Cruises to St. Barts

162 Reviews
St. Barts (Photo:Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)

About Cruising to St. Barts

The island of St. Barts, known for its chic French ambience and cuisine and white-sand beaches, long has reigned as a favorite getaway spot among celebrity jetsetters.

That's quite a lofty status for a stony, volcanic, eight-square-mile island that claims no fresh water and little workable land. Named for Christopher Columbus' brother, Bartolomeo, St. Barthelemy is located near the northern end of the Lesser Antilles group in the West Indies, 15 miles east of St. Martin.

Many St. Bartians are descendants of 17th-century settlers from Brittany and Normandy. In the 18th century, France leased the island to Sweden in exchange for trading rights to the Baltic. Almost a century later, locals voted to restore rule to the French. Today, St. Barts, with its population of about 9,000, is a dependency of the French overseas department of Guadeloupe.

The island's beautiful beaches lend themselves to water sports, from windsurfing, scuba-diving and snorkeling to jet-skiing, sailing and deep-sea fishing. Whales pass by during migration periods, and dolphins are frequently spotted -- and might even frolic near the ship's bow.

The island also claims fame as a place where conspicuous consumption is on display in the form of mega-yachts, elegant designer boutiques, fancy resorts and fine dining. Considered among the best places to nosh in the Caribbean, lunch or dinner at one of the island's top restaurants can be a major splurge.

Taking in the island's topless beaches, vibrant nightlife and waterfront bistros -- not to mention hearing French spoken -- it's easy to imagine you've been transported to the south of France (Antibes or St. Tropez). St. Barts even features its own Riviera-like festival calendar, including winter music and film festivals and a spring food festival.

  • More about St. Barts

  • Why Cruise to St. Barts?

  • St. Barts Cruise Port Facilities?

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More about St. Barts

Why Cruise to St. Barts?

Pros:

High-end French shops, gourmet restaurants, gorgeous beaches and lots of yachts and sailboats

Cons:

Be prepared to drop serious cash on shopping and meals, even taxis

Bottom Line:

It's like the South of France transported to a Caribbean island

St. Barts Cruise Port Facilities?

Gustavia is a pedestrian-friendly town. An Internet cafe, ATM, cafes, restaurants, elegant shops with imported French goods and a food market are located a short stroll away from the pier. The popular Shell Beach (officially called Grand Galet) sits south of Gustavia by the commercial pier, and it's just a short walk. Spend time admiring the huge yachts on the oceanfront walkway.

Good to Know?

With limited fresh water on the island, don't expect a free glass at restaurants. You'll have to pay for bottled water.

Getting Around?

On Foot: You can walk to attractions in Gustavia.

By Taxi: Taxis are available at the pier in Gustavia. Most cab drivers don't work at night, so if you need a ride back to the port, it's best to make arrangements in advance. There is a fixed price for fares, which are in euros.

By Car: St. Barts is steep and hilly with narrow roads, switchbacks and hairpin turns. You'll see stop signs but no traffic lights. At intersections, the car to the right has the right of way. Small rental cars that fit the narrow, two-lane roads are available from Budget Budget, Europcar, Island Car and Top Loc.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The euro is the official currency of St. Barts. ATM's are located in Gustavia at the Banque Francaise Commercial (BFC) on rue du General-de-Gaulle and the Banque Nationale de Paris on rue du Bord-de-Mer.

Language?

French is the official language. English is widely spoken.

Where You're Docked?

Most cruise ships anchor outside sheltered Gustavia Harbour and tender passengers to Port de Pleasance in the heart of Gustavia, the island's charming capital city.


St. Barts Cruise Reviews
St. Barts is super-yacht parking lot with high-end stores and many restaurants. If you are into super-yachts bring your camera! We did the "submarine" (not really a sub but more of glass enclosed hull) for about 4Read More
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LDEE
Pleasant port to walk around, bike or drive; beautiful but pricey.Read More
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sandbag7
OMG charming as all get out. Loved the tender ride, kinda a freebie excursion. Right to the port, center of town. Fun beach an easy 10 minute walk away mostly along the harbor, FULL of vessels. Fun to see. Read More
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Jravenx1
Being French territory, this place is CLEAN. Surprisingly, the people are FRIENDLY. It is EXPENSIVE, but had a cup of French coffee and a delightful baked good at L'atelier de Joel Robuchon To/Go for just Euro 7.50. Read More
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MEFIowa

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