A new cruise offering from Smithsonian Journeys and PONANT

Set sail across the Windward Islands on an 8-day cruise, exploring rainforests, snorkeling reefs, and encountering local history and culture in Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados and beyond.  

Starting at: $4,110 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

8 days from $4,110

A new cruise offering from Smithsonian Journeys and PONANT

Set sail across the Windward Islands on an 8-day cruise, 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

Overview

Pre-Cruise Program3 Days, 2 Nights

With its dense, green, rain-forest-covered peaks rising from the turquoise Caribbean, St. Lucia is home to a remarkable variety of landscapes and seascapes. It is also the scene of some of the Caribbean's most significant naval battles during the colonial period. This specially designed program will introduce you to both.

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 this evening, followed by dinner at the hotel.

Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa

Day 2 – St. Lucia

After breakfast at the hotel, a short 5-mile drive brings you to Pigeon Island National Park for a morning of exploration and relaxation. One of St. Lucia’s most important monuments, the waters off Pigeon Island were the site of innumerable naval battles, first between the French pirate François 'Peg-Leg' Le Clerc and the Spanish galleons he raided, and later between the English and French navies as they fought for control of the island. You may wish to delve into this history at the Visitor Center at the old British fort built on a promontory overlooking Rodney Bay and the northwest coast. Or you may choose simply to relax, or swim and snorkel, on one of the park's inviting beaches. Return to your hotel at midday, where lunch and the afternoon are on your own, before you join fellow travelers for 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 15 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.

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. Alternatively, choose to paddle a glass-bottomed kayak along the shore to the Baie des Saintes. Following a guide, you’ll pass over a shipwreck and encounter tropical fish and corals in the water below you. (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 – 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 7 – 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 8 – Bridgetown/Return 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)