Category: Travel

Best Theme Cruises for Wine Lovers | Travel Tips

By MM Travel and Tours on in Travel

Book your cruise vacation today with M & M Travel and Tours! (810) 877 1814

With so many well-regarded wine-growing regions around the world, wine tourism seems to be gaining popularity each year. A cruise is a wonderful way to sail to some of the top wine destinations around the world, on river cruises in Germany, France and Portugal or on ocean voyages to Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Croatia, Latin America and the California coast, for examples. 

A theme cruise that focuses on wine and food is a fabulous way for wine lovers (oenophiles) to savor the unique flavors of the world, while onboard and ashore. These sailings marry exceptional cuisine and the wines created in the regions to which you are sailing. The best part: The experience is fully immersive, with experts leading the way on tastings and tours. 

Here are Cruise Addicts’ top theme cruises to tempt wine aficionados. 

Windstar Cruises 

The small-ship luxury line offers a series of James Beard Foundation Culinary cruises, sailing itineraries from Rome to Barcelona and Venice to Rome in 2019. 

The James Beard Foundation celebrates chefs, writers and restaurateurs who advance the culinary arts, and Windstar’s James Beard theme cruises bring onboard expert chefs and sommeliers to create a foodie’s dream, with chef demos, special beverage pairings, and market tours. You can learn new cooking techniques as you watch demos of chef-designed recipes on every sailing.  

Cruisers can taste wine from a storied vineyard, then visit the same vineyard at a port stop on the itinerary. Sommeliers discuss and compare the wines to others in the region during tasting sessions. 

UnCruise Adventures 

Expedition small-ship line UnCruise Adventures features a “Rivers of Wine and Culinary” itinerary on the Columbia and Snake rivers in Washington and Oregon, two states with renowned wineries. These cruises sail round trip from Portland, Oregon, and visits Astoria and Hood River, Oregon, as well as the Willamette Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area) and Washington’s Red Mountain AVA, among other destinations. 

The cruise experience includes multiple winery visits, dozens of varietals to try, an onboard sommelier and farm-to-table cooking demonstrations and specially curated wine and meal pairings.    

Avalon Waterways 

The river cruise line hits the French waterways with its “Burgundy and Provence for Wine Lovers” cruises on Avalon Poetry II on the Saone and Rhone Rivers in the heart of France’s wine country. You’ll visit Macon, Lyon, Tournon, Avignon and Arles as a certified Master of Wine helps you wine and dine in style, providing perfect pairings for every delicacy from cheese to chocolate. On shore during excursions, you can explore ancient cellars of wine masters, winemakers and merchants from these regions. 

Avalon also offers “Danube Dreams for Wine Lovers” itineraries between Budapest and Deggendorf 

AmaWaterways 

AmaWaterways offers an extensive series of “In Celebration of Wine” cruises with sailings on the great waterways of Europe. These voyages are hosted by wine experts who help to showcase the acclaimed wine regions along the Danube, Douro, Moselle, Rhine, Rhone and Seine rivers.  

The program includes lectures and excursions to historic vineyards and wine cellars. Cruisers also will delight in tastings and fine wine pairings with gourmet cuisine, of course. 

Oceania Cruises 

This luxury line features a series of wine-oriented sailings, including its Food and Wine Trails voyages on Oceania Sirena throughout 2019 visiting Mediterranean destinations like Italy, Portugal, Spain and Morocco. 

In 2020, Oceania Riviera is home to the “Passport to the Mediterranean,” a 10-day cruise sailing June 29 to July 9. The theme cruise highlights four wineries from the Dry Creek Valley AVA in Sonoma Wine Country: Comstock Wines, Seghesio Family Vineyards, Sbragia Family Vineyards and Trattore Farms. 

The varieties are paired with culinary creations from Executive Culinary Director Jacques Pepin as cruisers enjoy tastings and visit spots like Venice, Montenegro, Croatia and Greece. 

Cunard 

The line’s “Voyage du Vin” sails September 6 to 20 on a roundtrip voyage from Southampton, England, on Queen Victoria. The cruise takes you to Vigo, Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona, Spain, Cannes, France, Gibraltar, and La Spezia, Italy, to explore some of the best Old World wine regions. The renowned Cunard Insights program offers an array of expertise on varieties of fine wine. Cruisers also get the opportunity to join the Cunard Wine Academy. Enjoy daily tastings and talks from guest wine experts. 

Azamara 

The luxury three-ship line regularly offers cruise itineraries that focus on wine appreciation. Azamara has “Wine and Romance” sailings from Southampton to Lisbon on Azamara Journey (August 27, 2019) and from Barcelona to Southampton on Azamara Quest (May 26, 2020). You also might like the “Wine and Cuisine” itinerary from Southampton to Barcelona on Azamara Quest (September 10, 2020).  

Ponant 

The French line offers a series of “Gastronomy at Sea” voyages that aim to help cruisers discover the cultures of the world through food and wine. You can find sailings that reach countries like Chile, Panama, Peru, Turkey, Greece, Portugal and France to enjoy tastings ashore at celebrated wine cellars and chateaus and fine French cuisine and wine pairings onboard. 

Crystal Cruises 

Crystal Cruises features wine-themed sailings on its luxury river and ocean ships. The line’s “Danube Dreams and Discoveries” wine cruise sets sail on Crystal Ravel on October 6, 2019, with a roundtrip itinerary from Vienna. You also can choose from a series of “Wine and Food Festival” sailings on the ocean ships, Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony. These journeys give foodies and wine lovers the chance to sail with renowned chefs, such as Nobu, and indulge in fine food and regional varietals from around the world.   

Regent Seven Seas 

The all-inclusive luxury line’s “Spotlight on Wine” sailings are hosted by wine experts and sommeliers who guide cruisers on a voyage through itineraries in rich wine regions like California or Spain. The program includes hosted dinners, wine tastings, tours and meet-and-greets.


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Have you tried any of the best restaurants in Park City, Utah?

By MM Travel and Tours on in Travel

We love Park City. With miles of ski slopes, a historic Main Street, and so many restaurants to choose from, Utah’s hotspot for travel lures visitors who are ready to explore. So how do you discover the best restaurants in Park City?

Here are a few of the gastronomical gems in Park City you don’t want to miss out on for breakfast, lunch, and of course, dinner.

Breakfast

Five5eeds 
At Five5eeds, you can find great coffee, great food, and exceptional service. The menu includes dishes crafted from the best in local, seasonal produce, with a definitive nod to the famed Australian foodie culture.

Their breakfast and lunch dishes exude so much color and showcase fruits, vegetables, and even edible flowers on the plates. Order a more traditional avocado toast, or experience the flavors of their Shakshouka – Moroccan baked eggs, feta, and dukkah.

Atticus Coffee, Books, & Teahouse 
Come to Atticus for the well-priced lattes, stay for the friendly baristas and breakfast dishes. In this part indie bookstore, part coffeehouse, the emphasis on fresh and healthy fare carries over to lunch, which features wraps, salads, sandwiches, and smoothies. Cozy armchairs and couches dot the space, so curl up and watch the snowfall at one of the best fun places to eat in Park City. Tip: If you love Chai, order the Buddha Bowl – chai tea-infused oatmeal with caramelized walnuts and berries.

 

Lunch

Harvest
At Harvest, food is all about provenance, seasonality, creativity, and connection. Whether you are looking for a light lunch or fueling up for a big day on the slopes, you’ll find something on the Harvest menu that’s perfect for you. Harvest takes the extra step in sustainability, letting guests know where their food comes from, and that it is free from processing and fuss. The dishes at Harvest will always reflect the season, the location, and the chef’s inspiration. Note: If you love poached eggs on dishes, this is the place to try!

Twisted Fern 
The chefs at Twisted Fern honor the roots of their ingredients and infuse a twist of creativity in a New American atmosphere. The menus at Twisted Fern are a combination of seasonally inspired ingredients sourced from local purveyors or produced in-house. There is an excellent starters menu where you could spend your lunch sampling all of the creative small plates. Or, choose from one of many open-faced sandwiches or burgers, or an entree of P.E.I. mussels in a fennel orange broth. They even have a creative kids’ menu with trout and cauliflower grits!

Dinner

Riverhorse on Main
Riverhorse on Main is among an elite list of top restaurants in the nation and is one of the oldest and most distinguished restaurants on Park City’s historic Main Street. As a 16 year recipient of the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Award, Riverhorse on Main is praised by restaurant critics and visitors alike as a culinary gem, making it one of the best restaurants in Park City.

Mainly seafood, steaks, and game, (as well as a vegetarian menu with a variety of options) the Riverhorse menu is ever-changing with the seasons. You can always find a few classics, like Macadamia Nut Crusted Halibut, on the menu. You can come to enjoy a gourmet meal in the heart of Historic Main Street while local artists play an array of music that everyone will recognize!

710 Bodega Tapas and Wine 
Also on Main Street, you’ll find 710 Bodega Tapas and Wine. This popular restaurant is a modern Spanish-style tapas bar mixing traditional plates with a twist on the classics. Bring a group to enjoy share plate after share plate, and a bottle (or two) of Tempranillo. The tapas menu has so many foods to choose – you’ll want to try them all. If you are looking for a few recommendations, be sure to try the piquillo peppers – stuffed with crab meat, Manchego cheese, and saffron lobster sauce. Or, indulge in the Bodega Paella with chicken, Spanish chorizo, saffron, shrimp, clams, and vegetables.

Is your mouth watering yet? We hope these ideas of the best restaurants in Park City, Utah, make your next trip to the mountains even more delectable.

Book your next vacation today through M & M Travel and Tours! (810) 877 1814

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Best Destination Wedding Ceremony Setups

By MM Travel and Tours on in Travel

It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for.  All those months of planning have led up to this point, and as you see your one and only at the other end of the aisle, you breathe a sigh of relief that you’re finally here, and now you have the rest of your lives ahead of you.  We at Weddings by Funjet feel privileged to share in this moment with our wedding couples, and it never fails to bring tears to our eyes.  While the reception is all about fun, the ceremony is about commitment, passion, and declarations of undying love.  Let’s face it, that’s truly what matters.  If you love each other, it doesn’t matter where you get married or how pretty the flowers are.  However, we believe having a beautiful ceremony setup can definitely help elevate an already monumental day.

That’s why we were so excited to look back at our weddings in 2018 and rediscover just how gorgeous the ceremony setups were.  Our wedding couples continually amaze us with the designs they create with us and we can’t wait to see how the weddings come together in 2019!  Here are the ceremony setups that truly inspired us from 2018.  We quite honestly could have put every one of our couples’ ceremonies on this list given their incredible taste and the talents of our concierges, but we didn’t want to give you ceremony overload!

Be sure to click on our couples’ names to see the full wedding albums on our Facebook page.

Heather & Jeff

Resort: Iberostar Cancun
Concierge: Ashley
Photography: David Manning Photographers

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Allison & Stephen

Offsite Venue: Las Caletas Beach Hideaway
Concierge: Karmen
Photography: Vallarta Photo

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Erin & Matt

Resort: Generations Riviera Maya
Concierge: Ashley
Photography: DeGroot Film Co.

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Love what you see here and interested in a destination wedding?  Contact us, and we’d love to start planning with you!

CONTACT US

Megan

Content Coordinator

Megan was recently married to the man of her dreams! Her insight into what it feels like to be a blushing bride paired with her experience in the travel industry gives couples and their guests a personalized experience from start to finish. Megan contributes her best tips, inspiration and first-hand experiences on the blog!

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Splash, slide, climb & putt! What’s at the top of your #NorwegianBreakaway m…

By MM Travel and Tours on in Travel

From our friends at Norwegian Cruise Line. Call us to get your reservations made today! 810 877 1814

Splash, slide, climb & putt! What’s at the top of your #NorwegianBreakaway must-dos 🤔

Splash, slide, climb & putt! What's at the top of your #NorwegianBreakaway m...
Splash, slide, climb & putt! What's at the top of your #NorwegianBreakaway m...
Splash, slide, climb & putt! What's at the top of your #NorwegianBreakaway m...

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9 Reasons to Cruise on Mega Cruise Ship Coming to New York and Miami

By MM Travel and Tours on in Travel

Book your cruise vacation today with M & M Travel and Tours! (810) 877 1814

In just a few short months, you’ll have the opportunity to cruise on another mega cruise ship from New York and Miami.  One of the world’s largest cruise ships, MSC Meraviglia, will make her North America debut in October.

From exclusive Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows to gourmet specialty restaurants with Michelin-starred chefs to a state-of-the-art, authentic Balinese Spa, here are nine reasons to book a cruise on MSC Meraviglia this fall.

1. Take advantage of limited Canada & New England sailings timed perfectly with the changing fall colors

MSC Meraviglia will offer two cruises from New York to Canada & New England, before journeying through the Caribbean to home port in Miami, becoming the first MSC Cruises’ ship to visit its new private island destination, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, opening November 2019.  View Prices on Cruises on MSC Meraviglia

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2. Experience world-class performances of a lifetime

Enjoy the two distinct shows from Cirque du Soleil at Sea — VIAGGIO and SONOR — created exclusively for MSC Meraviglia in the purpose-built entertainment and dining venue, the Carousel lounge.

These shows, not found anywhere else in the world, are part of a longstanding partnership with the entertainment leader for a total of eight original shows on MSC Cruises’ Meraviglia class ships. MSC Meraviglia is home to the first shows ever created from this unique partnership.

3. Stroll along a Mediterranean-style promenade under the longest LED sky at sea

Guests can browse a wide variety of shops, or dine along the promenade choosing from a variety of cuisines, while taking in special animations and shows all day and night on the LED dome.

4. Taste food from around the world from an award-winning pastry chef and a two Michelin-starred chef

On board, MSC Meraviglia offers 12 distinct dining venues and 20 bars, with food from around the world, including HOLA! Tapas Bar by two Michelin-starred Spanish chef Ramón Freixa; Kaito Sushi Bar and Teppanyaki; Butcher’s Cut, a modern American steakhouse; and Jean-Philippe Chocolat & Café, the ideal place to grab a treat by world-renowned pastry chef, Jean Philippe Maury.

5. Be among the first to experience a brand new private island

Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, MSC Cruises’ new private island destination in the Bahamas, debuts this November. MSC Cruises is currently restoring the 64-square-mile stretch of land in the eastern Caribbean from an industrial sand extraction site to a natural oasis.

The island experience has been designed to immerse guests in the natural beauty of their surroundings. Guests will enjoy eight distinct beaches, including a dedicated family beach. For those who wish to discover the marine life up close, there will be snorkeling and other water sports like kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding. Spa-goers can enjoy a new luxurious concept, The Spa at Ocean Cay, offering a variety of unique treatments using products from AVEDA, a beauty brand known for its natural products.

A variety of food and drink options will be available on the island, including a range of bars, a buffet, and food cart options. With docking until 11 p.m., day and night activities will keep guests busy, including a traditional Junkanoo parade in the evenings. Guests will also have an opportunity to learn about and connect with nature, including activities to learn about ocean preservation and MSC Cruises’ coral restoration efforts surrounding the island.

6. Discover different cultures and destinations in one trip

The MSC Cruises experience not only brings people together from around the world, but also immerses guests in the destinations they visit. MSC Meraviglia offers a wide range of itineraries this fall, and in the Caribbean, guests have the unique opportunity to book specially curated Martha Stewart & MSC Cruises Excursions that focus on some of Martha’s favorite activities while allowing MSC Cruises’ guests to discover some of the authentic and hidden treasures of destinations throughout the Caribbean.

7. Decompress after a long summer with exclusive wine-inspired treatments

MSC Cruises offers the only Balinese-style spas at sea, and on MSC Meraviglia the MSC Aurea Spa features 22 different spa treatment rooms with a vast choice of health and beauty treatments developed exclusively for MSC Cruises. Relax in the thermal area with 13 different areas for a holistic sensory experience, equipped with a salt relax room, ice waterfall, sauna and dark sensory steam bath.

For a special treat, guests can opt for MSC Cruises’ signature collection of Vinotherapy spa treatments (wine-inspired beauty treatments), using LAJATICA vinotherapy products made from Bocelli Wines.

8. Try something new and exciting every day

The entire family will be entertained with seven different areas for kids on board, including LEGO-designed play rooms; a ‘super amusement park’ with a sports zone, 2 full size bowling lanes, a flight simulator, F1 simulators and an interactive XD cinema; as well as and a polar themed Aqua Park with four action-packed water slides and a Himalayan Bridge ropes course.

Those looking for exclusivity and privacy can book their stay within the MSC Yacht Club, MSC Cruises’ innovative ship-within-a-ship concept. Guests booking in the private area can pamper themselves in the private solarium and pool on the top decks of the ship, dine in the area’s private restaurant, enjoy cocktails and music in the exclusive Top Sail Lounge, and experience highly tailored service with a 24-hour butler and concierge.

9. Enjoy vacationing with total peace of mind, powered by technology

MSC for Me is MSC Cruises’ multi-channel digital program that enables guests to interact with the ship and crew members anytime, in any place, to better serve their needs, save them time and really make the most of their vacation. Key features include a handy app for smartphones, an interactive TV in the stateroom and interactive digital screens around the ship, meaning guests can access information, book services — like specialty restaurants and on board performances — navigate around the ship, and more.

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A Day at Xplor Park

By MM Travel and Tours on in Travel

Of the beautiful Xcaret by Mexico parks, Xplor is one of the most adventurous, right next to adrenaline-filled Xavage.  As the most visited zipline park in the world, Xplor is jam-packed with exciting activities for the whole family.  My husband and I explored (pun intended) the park on our honeymoon and we had the most amazing time!  While I was there, I couldn’t ignore how ideal the park is for a wedding group excursion, with its wide range of experiences and family-friendly appeal.  If you’re interested in Xplor for your next trip, here are all the things you can expect!

Our trip to Xplor Park was during our honeymoon in Riviera Maya.  This was our first time at an Xcaret by Mexico park, although I knew much about them from my position here at Weddings by Funjet.  We were looking for a fun excursion for the middle of our week, and Xplor caught our eye because of the amphibious vehicles  that our Amstar tour representative pointed out (more on those later).  We arrived there in the morning after a short drive from our resort and entered through the park’s extensive cave system.  Immediately we were wowed by how different this felt from other parks we’d been to.  Right from the get-go you could tell that the natural environment played a large part in the park’s theme.  We purchased a photo package so we didn’t have to lug around our phones and dropped off our things in one of the lockers.  For a largely outdoor park, we were amazed by how clean it was, and you can tell right away  how much pride the park takes into giving guests a great experience.

A Day at Xplor ParkA Day at Xplor Park

Our first stop was El Corazón (pictured below).  It’s truly the heart of the park with its center location and is a perfect meeting point for families or just an easy way to remember where things are.  In this area you will also find the activity board.  Next to each ride, there are red, yellow and green light bulbs.  These lights indicate how busy each attraction is.  If it’s red, you know you might be better off hopping on to something else in the meantime.  It’s a brilliant way to maximize your time.

A Day at Xplor Park

The morning hungers came in, so we made our way to the juice station where an assortment of cookies, juices, and smoothies were waiting to give us energy for the park.  All of your food and drinks are included in your visit, just don’t expect any alcoholic beverages.  It’s a nice, safe family park with activities that you want to be sober for!

A Day at Xplor Park

 A Day at Xplor Park

Our first activity after eating was the Underground River Swim.  Because we were there quite early, there was hardly anyone else in the park yet and we had the whole river to ourselves.   For that reason, I suggest doing this activity first if you’re a couple looking for something romantic to start off your day.  The water is a little chilly upon entering, but you warm up quick and the underground caves are breathtaking.  It’s also a relaxed experience, so from little ones to grandparents, all guests can enjoy it.

A Day at Xplor ParkA Day at Xplor Park

Then there were the amphibious vehicles… oh, the amphibious vehicles!  These were our favorite.  There was never a wait for this ride, so we went back-to-back a few times.  The trail you follow is not like your hometown go-kart track.  Both trails had us driving for a solid 15 minutes, if not more!  They wound through the jungle, barreled over streams, and dove into caves.  We felt like giddy little kids on them and it was fun whether you were the driver or the passenger.  These were honestly worth the price of admission in themselves.

Following our amphibious driving spree, we were famished, so we strolled over to El Troglodita restaurant for a buffet lunch.  The meal was fantastic!  There were a lot of options, everything was fresh, and the breeze that blew through the open-concept dining area was so refreshing.

A Day at Xplor Park

Now the moment you’ve been waiting for!  How was the ziplining?  I’m happy to report it holds up to its high standards.  There are two tracks totaling over two miles and each with varying intensities.  For beginners, a lower track is offered, while those looking for more of an adrenaline rush can ride the higher line.  Being our first time ever ziplining, we chose the former.  There are six lines total in this one, with a waterslide in between and a final line leading to a drop in the water.  My husband decided he really didn’t like heights after the first line, so it’s good to keep in mind that once you’re on the track, there isn’t a way to get off until the end.  If you want to feel like you’re flying through the air, then you will definitely love this!

For those that want a little less intense version of the ziplines, the Hammock Splash is a blast.  Another ride with short wait times, it’s a great little dip into the cenote.  I would definitely suggest bringing water shoes, which are versatile enough for the Hammock Splash as well as all the other rides.

A Day at Xplor Park

Along with a secluded kid’s zone, there are plenty of ways to relax as well.  After we’d hit the trails with the amphibious vehicles about a hundred times, our old selves were happy to walk leisurely through the miles-long cave system.  I can’t even explain how beautiful the caves are in person.  It’s a part of the natural beauty of Mexico that we tend to forget because the white-sand beaches and tropical jungles tend to keep our attention.  It was an amazing experience and we can’t wait to go back!

I would definitely suggest Xplor as an excursion for wedding groups.  It has a little something for everyone from thrilling adventures to low-key exploration, is almost completely under jungle cover so less worry of sunburn, and it’s easy to get to it from virtually anywhere in Riviera Maya.  For even more excitement, Xplor Fuego offers their fun activities at night!  Twilight Ziplining?  Yes, please!

Feel free to send us an inquiry form to start your wedding group travel today, and check out more Xplor photos below!

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Megan

Content Coordinator

Megan was recently married to the man of her dreams! Her insight into what it feels like to be a blushing bride paired with her experience in the travel industry gives couples and their guests a personalized experience from start to finish. Megan contributes her best tips, inspiration and first-hand experiences on the blog!

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All content is property of the owner, unless otherwise specified. This content is not owned, or maintained by M & M Travel and Tours, and is used only for informational purposes. Please visit the content owners link via the source link for more information.

The Best Things to Do at Disney World

By MM Travel and Tours on in Travel

From our friends at Funjet Vacations. Call us to get your reservations made today! 810 877 1814

What’s one thing you can’t leave Disney World without doing?

 

The Best Things to Do at Disney World

Rides, shopping, entertainment: There are plenty of reasons people call this the most magical place on earth.

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Pigeon Island, Saint Lucia: A Gorgeous Slice Of History

By MM Travel and Tours on in Travel

Pigeon Island is one of the most vibrant and beautiful points of interest in Saint Lucia. It is truly an historic area that has changed in significant ways over the years. Pigeon Island was once just that; an island, until it was later connected to the northern portion of Saint Lucia in 1971, via a causeway.

In this article you will discover that the events that preceded the development of the causeway, and of Pigeon Island, are so significant that they are part of the local curriculum of most history students in St. Lucia.

Whether you set foot on Saint Lucia or not, you might catch wind of tales of the battle for the island’s heart – seven times British, seven times French. Events that are so engrained in the culture that the English and Creole speaking locals won’t let you forget them. Just a brief look back at the history of the island proves just how important the area was to both the French and the British, during their individual rules.

According to the Saint Lucia National Trust, the non-profit-organization that is responsible for the upkeep of the Pigeon Island National Landmark, ‘it is a vivid representation of the cultural and historical monuments of international, civil, military and cross currents, characteristics of West Indian cultural change,’ – simple words to underscore the extent to which a brutal history, somehow transmuted into something that can now be treasured, forever shapes the identity of the island.

Pigeon Island, like many other parts of Saint Lucia and some other islands of the Caribbean, was first inhabited by the Amerindians; the Caribs and the Arawaks. The Caribs, who had a history of being that much fiercer than the Arawaks, had a bigger presence. Sometime later pirates also materialized on the island, notably a captain known as ‘Jambe de Bois’, whose real name was Francois Le Clerc. His name literally translated to peg leg, and all because he walked around on a wooden leg. He conducted many attacks and raids in the Caribbean, and beyond. Jambe de Bois and his crew of 330 men were the first Europeans to establish their presence and settle into the island of Saint Lucia. Pigeon Island for them was home, and they used it to target Spanish ships.

Jambe du Bois wasn’t the only one to take advantage of the clear views from Pigeon Island, which made it a great watch location. Several Forts were built in the area and operated by both the French and the British. The British, during initial take overs of the island used a heavily fortified Pigeon Island to spy on the French in Martinique. Admiral Rodney was famous for doing this and would often monitor Fort Royal, and the French naval base in Martinique from this location. Still today evidence that this happened can be seen, particularly on days when it is clear enough to easily spot the island of Martinique from Pigeon Island.

In this article on the Sandals Blog:

Fort Rodney
Other historical points
Pigeon Island & soul collide
Things to do at Pigeon Island
FAQ’s

Fort Rodney

fort rodey pigeon island

In the 18th century, George Rodney, a British Admiral changed the face of Pigeon Island by building forts, which served to protect him and his army from enemy attacks. One of these was Fort Rodney, constructed in 1778. Fort Rodney was built on the smaller of two peaks located within the Pigeon Island National Landmark. This and other forts in the area (including Signal Hill) afforded the British firsthand information on whomever was approaching the island. Fort Rodney, was a top-rated fortification during times of war, and today many old cannons and other ruins remain, adding color to historical accounts. At one point, the Admiral ordered all trees on Pigeon Island to be cut down, for a better vantage, but today you won’t be able to tell at all. The area is lush, green, and simply magical.

Other historical points

  • A whaling station was established on Pigeon island in 1909, and then shut down in 1952 when legislation was put in place which restricted whaling activities.
  • Pigeon Island was also leased to an actress from the D’Oyle Carte Theatre in England in 1937, who left Saint Lucia in 1940s when the United States built a naval base in Rodney Bay. She returned in 1947, with a passion for yachting that she wanted to share with the locals. Back in her heyday, she helped establish the island as a paradise, entertaining many guests. She gave up the lease in 1970. If you look you can see that some remnants of her house remain in the park.

Ruins-in-Fort-Rodney-on-Pigeon-Island-1

  • After a war-filled history, the Saint Lucia National Trust took Pigeon Island into its hands, and started restoring the area, developing it in ways that would not compromise its rich history, and abundant greenery.
  • A museum and interpretation Center were incorporated into the island’s attractions, with a theme that mostly focused on the Battle of the Saints, and battles in and around Pigeon Island over the years. The building that houses the Interpretation Center had previously been a Mess Hall for soldiers. Though it is now closed, many people benefited from the valuable history shared through the endeavor.

Pigeon Island & soul collide

With the Caribbean Sea on one side, and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, Pigeon Island has served many uses over the years, including being a venue for the Saint Lucia Jazz Festival. The showcase with international flair has featured many mega stars on its lineup, including Rihanna, UB40, Neyo, John Legend, The Jacksons, Mary J Blige, Elton John, and more. The Saint Lucia Jazz Festival is now part of a larger product in Saint Lucia which incorporates several festivals including the Roots & Soul Festival (Reggae), and Saint Lucia Carnival held annually in July. Saint Lucia Jazz is one of many events held in Pigeon Island National Park annually. Even during while these events are packed with entertainment, the focus is often on just how beautiful the area is, and despite small upgrades, its ambiance remains pure.

Things to do at Pigeon Island

1. Explore the Ruins

fort rodeny canon and view

‘Ruins’ isn’t a bad word where Pigeon Island is concerned. Everyone from hikers to newlyweds enjoy this slice of paradise, in and out of the park. If you’re into hiking, you can hike one or both peaks located within the park. Fort Rodney is 225 feet high, while Signal Peak reaches 330 feet. It’s a little challenging to get to the top, but it doesn’t measure up to some of the more difficult climbs in Saint Lucia, like the Gros Piton or Petit Piton climb. To get to Signal Peak’s highest point, you’ll have to climb a tall ladder, which is relatively easy to do. The ocean breeze and the amazing view from the top are simply heavenly!

2. Bathe at secret beaches

Pigeon-island-beach-with-umbrellas

While there are many bays in the general Pigeon Point area, in the park you’ll find two relatively secluded ones. If you go midweek, on a day when there are no cruise ships in port, you’ll find the beaches almost deserted. On other days, you won’t be able to find a spot. The water is clear, and the sand is white and well kept. There are even bathroom facilities. Beaches within the park are popular for picnics, snorkeling, and snuba tours.

3. Tie the Knot (if you haven’t already!)

pigeon island

Pigeon Island, particularly the Pigeon island National Park, is a popular wedding site. Locals and visitors alike find that they get their money’s worth when deciding to exchange vows there as the site is peaceful, beautiful, and historic. What more could a person ask for to set the tone for their happily-ever-after?

 

Expert Tip: After the ceremony, make some time for photos in the Ruins!

4. Walk the nature trail

Pigeon-Island-Hike

Nature lovers will enjoy what the Park has to offer on the inside – 44 beautiful acres of protected greenery, packed with history, waiting to be explored. Pigeon Island makes for a great half or full day outing.

5. Dine with family and friends.

For a great location with delectable meals, check out the Barnacles restaurant located within the Pigeon Island National Park. It’s private, has an exclusive feel, and the food and service make a stop here well worthwhile!

6. Schedule a photoshoot

woman-at-pigeon-island-ruins

From beachside views, to ancient ruins and grassy slope lands, you’ll find just the right backdrop for your vacation photos at the park. There are bathrooms for outfit changes, and showers for freshening up.

7. Check out nearby locations

golf-resort-saint-lucia

The Sandals Golf and Country Club is a short distance away from Pigeon Island, and it is the perfect place to hone your game. Grab your gear (or rent) and get ready for some action at one of the most popular golf courses in the Caribbean. This site is up to international standards, and you’ll spend a great day out on the green.

Frequently Asked Questions

When can I go to Pigeon Point Beach?

Pigeon Point beach is accessible year-round. The beach is particularly hopping on weekends, with beach parties and local bars in full swing. You’ll find a quieter experience inside the park.

pigeon island beach at sunset

What is the view like?

Views from Signal Point at the Pigeon Island National Park are amazing – on clear days you can see the Pitons in the south of the island, and the island of Martinique, which is located a short distance away from Saint Lucia. There are also views of Rodney Bay and Gros Islet from some areas of the park.

View-of-pigeon-island-causeway-1

What kind of visitor is this point of interest good for?

The adventurous. The Park is great for people who love to be outdoors, take photos, and hike.

How much does it cost to enter?

The entrance fee is $8, a private tour may cost more.

How much is a tour?

Tours cost around $58 – and this price usually includes the entrance fee, transport, lunch, and a walk around with a guide who will share the history and background of the site.

Pigeon-Isalnd-causeway-3

How do I get there?

You can get to Pigeon Island via boat (there’s a dock inside the park), or by car. If you’re driving, you’ll find the island about five minutes away past the road leading into the town of Gros Islet. Continue along the Gros Islet Highway in the direction of Cap Estate and take a left turn near the sign marking the entrance of Pigeon Island. Follow the road and take a right turn. At the end of that road, just past the Sandals Grande Saint Lucia Beach Resort & Spa, you’ll find the Pigeon Island National Landmark.

How far are Pigeon Island and Fort Rodney from the different Saint Lucia Sandals resorts?

Sandals Grande St. Lucia resort

Picture: Sandals Grande St. Lucia resort with Pigeon Island in the background.

If you’re staying at any of the Sandals all-inclusive resorts in Saint Lucia, the Pigeon Island National landmark is not too far away. It is a breezy five-minute walk away from the Sandals Grande Saint Lucia Beach Resort & Spa. It is only 0.5miles/2.6km from the resort, a 2-minute drive. The Park is about 36 minutes from Sandals Regency La Toc, and about 20 minutes from Sandals Halcyon.

How long does it take to hike up to the fort and back down?

The hike up the Fort is relatively easy and takes about one hour and 15 minutes both ways (some steep areas exist along the paths). This does not include time spent taking photos or enjoying the views. You can stay as long as you’d like!

 

Expert Tip: Bring water if you’re hiking. You’ll need it!

pigeon island coast

Pigeon Island is filled with charm and beauty…

And you’ll notice it from the minute you veer off the Gros Islet highway, just before driving into Cap Estate. You’ll will sense a shift in the atmosphere, and you will know you’re in the right place. The closer you get to the Pigeon Island National Landmark, the more pronounced the feeling becomes, and soon… you’ll find yourself engulfed in an environment of pure bliss. Go for yourself to experience this gem in Saint Lucia that is full of history and overflowing with opportunities for a laid-back (and super informative!) break from the norm.

Book your next vacation today through M & M Travel and Tours! (810) 877 1814

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All content is property of the owner, unless otherwise specified. This content is not owned, or maintained by M & M Travel and Tours, and is used only for informational purposes. Please visit the content owners link via the source link for more information.