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  #1  
Old November 19th, 2008, 08:56 AM
surfer_girl_NJ surfer_girl_NJ is offline
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Default Our day at Martinique Nov 08

Our cruise ship pulled into Martinique for the day. We only had a short time 9-2:30. The tourist information booth by the pier did not suggest taking a cab south to the best beaches due to all of the construction…it would take about 2 hours one way. The ferries were only going to one place that day…Pointe du Bout. We hopped on board. Round trip $8 per person. The ride was only about 20 minutes. We did not stop at the first beaches by the marina although they were nice (white sand, palm trees, man-made). We walked about 8-10 minutes down the road to Anse-Beach. The beach was very long but not wide. Black sand, rocky but the water was warm and clean. They had showers (no cost), toilets (cost but I do not know how much) and topless bathing. We choose this beach because it was less crowded. We only stayed for 2 hours. The ferries have a schedule but beware they do not abide by them.

Unlike other people that stated that the French people were not helpful we found some of the people to be very helpful. We were trying to call home and were having trouble. The shop owner who sold us the calling card spent 20 minutes with us until we were able to make the call. Also some local people in the shop we helpful trying to explain what we needed to do. I guess it all depends who you run into…just like in the States.

Back by the pier we walked around Fort-de-France for awhile and poked our heads into some of the shops.

If I knew more French I would definitely go back to Martinique to vacation.
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  #2  
Old November 19th, 2008, 03:22 PM
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Cruzin Terri Cruzin Terri is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surfer_girl_NJ View Post
Our cruise ship pulled into Martinique for the day. We only had a short time 9-2:30. The tourist information booth by the pier did not suggest taking a cab south to the best beaches due to all of the construction…it would take about 2 hours one way. The ferries were only going to one place that day…Pointe du Bout. We hopped on board. Round trip $8 per person. The ride was only about 20 minutes. We did not stop at the first beaches by the marina although they were nice (white sand, palm trees, man-made). We walked about 8-10 minutes down the road to Anse-Beach. The beach was very long but not wide. Black sand, rocky but the water was warm and clean. They had showers (no cost), toilets (cost but I do not know how much) and topless bathing. We choose this beach because it was less crowded. We only stayed for 2 hours. The ferries have a schedule but beware they do not abide by them.

Unlike other people that stated that the French people were not helpful we found some of the people to be very helpful. We were trying to call home and were having trouble. The shop owner who sold us the calling card spent 20 minutes with us until we were able to make the call. Also some local people in the shop we helpful trying to explain what we needed to do. I guess it all depends who you run into…just like in the States.

Back by the pier we walked around Fort-de-France for awhile and poked our heads into some of the shops.

If I knew more French I would definitely go back to Martinique to vacation.
Thanks so much for your review. I will be on the Noordam in January and will be stopping in Martinique. Were there any ship sponsored shore excursions. None show up on the website when I log in to book shore excursions. Also for Grenada.
Thanks for your help.
Terri
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  #3  
Old November 19th, 2008, 09:50 PM
crule crule is offline
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I was in Martinique on the Noordam's Oct 18th itinerary (I think we were in Martinique around the 23rd or so).

In a nutshell - I loved Martinique.

We had met another awesome couple earlier on the cruise and they had nothing planned for Martinique. We were going to "roll our own" that day and just rent a car.

So, the 4 of us rented our car (a Volkswagen Lupo) and drove to the Sacre Couer church. From there, we went to the botanical gardens in Balata. After that, we went to go find a short hiking trial I found in my Carribean Hikes book - key words "went to go find" ... the trail head was very obscured and we about didn't find it. When we did, we decided that it was not very well maintained and just aborted the trip.

After that, it was just a nice scenic road trip - drove up to Morne Rouge, and then over to St Pierre - and then took the coastal road back into Fort De France, stopping by a Hyper U in Schoelcher for some french wines and cheese.

Now, here's where the fun begins - I need to get fuel for the car. So, while we were on their main controlled access highway earlier in the day, we remembered where a station was - so I get back out on the highway - big mistake. They apparently have a rush hour that begins at like 1pm - and we got stuck in that traffic. So, we ditched the highway and went to surface streets - EVEN WORSE. Plus, I'm in this little 1.2L car, trying to negotiate a stick shift up a 60 degree hill. The poor clutch almost gives out on me. SO, we abandon all hills - and start navigating by instict back to the boat.

Traffic is still moving at a crawl.

It's now 1:45 pm (2:30 was curfew) - and we're all getting VERY nervous. Traffic still at a crawl.

2:00 pm - nervous now turns to prayer and pleas for divine assistance.

At one point, one of our party jumps out of the car to go find a phone to call the port agent. He meets up with a cab driver - gives him the number to call. The cab driver says that there is a machine on the other end. A machine? At the port agent's number ? Egad!

So, we keep driving - finally, I see a break in the traffic - and turn left and start working my way back into town - and finally find the roads that do not have clogged traffic.

We finally make our way back into town at EXACTLY 2:30. I sent one guy straight to the ship with a walkie talkie in hand.

5 minutes later I get the car parked exactly in front of the car rental office. I never did get my fuel. I pay the penalty. It's now 2:30.

So, I'm running like heck back to the ship. Finally meet up with the other guy who was with us - and get checked in. Lucky for us, 4 others were later than we were.

SO - a stressful final 2 hours or so.

But - I *LOVED* Martinique. Yes, it's very french. That's because it *IS* France. Like another review put it, it's as French as Hawaii is United States. But, I took French in High School and College (20 years ago) but I was able to remember enough to get by.

Were the people rude? Not at all. Just keep in mind, do not expect english speakers. (Would you expect French speakers in Hawaii?) Make an attempt to speak French, and they'll try to meet you half way.

Would I go back? Absolutement!
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  #4  
Old November 28th, 2008, 10:34 AM
katgio50 katgio50 is offline
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Default Martinique day

Crule,
The end to your day on Martinique did sound a little stressful. I am glad that you did love the island in spite of that. Martinique gets a bad "rap" sometimes because it is so French. Personally, I look forward to visiting an island that is true to its history and so European. We will be there in Dec. and I think we will do our own walking tour and enjoy the ambience.
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  #5  
Old November 28th, 2008, 04:09 PM
crule crule is offline
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Martinique was awesome - and I'd love to go back - and I'll even rent a car and try this whole itinerary again. The irony of our "search for fuel" was that when we finally made it back into downtown Fort de France, and started navigating the various one-ways, cris-crossing back to the rental car office, we found a gas station! Had I turned LEFT onto surface streets instead of right onto the highway, all this stress would have been avoided - and even had some walking-around-downtown time to kill.

Note-to-self, next trip, find the closest gas station, way-point it on the GPS, and then start the day's tours.

I just wish we had a longer day - this 8a to 2:30p business was rediculous.
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  #6  
Old January 29th, 2009, 11:49 PM
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NAHA NAHA is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surfer_girl_NJ View Post
Our cruise ship pulled into Martinique for the day. We only had a short time 9-2:30. The tourist information booth by the pier did not suggest taking a cab south to the best beaches due to all of the construction…it would take about 2 hours one way. The ferries were only going to one place that day…Pointe du Bout. We hopped on board. Round trip $8 per person. The ride was only about 20 minutes. We did not stop at the first beaches by the marina although they were nice (white sand, palm trees, man-made). We walked about 8-10 minutes down the road to Anse-Beach. The beach was very long but not wide. Black sand, rocky but the water was warm and clean. They had showers (no cost), toilets (cost but I do not know how much) and topless bathing. We choose this beach because it was less crowded. We only stayed for 2 hours. The ferries have a schedule but beware they do not abide by them.

Unlike other people that stated that the French people were not helpful we found some of the people to be very helpful. We were trying to call home and were having trouble. The shop owner who sold us the calling card spent 20 minutes with us until we were able to make the call. Also some local people in the shop we helpful trying to explain what we needed to do. I guess it all depends who you run into…just like in the States.

Back by the pier we walked around Fort-de-France for awhile and poked our heads into some of the shops.

If I knew more French I would definitely go back to Martinique to vacation.

Surfer Girl, your review is very welcome, there is not much up to date info here on Martinique.

We will be there in February with some cousins, would you recommend Pointe du Bout beach to stay for a couple of hours? Do they offer chairs and umbrellas? Is there a bar?

If not, can you, or anyone, recommend such a beach on Martinique?

Thank you so much for all your help!
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