Cruise calls will be up 50 percent in Guadeloupe for the 2008/2009 winter season. According to Marc Gautier, director of the port authority, turn-arounds and calls will be up some 40 percent on the main island, in the ports of Pointe-a-Pitre and Basse Terre. The additional 10 percent will be generated by calls to Les Saintes and Deshaies, according to Olivier Michel, director of cruise for the islands of Guadeloupe. Costa Crociere will be continuing its homeport operations out of Pointe-a-Pitre with the Costa Atlantica, sailing 18 cruises this season.

Also homeporting will be the 77-passenger vessel of Canadian Sailing Expeditions, offering 23 cruises around the Guadeloupe achipelago.

Holland America Line’s Maasdam will be the biggest caller with some 15 calls, bringing an estimated 24,435 passengers to Guadeloupe, while Ocean Village will call 10 times with 16,210 passengers, and Croisieres de France, Royal Caribbean Cruises’ new French brand, 21 times with 15,918 passengers.

Other frequent callers include Royal Caribbean International, Thomson Cruises and Club Med.

Windstar and Ponant are making a total of 10 calls at the capital of Basse-Terre, while Seabourn and Canadian Sailing also call at Deshaies, a small village on the north coast. Pearl Cruises new and not-yet-named ship is also scheduled to call 11 times at Les Saintes, where Star Clipper will be calling nine times, and Seabourn, seven times. Guadeloupe offers different experiences with its main city and largest port being Pointe-a-Pitre, which is also closest to the airport; Basse-Terre, the capital, close to the rain forest and the La Soufriere Volcano, as is Deshaies with its secluded beaches; and the smaller, nearby islands of Les Saintes, accommoting more upscale vessels.

All the ports are close to beaches and feature shopping opportunites and restaurants with French and French Creole cuisine.

Altogether, Guadeloupe expects 181 turn-arounds and calls this coming winter season and 180,810 passsengers, compared to 157 calls and 121,493 passengers last year.