Beautiful St Barths is a jewel in the crown of the Caribbean. You’ll be enchanted by the turquoise waters, striking mountains and white-sand beaches. Despite their beauty, many of them are remarkably free of tourists, and celebrities like Gwen Stefani and Beyoncé are captivated by them, too. The island’s towns are populated with upmarket boutiques, Michelin-starred restaurants and 5* hotels to please the lifestyles of the rich and famous.
But rest assured, you don’t need to be a celebrity to enjoy yourself here. Alongside relaxing beaches there are plenty of water sports to enjoy, from kite surfing to snorkelling. Enjoy a frozen piña colada in a beach-shack bar as you watch the sun set. Hike along coastal paths over undulating hills and up extinct volcanoes – a St Barths cruise really is the holiday of a lifetime.
Popular Ports in St Barths
Pint-sized St Barths only has one port and it’s in Gustavia, the capital. Once a sleepy fishing village, this picturesque port town is now synonymous with luxury. Sleek super-yachts bob in the marina which is lined with upscale bars and restaurants. Gustavia is also the undisputed shopping capital of the Caribbean. The main shopping street, Quai de la Republique, is lined with designer outlets like Louis Vuitton and Cartier.
But away from the glitz and glamour, Gustavia has an interesting historical past just waiting to be discovered. Wander winding lanes admiring the unique buildings, an architectural style which combines French, Scandinavian and Caribbean influences. Ascend the steps up to Fort Karl, where you can look out at the ocean from a viewing platform studded with cannons.
What are the best cruise ships for a St Barths cruise?
Like the celebrities who visit the island, you’ll want to cruise to St Barths in style. Here are two cruise liners who will take you there in 5* luxury.
The ships in the Marella fleet offer the best balance between luxury and affordability in the industry, and the boutique Marella Celebrationis no exception. Live like the rich and famous by indulging in a treatment at the two-storey Oceans Beauty Salon and Spa. Lounge on a chic daybed at the al fresco Sun Lounge enjoying a cocktail, or refresh yourself with a dip in the pool. And there’s plenty for kids to do, from attending stage school to family-friendly pool parties. You can even drop them off at Kids’ Club while you enjoy a romantic meal for two at Mistral’s Restaurant or Kora La.
Glide across the seven seas on the upscale Silver Whisper, a ship that caters mainly to adults. With its impossibly plush cabins – many of which have private teak verandas and whirlpool baths – you’ll feel like you’re travelling in a floating 5* hotel. The magic doesn’t end there – relax by the pool or in the nearby jacuzzi, or pamper yourself with a massage at the spa. Have a romantic candlelit dinner at La Terrazza, which transforms into an a la carte restaurant in the evenings. Top off the evening with a complimentary cocktail at the bar.
Shore Excursion Ideas
St Barth’s bike tour
If you’re feeling active, explore St Barths by bike. You’ll have a chance to get away from the glitz and glamour to experience the island’s stunning natural scenery. The 13-mile tour begins in the capital, where you’ll pedal past quaint French and Swedish buildings.
Cycle to Saint Jean Bay, surrounded by undulating forested hills. Look out for airplanes skimming the sand on their way to land in the nearby airport. You’ll continue cycling along the picturesque coastline to picture-perfect Lorient Bay, where you can cool off after your ride with a dip in the ocean.
Blue cat snorkelling
A St Barths cruise is the perfect time to try out snorkelling, with sun-warmed waters teeming with tropical fish and colourful coral. On this excursion, you’ll take a catamaran to a dive site formed of rockpools studded with beautiful coral. You’ll also take a dip at Gros Ilets, where you can catch sight of black-and-white sergeant major fish.
Back on board, you can soak up the Caribbean sun as you return to port. There are drinks and snacks to refresh you, including the tipple of choice in the Caribbean – rum punch.
Explore underwater as well as on land in this amazing, family-friendly shore excursion. Board a ‘semi-submarine’ which has an open-air upper deck and a submerged lower deck. Enjoy the sun above or head below to peer through the portholes.
You’ll pass coral gardens and gleaming shoals of tropical fish. You’ll even catch sight of a shipwreck, the Marignan, which sunk after a hurricane in 1995. Keep your eyes peeled for sea turtles and even sharks gliding through the water.