Between October 2012 and September 2013, St. Croix is scheduled to welcome a total of 55 cruise ships, including nine that will visit the island for the first time.
While Tourism Department spokesman Allegra Kean-Moorehead said that the number is down two over the 2011-12 season, the ships are larger and will result in more passengers.
Derrick Hill, who owns N2 the Blue dive shop in Frederiksted, viewed the announcement as good news.
“Being able to sustain what we have should be considered a victory,” he said.
According to Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty, the department continues to work diligently to build brand awareness for St. Croix to increase both cruise and land-based arrivals.
“In the face of these challenging economic times, cruise arrivals are a welcome opportunity to showcase the best of St. Croix and encourage visitors to return for extended overnight stays,” she said.
Hill applauded the department’s efforts to bring business to St. Croix.
“It’s great that they continue to go out and fight for us,” Hill said.
The larger ships include Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas and Brilliance of the Seas, both with a total capacity of 3,360; Vision of the Seas with a total capacity of 3,200; Enchantment of the Seas with total capacity of 3,206; and Celebrity Cruise Line’s Eclipse with a total capacity of 4,123.
Smaller ships making their inaugural calls to St. Croix include Amadea, Columbus, Silver Spirit and Silver Whisper.
A notable change to the 2012-13 schedule is the presence of cruise ships during the summer months. With seven calls scheduled for the Jewel of the Seas in the summer of 2013, an estimated 17,507 passengers and 6,013 crew will visit St. Croix during the traditionally slow period. Also of note is the arrival of two ships per day on Dec. 17 and 31, 2012, and on Feb. 22, 2013.
To prepare for the upcoming season, the Tourism Department will hold customer service training sessions for the general public on St. Croix in September. Additionally, the department will participate in the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association Conference in early October once again, inviting local tour operators to be a part of the territory’s delegation at this important industry event. More information will be available shortly on these two opportunities.
For copies of the St. Croix 2012-13 cruise ship schedule, contact Alvin Milligan, Director of Cruise Ship Activities, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 772-0257.