Thursday, March 14, 2013

Cruise Lines to Increase Calls to St. Kitts

Port Zante Arrivals Building in St. Kitts
You should begin to see St. Kitts appear more often on cruise ship itineraries in the days ahead as the island continues to grow its cruise tourism sector at an impressive rate. Cruise arrivals are projected to increase to approximately 650,000 for the 2013/2014 season and to more than 700,000 in 2014/2015.

To accommodate the growing cruise sector, plans are being developed to improve the capacity for berthing larger ships at the third pier located at the cargo port, and for designing a second cruise pier downtown at Port Zante. The St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority (SCASPA) expects to install a breasting dolphin at the multi-purpose cargo pier so that it can accommodate ships over 850 ft. in length, giving St. Kitts the ability to berth three large ships by the start of the 2013/14 season.

“As a direct result of our persistent sales calls, as well as our focus on improving our destination product and service offerings, we are pleased to announce that the significant growth we have seen in the cruise sector over the past six years will continue,” said Senator Ricky Skerritt, Minister of Tourism & International Transport. “Cruise Executives have indicated to me that St. Kitts has become an increasingly important port of call, one that helps them market their itineraries.”

Future cruise tourism developments now confirmed for St. Kitts include the following:
· For the first time, St. Kitts & Nevis will be receiving scheduled calls from four ships of the luxury Seabourn Cruise Line, which will make a total of 29 calls in 2013/2014 bringing over 6,000 passengers.

· Pullmantur Cruises will make 22 weekly calls in the 2013/2014 season from the ship Horizon, which will provide approximately 30,800 incremental passengers. It is the first Spanish cruise line to call at St. Kitts.
· Costa Cruise Line will make six calls in 2013/2014 with the Costa Mediterranea, which will bring an additional 14,400 passengers.
· Two German-based lines will call on St. Kitts in the next two seasons with Aida Cruises making a total of 11 calls from two vessels in 2013/2014, which will total 27,100 passengers, and TUI Cruises bringing back the Mein Schiff for regular season calls in 2014/2015 following a successful test season in 2011/2012.
· Meanwhile, Norwegian Cruise Lines has booked calls in 2014/2015 with the Norwegian Pearl, which will make 14 calls bringing approximately 33,500 passengers, and with the Norwegian Breakaway, which will make three calls bringing an estimated 12,000 new passengers.

· Disney Cruise Line will be making four off-season calls in the summer of 2014, yielding a projected total of 9,600 passengers.
In February 2013, Carnival Cruise Line replaced the weekly year-round calls of the Carnival Victory with the larger capacity Carnival Valor, which has increased the berths per call by 216. The Valor also carries 407 more crew members than the Victory.

Royal Caribbean International is also expected to increase its number of calls in 2014/2015.

St. Kitts passed the half million passenger arrivals mark for the first time in the 2009/2010 cruise season. In addition to increasing cruise passenger arrivals, the geographic markets from which the lines originate are expanding, with vessels now hailing from the USA, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

Located in the northern Leeward Islands of the Caribbean, St. Kitts offers a diverse tourism product developed from the destination’s natural beauty, cultural heritage, and rich history. The island’s stunning variety of tourism attractions include hiking through the tropical rainforest, riding the region’s only scenic railway which connects the island’s former sugar plantations, visiting the Caribelle Batik factory, touring Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park—the only man-made UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Eastern Caribbean—ziplining, and more traditional vacation pastimes such as watersports, golf, shopping, tennis, gourmet dining, gaming at St. Kitts’ exclusive casino, or simply relaxing on one of the island’s sandy beaches.

Image Courtesy of St. Kitts Tourism Authority

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