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Reopening to cruising, Martinique expects robust season

After 2.5 years without cruise ships, Martinique expects a busy season this winter as European and US-based lines return to the island's six ports.

This follows France on Aug. 1 ending its COVID-19 emergency and the vaccination and testing requirements to enter the country and its overseas territories. The last cruise call was in March 2020.

Tourism Commissioner Bénédicte di Géronimo said Martinique will be pleased to welcome travelers from all over the world again. She added local stakeholders and public health officials will continue to work together to ensure a safe and pleasant stay.

First back: Celebrity Equinox Oct. 2

For the coming 2022/23 winter season, Martinique expects approximately 200 cruise ship visits, starting with Celebrity Equinox on Oct. 2.

'We'll have a diverse group of ships, as small as (Vantage Travel's) Ocean Explorer and as large as P&O's Arvia. We'll have ships calling in six Martinique ports this season — Saint-Pierre, Fort-de-France (Pointe Simon and Tourelles), Anse Mitan (Trois Ilets), Grand Anse and Le Marin,' said Roger Blum of Cruise & Port Advisors, the island's Miami-based cruise industry liaison.

Martinique is expected to come back strong because of demand.

No. 1 ratings

'Martinique is getting attention ... There's been tremendous exposure,' Blum said, pointing to O Magazine naming Martinique the No. 1 Winter Getaway in the world in 2019 and TripAdvisor singling it out as the world's No. 1 Emerging Destination in 2021. He noted TripAdvisor ratings are based on searches.

'They've also won other awards, so awareness and demand to visit Martinique has certainly increased,' Blum said.  

Culture, history, variety, ease of getting around

He touted Martinique's French and creole culture, its history, varied attractions, its safety record and the ease of getting around.

'We've worked hard for visitors of all nationalities and languages to enjoy our French/creole island,' he said.  

'It's an amazing port of call and the homeport business is doing well,' according to Blum. MSC Cruises, Costa Cruises, Ponant and Club Med embark in Martinique, with AIDA Cruises offering partial turnarounds.