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Fort-de-France is the largest port and the capital city of Martinique - one of France's overseas territories in the Caribbean Sea. The port is located on the island's central-western coast, at Madame River's mouth. Here are also the island's Martinique Aime Cesaire International Airport, and Fort Saint Louis (French naval base). The other cruise ports in Martinique are Le Marin and Les Anses d'Arlet.
IMPORTANT: Since January 2020, all cruise ship passengers booked on roundtrip itineraries from US ports (including San Juan Puerto Rico) that visit Martinique ports need for boarding passport books (not passport cards or birth certificates). Passport books are required for both adults and minors and must be valid for at least 6 months after the voyage ends.
Besides the cruise ship tourism, the port of Fort-de-France serves most of the country's cargo shipping traffic, including the exports of cacao, rum, sugar, tinned fruits. The city covers a total area of 44 km2 (17 mi2) and has population around 85,000.
Christopher Columbus (Italian explorer and colonizer, 1451-1506) discovered the Martinique Island in 1493. In 1635, Pierre Belain d'Esnambuc (French trader in the Caribbean, 1585-1636) claimed the island for France.
Fort-de-France is an extraordinary town, with a distinctive French flair. It is a perfect travel destination for dining or shopping for souveniers. Other attractions are the Central Park (flowering gardens and fountains), the Cathedral, the historic Fort Saint Louis.
Elsewhere on the island are Paul Gauguin Memorial, the Museum of Seashell Art and the Museum of Empress Josephine, wife of Napoleon. For a scenic Martinique Island tour, remember to visit the Regional Natural Park. Those who like hiking can climb the semi-active volcano Mount Pelee (elevation 1400 m / 4580 ft). Its 1902 eruption killed around 30,000 inhabitants.
During season 2015-2016, Martinique was visited by cruise ships 221 times (49 more over season 2014-2015), binging over 380,000 passengers. This passenger volume was an increase of 73% over 2014.
For season 2018, the port reported a record number of cruise berth bookings (a total of 365) made by early March 2018. The over 70% increase (2018 over 2017) was mainly due to diverted cruise ships from the Caribbean islands that suffered hurricane damages. In 2017, the cruise port handled a total of 511,147 passengers. Also in 2018 were upgraded cruise terminal's amenities and services, including pierside passenger greetings, taxi vouchers, new tours, new terminal signage.
In 2019, the port handled 193 ship calls and a total of 285,423 passengers (393,157 pax were received in 2018). For 2020 (before the global Coronavirus pandemic in March), the cruise port had booked 203 ship berthings and anticipated ~400,000 tourists (on transition itineraries) plus ~110,000 (from homeported vessels.
Fort-de-France cruise terminal
The cruise ship terminal features a large shopping complex with numerous vendors, including designer jewelry, watches, clothing and accessories, perfumes, locally-made merchandise (incl hand-made souvenirs and art). Payements in USD are accepted. Each ship's passengers are greeted by local hostesses dressed in Creole costumes and live performances of popular Caribbean music.
From the cruise port to downtown is an approx 15-min walking distance. Sometimes, the cruise ship may dock at Tourelles Passenger Terminal - located ~2 km (1 mi) away from downtown.
In the period 2020-230, the cruise port will benefit from a USD 35 million (~EUR 32 M) investments in upgrades. The project includes installing new X-ray machines and CCTV cameras, Tourelles Terminal improvements, new cruise terminal building and landscaping in downtown (at Port Simon).
At Port Simon are planned berth extension (by adding two mooring dolphins) and expansion of the jet bridge (that serves embarking/disembarking passengers). The expanded dock will be able to handle larger vessels - with max LOA length 272 m (890 ft) and GT tonnage 140,000. Tourelles Terminal's docking capacity will be also extended by adding two new berthing dolphins (max LOA length 350 m / 1148 ft) and the jet bridge will be expanded.
Port Fort-de-France cruise ship schedule shows timetable calendars of all arrival and departure dates by month. The port's schedule lists all ships (in links) with cruises going to or leaving from Fort-de-France, Martinique. To see the full itineraries (ports of call dates and arrival / departure times) and their lowest rates – just follow the corresponding ship-link.
|19 January, 2020|
- Cruise Industry
Cruisers planning on visiting Martinique will now be required to bring a valid passport in order to disembark the ship. A lot of Caribbean islands...September 29, 2019
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