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Setting sail from Philipsburg
Philipsburg is the gateway to an intriguing little Caribbean island with a dual personality: the Dutch side, St. Maarten, is the livelier of the two, with shopping malls, casinos and more of a nightlife scene, while French-speaking St. Martin is a more refined (and more expensive) affair, with a laid-back, continental air and a host of exclusive resorts and restaurants. Travelling between the two halves of the island is hassle-free, and both sides boast beautiful beaches, friendly locals and pleasant little towns and villages.
For a change of pace, go to Loterie Farm at the foot of Pic Paradis, the highest point on Saint Martin, where you can cool off, see the wildlife and rent a cabana for a day of swimming in the cascades.
Saint Kitts and Nevis: Nevis
Sleepy, low key and utterly charming, Nevis is a real Caribbean gem. Dominated by the towering Nevis Peak, the island is dotted with former plantation houses that have been turned into characterful hotels. Drop in for lunch or afternoon tea, and if there’s time have a look round the elegantly faded Georgian capital, Charlestown.
Cabrits National Park sits on a small peninsula at the northern end of Dominica, and encompasses coral reefs, tropical rainforest, wetlands and the former British garrison at Fort Shirley. There are some great hiking trails that begin in the park, and it’s also a good spot for diving and snorkelling.
Eight tiny islands make up the Iles des Saintes, a sparsely inhabited archipelago off the southern coast of Guadeloupe. The most interesting island is hilly Terre-de-Haut, almost entirely populated by the fair-skinned descendants of Breton sailors and home to a beautiful bay reminiscent of a mini Rio de Janeiro.
Antigua and Barbuda: Falmouth Harbour
Antigua is famously home to 365 beaches - one for every day of the year - and there is an undeniable allure to the many white sand coves dotted along the coast. Falmouth Harbour lies on the south of the island, close to historic Nelson’s Dockyard and the lookout at Shirley Heights.
Saint Barthélemy: Gustavia
Gustavia is the chic and petite capital of Saint Barths, a tiny French Caribbean island that’s renowned as a haunt of the rich and the famous. You can certainly live well here if you’ve got the means, with an array of gourmet restaurants and luxury boutiques aimed squarely at the A-list. The beautiful beaches, on the other hand, are free and open to all.
Arriving in Philipsburg
Air enthusiasts get really overexcited at Sunset Beach bar on Maho Bay, where the landing planes seem almost close enough to touch. It’s really quite dramatic.
Your home from home
True clipper ships, these beautiful four-masted vessels reflect a proud seafaring heritage in their elegant sails, warm woods and polished brass.
What we love
Sister ships Star Clipper and Star Flyer certainly stand out from the crowd. In full sail they are an awe-inspiring sight, reminiscent of a bygone age, yet combining this tradition with the comfort of a modern cruise line, ideal for those who wish to experience a tall ship cruise. Climb the mast or relax by the small pool; you can be as involved as you wish on these easy-going and friendly ships.
|Style||Friendly, welcoming staff help make this an informal and relaxed style of cruise.|
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Where to stay in Saint Martin
Le Petit Hotel in Grand Case is such a fantastic choice – right on the beach, and great value.