Getting there & away
Martinique is well visited by seafaring vessels. Cruise ships and interisland ferries call on Martinique every day, and the island is a favorite anchorage for private sailboats and yachts.
Cruise ships land at Pointe Simon in Fort-de-France, at the western side of the harbor and within easy walking distance of the city center and main sights. The arrival facilities have phones, rest rooms, a taxi stand and a tourist information booth that opens on cruise-ship days.
Yachting and sailing are very popular in Martinique and numerous charter companies operate on the island. Sparkling Charter (74-66-39; www.sparkling-charter.com) and Sunsail Antilles (74-98-17; www.sunsail.com) are based at the marina in Marin, as are a huge number of other charter companies. Star Voyage (66-00-72) is based at the Pointe du Bout marina.
Two companies provide regular boat service between Martinique and Guadeloupe, Dominica and St Lucia. The ferries use the Terminal de Croisière (sometimes called Quai Ouest), 850m southeast of La Savane in Fort-de-France.
L’Express des Îles (35-90-00; www.express-des-iles.com) operates large, modern catamarans that have air-conditioned cabins with TVs and a snack bar. There are three weekly crossings from Fort-de-France to Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe (one way/round trip €67/100, three hours), on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. Boats leave Fort-de-France for Roseau in Dominica every afternoon except Wednesday (one way/round trip €67/100, 1½ hours) and for Castries in St Lucia every day except Tuesday and Saturday (one way/round trip €67/100, 80 minutes).
Departure days and times for these services change frequently and often bear no relation to the printed schedule. The only way to be sure is to call L’Express des Îles or check with a local travel agent. There are discounts of 50% for children aged under two, 10% for students and passengers under 12 years old, and 5% for passengers younger than 26 or older than 60.
Brudey Frères (70-08-50; www.brudey-freres.fr) offers an express catamaran between Fort-de-France and Pointe-à-Pitre (one way/round trip €65/95) every day. In high season, there’s an additional crossing three to four days per week. The company has crossings between Fort-de-France and Dominica every afternoon, with additional morning departures in high season (one way/round trip €55/80). There’s service between St Lucia (one way/round trip €55/80) on Friday and Sunday. Travel times are nearly identical to L’Express des Îles.
Brudey also offers discounts for youths and elders. Schedules change, so check current timetables.
A round-trip or onward ticket is officially required of visitors. This may be checked at customs upon arrival or, if you’re coming from within the Caribbean, before you depart for Martinique.
Martinique Aimé Césaire International Airport (FDF; information line 42-18-77), formerly known as Lamentin International Airport) has an information line. Immigration is courteous and efficient at this large and modern airport, which has a number of ATMs, money change bureaus and restaurants.
The following airlines service Martinique:
American Airlines/American Eagle (www.aa.com) San Juan