a variety of massages and couples treatments.

Your program includes:

  • 2 nights at the Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa (or similar)
  • Transfer and luggage handling from the airport to the hotel on the scheduled program arrival day
  • Transfer and luggage handling from the hotel to the ship on embarkation day
  • Welcome Reception on Day 1
  • Dinner on Days 1 and 2
  • Breakfast on Days 2 and 3
  • Lunch on Day 3
  • Sightseeing and programming as noted in the itinerary
  • Local English-speaking guide
  • Gratuities for the drivers and local guides

Your program does not include:

  • Transfer from the airport to the hotel on any day other than the scheduled program arrival day
  • Personal expenses and other services and meals not mentioned as included in the program

Please note:

  • It is imperative that your flight arrival details are communicated at least 30 days prior to the beginning of your cruise in order to secure your transfer from the airport to the hotel.
  • Early check-in and/or late check-out are available depending on availability and at a supplement. An additional night is possible, upon request and depending on hotel availability. Please, contact reservations or your travel agent for further details.
  • The official currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar. US dollars and credit cards are widely accepted in hotels, shops, and restaurants.
  • This pre-cruise program is offered as a package. There will be no refunds for unused accommodations, meals, or excursions.
  • Program is offered on a space available basis.
  • Program is subject to change without notice.

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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