Cruising the leeward Islands.
See the list of port visits below.
Philipsburg, St. Maarten
Philipsburg was founded in 1763 by John Philips, a Scottish captain in the Dutch navy, and soon became a bustling center of international trade. Two historic forts bear witness to Philipsburg's strategic importance in St. Martin's history: Fort Amsterdam and Fort Willem.
The main shopping district, Front Street, is in the heart of the city. Philipsburg has a port that is home to many cruise liners and tall ships.
Anguilla is in the British Leeward Islands. Columbus thought this long flat island with its multitude of white sand coves looked like an undulating eel, so he named it Anguilla. The island has been a British colony/dependency since it was first settled in 1650. Except for a few half-hearted attempts at invasion by the French during the 18th century, the world has pretty much ignored the island. Recently, Anguilla has been discovered by the cognoscenti, who find the island's small upscale resorts an ideal retreat to get away from it all. Try the haute cuisine at Malliouhana, or the Arabian Nights ambience of Pimms.
This is where the slogan “life’s a beach” was coined. Anguilla’s thirty-three powdery white-sand beaches are excellent for walking, swimming or simply sipping rum daiquiris. The water in Anguilla is phenomenal: fading from cobalt blue to jade green to pale turquoise, the colors are otherworldly. You can stroll for miles and not see another soul ... truly blissful.
St. Barts (St. Barthelemy Island)
When touring this arid and hilly island, you might dine alfresco at a village cafe or at a beachside table for two. You’ll feel every bit the foreigner here as French is the lingua franca. Buzzing scooters topped with tanned twenty-somethings on their way to the beach look more like tourists at the French Riviera. And, at times, you’ll think you never left the Mother Country: French food, wine, fashion and all things imported (including rumbling Peugeots) grace the landscape. St. Barts is a quintessentially chi-chi, celebrity island – a totally different Caribbean experience.
St. Barts, or St. Barths, both short for St. Barthelemy, is named after Christopher Columbus's brother, Bartolemo. The island has volcanic origins, and there is no fresh water source within its 8 square miles. Settled in the 17th century by immigrants from Brittany and Normandy, France leased the island to Sweden for almost 100 years in return for trading rights in the Baltic. French rule was restored by vote of the island's citizens, and St. Barts remains a dependency of the French overseas department of Guadeloupe.
Unlike other islands where traditional lifestyles have been stamped out by mass tourism, St. Kitts boasts a thriving West Indian culture. Her lush and forested slopes rise gracefully to mist-shrouded peaks. A worthwhile site for history buffs, the imposing 17th century fortress (Brimstone Hill) looms over green fields of sugar cane and banana trees. St. Kitts’ was the first successful colony in the British West Indies. Indeed, when viewed from the top of Brimstone Hill, the “Gibraltar of the Caribbean” appears to dominate everything in the Southern Sea. Shop in colourful Basseterre, play golf and tour old plantation houses. For the adventuresome there’s a brisk hike through the rainforest.
Nevis or Saba
Visit either Nevis or Saba, depending on wind & weather. Nevis is dotted with old sugar plantations, and is where Alexander Hamilton was born. Saba. the smallest island in the Netherlands Antilles, is the remains of a long dormant volcano, and a great place to go Scuba diving.
St. Martin (disembark)