Kingstown, St. Vincent Cruise
An unparalleled archipelago of natural beauty
With yacht-filled harbors, stunning beaches, volcanic backdrops and crystalline turquoise waters, it’s easy to see why the unparalleled natural beauty of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has long been a draw for sailors, adventurers and the rich and famous, and why it was chosen as the primary filming site for the “Pirates of the Caribbean” trilogy.
Located in the Lesser Antilles, the archipelago of St. Vincent and the Grenadines comprises 32 islands and cays, only 9 of which are inhabited. St. Vincent, the largest island in the chain, is home to Kingstown, the capital.
Arriving on an MSC Southern Caribbean cruise to Kingstown, visit Fort Charlotte, a British garrison named in honor of the wife of King George III. Built in 1806, it housed 600 troops in its heyday. Some 30 cannons are still visible today at the fort, which displays a number of paintings charting the history of the Black Carib people. From its summit, enjoy fantastic views of the archipelago; on a clear day, Grenada can be seen 90 miles to the south, with binoculars.
Explore the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Botanic Gardens, one of the oldest botanical gardens in the Western Hemisphere, on an MSC excursion. Established in the mid-18th century, the gardens played a critical role in the colonization of not just St. Vincent, but also other islands in the West Indies, introducing, establishing and distributing plants upon which the future economies and food supplies of most islands became based. These beautiful gardens are home to a wide variety of tropical and medicinal plants, as well as numerous bird species, including the rare St. Vincent parrot. For other opportunities to spot the indigenous parrot species, head on an MSC excursion to Parrot Lookout on the Vermont Nature Trail in the dense rainforest. The guided hike takes you through cultivated fields and forest plantations in the verdant Vermont Valley.
St. Vincent’s had a long tradition of cultivating sugarcane. On another MSC excursion, learn the history of Black Point—a tunnel dug during the height of the slave trade that was key in the transport of molasses used for making rum—followed by a guided tour and tasting at the rum distillery in Georgetown to discover how molasses is distilled into one of the strongest nips of rum in the Caribbean.
“Pirates of the Caribbean” buffs won’t want to miss one of several MSC excursions that take you through the sites on the island where famous scenes were filmed. Visit the village of Wallilabou, board the Scaramouche, a traditional West Indian schooner for a pirate party, or kayak to so-called Bat Cave near Byahut Cove. The cave is home to a noisy bat colony and the cove itself is where you’ll be able to go swimming or snorkeling to see the amazing marine life found around the reef. Accessible only by sea, the cove is one of the locations where the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films were shot.
For something special, cruise on a catamaran to see the beguiling coastline of the Bequia, the second largest island in the Grenadines. Catch views of a private community called Moonhole, known for a way of life that seeks harmony with nature and with homes built directly into the landscape, most with neither windows nor doors. Move on to Petite Nevis, a spot where signs of its whaling history are still visible and enjoy views of the neighboring private isle of Mustique, famed for drawing a wealthy clientele that includes members of the British royal family.