We docked in Martinique on Sunday the 7th December so most things are closed. We decided to have a chill day wandering along the waterfront and listening to the local musicians who were playing at a nearby park. It was a stunning day and the waterfront is very picturesque. We went back to the boat for lunch and watched a jet ski race in the harbour. I went ashore again late afternoon to use the free wifi and ambled back to the ship about 6.10pm. The ship was leaving at 7pm so we all had to be back on board at 6.30pm. When I got to the gangway there were about 8 crew members milling about and smiling at me – I asked them if I was late and they said no, no. I came back to to our room and Steve said somebody had called to see where I was. I was obviously the last one back on the ship and they wanted to bring the gangway in early.
We were docked overlooking Fort de France which has been back in operation as a naval base since 2001.
Martinique is the definition of a refined French-Caribbean island – fashionable and elegant, with an abundance of flora. Filled with ruins and monuments, Martinique has been French, with few interruptions, since 1635, and offers gorgeous beaches, great food and a live volcano. Banana farming, sugar cane raising, the rum business and tourism are all important to the island.
Napoleon’s Empress Josephine, born on the island in 1763, is Martinique’s most famous native. She is both revered for her fame and reviled for her part in propagating the slave trade.
Martinique is one of four islands in the Caribbean that’s part of France (also known as the French West Indies). Others include St. Martin, Guadeloupe and St. Barts. Few speak English there, and you’ll find that signs and menus generally aren’t meant to accommodate anyone who isn’t French.
Martinique’s New World history began in 1502, when Christopher Columbus landed on the island. The French claimed the island in 1635; for 180 years, ownership bounced between France and Britain, before the former took hold for good in 1815. Martinique became a region of France in 1974.