Cruise passengers are enjoying marvelous Martinique in growing numbers this year according to the latest statistics from the Martinique Promotion Bureau/CMT USA.  From January to April 2008 cruise arrivals totaled 51,718, a 10.55-percent increase over the same period in 2007.

Muriel Wiltord, director Americas for the Martinique Promotion Bureau /CMT USA, commented on the increase, stating: “These initial results are a good start, but with all that Martinique has to offer for today’s savvy and sophisticated cruise passenger, there’s still a lot of room for growth.  We are committed to working closely with the cruise lines to further strengthen Martinique’s growing position as a viable and desired cruise destination.”

Cruise ships call on Martinique in the heart of downtown Fort-de-France, the island’s capital city and the capital of the Caribbean when it comes to shopping.  The best of Parisian fashion, jewelry, porcelain, perfumes and other fine goods are here, and for U.S. travelers most of it is available at a 20-percent discount.  Select stores offer the discount to visitors who make purchases using major U.S. credit cards or travelers cheques, helping the U.S. dollar retain some strength versus the Euro.  Excursions highlighting the island’s ecotourism wonders, rich cultural history, snorkeling, golf, award-winning rum distilleries, and more are also available.

“In cruising today, the more exotic the destination, the better; good news for emerging islands like Martinique.” said Michelle Fee, CEO of Cruise Planners, a American Express Travel Services Representative national cruise agency with a franchised network of more than 700 experienced travel professionals.  “Our clients are actively seeking out new and exciting experiences off the beaten path.  Martinique is simply ideal for the cruise traveler with a ‘been there, done that’ attitude about the Caribbean.”

Cruise lines featuring Martinique in 2008-2009 itineraries include Azamara Cruises, Costa Cruises, Holland America Line, MSC Italian Cruises, P&O Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Seabourn Cruise Line, Silversea Cruises, Star Clippers and Windstar Cruises.