Weather permitting, vedettes (ferries) operate daily between Quai d'Esnambuc in Fort-de-France and the marinas in Pointe du Bout, Anse-Mitan, and Anse-à-l'Ane and are the best way to go into the capital. Any of these trips takes about 20 minutes. Ferries depart every 30 minutes on weekdays; less often in the low season and weekends. Round-trip tickets cost €6.50.
Compagnie Maritime West Indies. Compagnie Maritime West Indies provides rapid sea shuttle service from neighboring St. Lucia. Boats (capacity 15 persons) usually depart daily at 11 am and 4 pm from Castries, St. Lucia, to Le Marin. Fares are approximately €89 round-trip for adults and €69 round-trip for children under 12. It departs from Le Marin at 8 am and from St. Lucia at 11 am. A number of airlines fly into St. Lucia, so making arrangements to land there and take Compagnie can be a good way to get to Martinique (especially if you are staying at Club Med or another resort in the south or chartering a sailboat from the marina in Le Marin). 0696/21–77–76; 0596/74–93–38; 0758/452–8757.
Jeans for Freedom. This branch of the L'Express des Îles company goes between Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, and St-Pierre, Martinique; it also makes a brief stop in Dominica; the price is now up to €79. In Guadeloupe, service is also available between Pointe-à-Pitre and Marie-Galante or Les Saintes for €23. Jeans also runs specials like a day-trip out of Fort-de-France to St. Lucia and Antigua. Pl. du Marche, rue Victor Hugo, St-Pierre, n/a Martinique, 97250. 0825/01–01–25; 0596/78–11–50; www.jeansforfreedom.com.
L'Express des Îles. Connecting Martinique with Dominica, St. Lucia, and Guadeloupe, the ferry company also serves Guadeloupe's "out-islands," Marie-Galante and Les Saintes—from Point-A-Pitre, Guadeloupe (one-way €26, round-trip €43). Each one-way trip is €79, but round-trip tickets are just €119. The crossings generally take between three and four hours; if it is raining and the waters are choppy, it can be a rough passage. However, the newest ferry is much larger and stabilized and gives a smooth ride. French films (sometimes R-rated) on flat screens help pass the time. Most of these services are daily, with extra departures on weekends and holidays or for special events—the ferries can often get crowded then. Boats depart from the Terminal Inter Îles–Quai Ouest in Fort-de-France; head there for to-go options that are better than what the boats' snack bars carry; the ferry doesn't always get its food delivery, so it pays to bring some snacks aboard. There are discounted fares for babies, youths, seniors, and families. Note that the ferry charges for luggage that exceeds its weight limits. If traveling from Martinique to Dominica, Guadeloupe, or St. Lucia, a passenger is allowed three pieces of luggage that weigh no more than 25 kg (55 pounds) each; if traveling from Guadeloupe to its out-islands, Les Saintes and Marie-Galante, you're allowed one less bag. In either direction, you're also allowed to carry on one piece of baggage that weighs 10 kg (22 pounds) or less. Be aware that this ferry company also follows airline rules for what you're allowed to pack inside checked and carry-on baggage; check the website for more information. If traveling on a weekend or a French holiday, it is best to reserve and buy tickets online or at the terminal's ticket booth, in advance. Terminal Inter Isles Quai Ouest, Fort-de-France, n/a Martinique, 97200. 0825/35–90–00; 0590/91–98–53; www.express-des-iles.com.