One of the things I like about cruising is getting to visit lots of islands on one trip. If I wanted to see five islands in one vacation, there’s no other way I could afford to do it, because the airfare and transportation and lodging would wind up being astronomical! Also, I like being able to travel from one island to the next while I’m sleeping.
I was pretty excited about going to Martinique on this trip, because it’s a French speaking country and I’ve never been to a French speaking country. I like giving my kids opportunities to visit places that are different with different kinds of people and different languages.
On the other hand, I don’t speak French. Nobody in my family speaks French, and I was a little nervous about it, especially after I read that a lot of people on the island don’t speak English.
I started my research and trying to figure out what to do, and was disappointed in the lack of information. It’s one thing to plan a big trip to this island, but when you only have one day in port, that does give you limitations. So I ultimately decided that in this case, I would book an excursion with the cruise line rather than on my own adventures.
The tour we booked was a snorkeling and beach tour, but it didn’t start until 2 in the afternoon, which gave us plenty of time to get off the ship and do some exploring in the morning. We walked off the boat and immediately felt as though we had landed in a sauna. It was HOT. I know this is the farthest south we’ve ever been, but I was not expecting how hot this was! Luckily it didn’t last too long before some clouds blew in and we got some sprinkles.
We immediately walked over to the nearby market of booths set up to cater to tourists and started walking around. There were lots of neat little items, lots of jewelry, and the sales people were friendly and eager but not too pushy. Harper wanted to buy some earrings, and the lady asked her, “What’s your favorite color?” After she answered, she went behind the table and pulled out a little blue sparkly bag to put the earrings in.
My son picked out a hat and paid for it. As we were walking away, the seller chased us down because we’d given one dollar too many. I was really impressed with that.
We walked along the boardwalk there, where there was some kind of handicap awareness fair going on. At least, that’s what we think – we couldn’t read the signs in French! But they had two seater bikes, with kids riding in the back blindfolded as well as some hand cranked bikes and other activities.
We walked along the boardwalk over to Fort Saint Louis, which is an active naval base as well as a historic site. We walked around and took photos and then walked back toward the boardwalk. There’s a small beach there, that was active with local children play, as well as a nifty little park with different playground equipment that we had fun testing out.
After this, we walked back to the ship for lunch and to prepare for our snorkeling trip.