Each month, we’re joining P&O Cruises on the count down to Arvia, delving deep into Caribbean idylls to explore the ports of call that the ship designed to chase the sun will be showing us. This time around, we’re headed for Martinique. It’s sun-soaked and sandy, like any good Caribbean port of call should be, be there’s a whole lot more to this little slice of paradise.

P&O Cruises shore experience parter, David Baude, tells us what he loves most about the French-influenced isle.

Q: Where’s the best beach in Martinique?

A: My favourite beach is Anse Dufour. This spot is part of a fishing village in the south of the island so it’s very authentic and amazing. I love to go there by boat to go snorkelling and watch marine turtles and a multitude of fish species – it’s where you can really admire our diverse marine life.

Q: What’s your favourite wildlife wonder?

A: In Martinique, we’re lucky to benefit from great biodiversity. Close to Fort De France, you can explore some trails in the rainforest. As you walk in the exceptionally peaceful tropical forest, you’re immersed in the song of the birds, surrounded by a multitude of botanical species, including ferns, mahogany trees, balisier flowers and many exotic plants.

Q: What can visitors buy to support local communities?

A: I recommend our local rum as it’s an extremely high-quality product boasting an “AOC” label – a unique appellation of rum, similar to wines and spirits, that demonstrates a ‘controlled designation of origin’. You’ll also find some interesting handicrafts at the local market in Fort de France.

Q: What’s the best thing about your island’s cuisine?

A: I love everything about Martinique’s cuisine with its mix of African, European and Indian influences. If I have to choose something, I love the convivial, friendly moment of a ‘Ti punch’ aperitif – its zesty flavour goes perfectly with our local salt cod fritters.

Q: Where’s the best place for a spot of culture or history?

A: You’ll find a wealth of cultural and historical experiences in St Pierre or Fort De France. St Pierre is very popular due to its exceptional history – throughout the 19th century, it was known as the little Paris of the Caribbean before it was completely destroyed in 1902.

Q: What is it that makes you most proud of your island?

A: I’m proud of so many things but, for me, it must be its diversity. The island’s history and numerous influences are things all visitors will appreciate when exploring Martinique’s culture and heritage.

Escape on a Caribbean cruise on Arvia – find out more about the latest P&O Cruises ship here.