Travel on an MSC Caribbean and Antilles cruise to St. Lucia in the Lesser Antilles to see magnificent white-sand beaches, lush rainforests and the prized Pitons. These are spectacular twin volcanic peaks that are protected as UNESCO World Heritage Sites and appear as symbols on the nation’s flag.
Initially founded by the French in the 1664, St. Lucia changed hands between French and British rule so many times over the years that it was called the “Helen of the West Indies,” until the British took definite control in 1814. From architecture to cuisine, you’ll still find hints of French and British inspired heritage throughout the island, which declared its independence in 1979. This is particularly evident in Castries, its capital.
MSC excursions in St. Lucia offer something for everyone. Take a trolley through the busy streets of the city of Castries. Cruise by catamaran to the Pitons for scenic views of Petit Piton and Gros Piton, at an altitude of around 2,500 feet. Or breeze past banana plantations and visit picturesque Marigot Bay, named the most beautiful bay of the Caribbean by the late American novelist James Michener.
For something truly special, explore the world of batik prints at Caribelle Batik, then see the Pitons from land during a beautiful drive to the 18th-century Soufriere Estate for a lesson on coconuts and cocoa. When you get there, find out how coconuts are opened, roasted in a traditional oven and turned into copra (dry coconut) before being processed into everyday items such as soap, sun tan lotion and cooking oil. And learn how cocoa is fermented, dried on racks in the sun and crushed into powder to make cocoa sticks before being turned into chocolate.
Thirsting for adventure? Then get your adrenaline running and enjoy a bird's eye view while you zip from tree to tree. Drive past pools of bubbling lava and into the world's only drive-in volcano at the Sulphur Springs or snorkel within the marine reserve to discover a plethora of vibrant wildlife featuring a variety of corals, urchins and more.