Expect to have your breath taken away on a St Lucia cruise. Marvel at the majestic mountains, their peaks carpeted in emerald greenery. Trek through lush rainforest, where you’ll discover an abundance of tropical birdlife and flowers. Once you’ve explored the mountainous interior, relax on one of the stunning white-sand beaches encircling the island, or snorkel in the warm waters.

As well as its natural beauty, St Lucia is an island steeped in tradition. Quaint coastal towns bear traces of the island’s French heritage, with their pastel-coloured colonial buildings. But you can also experience St Lucia’s indigenous Caribbean culture as you learn about age-old island traditions, and try the mouthwatering St Lucian food.

st luciaPopular Ports in St Lucia

Castries

St Lucia’s capital is nestled around a turquoise bay, and the peak of Morne Fortune soars above it, providing a scenic backdrop. The streets are lined with French colonial buildings, their facades painted in bright colours. Despite the city’s laid-back atmosphere, it’s crammed with restaurants, shops and intriguing cultural attractions.

Check out the market in downtown Castries, where you can wander past stalls piled high with tropical fruits, and buy local crafts and spices. Or visit Derek Walcott Square, named after the Nobel Prize-winning St Lucian poet, where you’ll find a Victorian basilica with amazing technicolour frescos inside.

Soufrière

The island’s former historic capital, Soufrière, is St Lucia’s most picturesque town. Colourful rows of colonial houses are surrounded by pristine beaches and the iconic, jagged Piton peaks. Visit the Diamond Botanical Gardens, where you can marvel at the profusion of exotic blooms, and explore ruined buildings and waterfalls.

If you don’t mind getting dirty, visit Sulphur Springs Park, where you can bathe in mineral-rich mud, warmed by geothermal springs. Wash it off in nearby Toraille Falls, or one on of the beautiful beaches.

Pigeon Island

Several smaller ships dock near Pigeon Island, joined to the mainland by a sandy causeway. This idyllic island is one of St Lucia’s premier historic attractions, once inhabited by Arawak tribes, then a French pirate and a British admiral who built a fort on the islet. You can still wander the atmospheric ruins of Fort Rodney, exploring the ghostly remains of walls and garrisons.

If you’re feeling energetic, you can climb Signal Hill for a stunning view of St Lucia and the surrounding ocean. But there’s also the opportunity to relax on one of the two small, secluded sandy coves, where the calm waters are perfect for snorkelling.

What are the best cruise ships for a St Lucia cruise?

st luciaIf you’re visiting paradise, you’ll want to travel there in style. Here are two sleek and sophisticated cruise ships that will allow you to do just that.

Marella Explorer 2

Spoil yourself with a St Lucia cruise on the Marella Explorer 2, the first ship in the Marella fleet exclusively for adults. Enjoy a child-free holiday relaxing by the pool, or on a Balinese daybed on The Veranda sundeck. Pamper yourself at Champneys Spa, enjoying a sauna or a massage. There’s a host of wining and dining options on offer, too. Treat your special someone to a luxurious meal at The Dining Club, or enjoy tapas with friends at The Mediterranean. Later, you can enjoy a pint at British pub Squid & Anchor, or let your hair down at the lively, late-night Indigo club.

Marella Celebration

Enjoy a luxurious and intimate cruise experience on the Marella Celebration, a boat which proves that good things really do come in smaller packages. The decks of this sophisticated cruise liner are packed with activities – from a sports deck to a casino, a portrait studio and two outdoor swimming pools. Take advantage of the action-packed Kids’ Club to go for a treatment at the Oceans Beauty Salon and Spa. The five restaurants offer a wide spread of dishes, from Asian cuisine at Kora La, to lobster thermidor at upmarket Mistral’s.

Shore Excursion Ideas

Make the most of your St Lucia cruise by exploring the island on a shore excursion. Here are three tours which highlight the island’s beauty and diversity.

Aerial tram ride

Look down on St Lucia from above on this offbeat aerial-tram tour. You’ll hop onto an open-air carriage and soar above a tropical rainforest reserve. As you glide through the tree canopy, you’ll catch sight of luxuriant plants, hear bird calls and spot iridescent-feathered hummingbirds.

Once you’re back on solid ground, an experienced guide will take you on a short trek through the rainforest, using local knowledge to identify the flora and fauna you see around you.

Pitons cruise

Explore St Lucia’s scenic beauty from the comfort of a catamaran. You’ll set sail from Castries, passing lush forest and isolated beaches fringed with mangroves, until you reach Soufrière Bay. Your jaw will drop as you catch sight of the stone escarpments of the Piton mountains, rising sharply from the water.

The catamaran will moor up on a secluded beach, where there’ll be a break for refreshments and the chance to swim in the azure waters. The final stop is Marigot Bay, the setting for the Dr Dolittle movie.

pitons st luciaHeritage highlights

Gain some insight into St Lucia’s fascinating traditions on this heritage tour. You’ll drive to Morne Fortune, renowned for its panoramic hilltop views, where you’ll visit Eudovic’s Art Studio. Watch master craftsmen carve wooden intricate sculptures – and you can buy their products.

The second stop on the tour is Fond Latisab Creole Park, where you’ll experience the island’s traditions first-hand. Sample homemade cassava bread, and watch men with two-man saws laboriously chopping trees, accompanied by the rhythmic tunes of maracas, known locally as shak-shaks.

Top ports of call in this destination