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Cruise Diva Goes Ashore in the Caribbean
Sights to see & things to do

Martinique

Arrival at Fort-de-France can prove something of a disappointment. Don’t let the dreariness of the commercial port area discourage you; Martinique is a beautiful and bountiful island. Tropical flowers, pineapple, and coconut palms flourish amid fruit trees filled with breadfruit, mangoes, avocados, bananas, and papayas.

This is a French island—very French—and that language is spoken almost exclusively. Even if the person you’re addressing speaks English, you can’t count on being understood. 

Getting around on your own isn’t simple. The walk into town is hot, dirty, and smelly. A taxi ride is an expensive 15 Euros or so. Negotiate the fare before you get in and, yes, be prepared to pay in Euro.

Diversions 

With the language barrier and high cost of taxis, the best way to see Martinique is by ship’s tour. Most offer an excursion to The Pompeii of Martinique, which was actually St-Pierre. Once the cultural and economic center of the island, it was destroyed in 1902 when the volcano Pelée exploded in a fiery eruption killing 30,000 people.

Shopping 

Befitting its French heritage, luxury items from France are the most widely sought bargains. Rue Victor Hugo is the main shopping street in Fort-de-France and is where you’ll find Roger Albert, with one of the largest selections of French and American perfumes in the Caribbean. While prices appear low on luxury goods, there is an addition of value added tax that nearly negates any savings.

Beaches 

South of Fort-de-France the beaches are white sand and to the north of the city they are mostly gray volcanic sand. Your best bets are the clean white beaches of Pointe du Bout near the major resorts where you can usually use the facilities for a fee. It should be no surprise that topless sunbathing is practiced on many beaches and even around hotel swimming pools.


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