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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, December 7, 2023


There was good news and not-so-good news for the Virgin Islands at last week's Sea Trade Conference in Miami.
The best news: St. Thomas was voted "best destination" for the third consecutive year, according to a report Monday from the West Indian Co. Ltd..
More good news: St. Thomas will receive inaugural visits from several new megaships during the 1999-2000 winter season, starting with the "Carnival Triumph" on Nov. 2. And for the 2000-01 winter season, the largest of the superships, Royal Caribbean International's "Explorer of the Seas," will make its maiden voyage to St. Thomas on Nov. 1, 2000, according to WICO.
The not-so-good-news: 10 calls by Carnival Cruise Line ships have been canceled for the upcoming summer season — five in May, two in August and three in September. This is on top of the usual dropoff in cruise ship visits during the summer as the cruise lines shift their itineraries from the Caribbean to Alaska and the Mediterranean.
The 10 cruise visits have been dropped due to routine dry docking and charters to other destinations. This is not unusual or alarming, said WICO spokesman Calvin Wheatley.
"You win some, you lose some," Wheatley said. "We often get some of those unscheduled types of charters here."
It "evens out," he said.
The majority of the operations officers from the cruise lines who attended a meeting hosted by WICO said they would favor staying in port later if they were allowed to open their casinos while in St. Thomas, WICO reported. The impetus for the proposed legislation to allow the ships to open casinos while in port would be to offer passengers more time to shop and dine on St. Thomas.
However, as reported before, the cruise lines strongly objected to legislation calling for a $2.50 increase in the head tax. After considerable discussion it was decided that the Operations Committee of member cruise lines would develop an official position.
It was later confirmed that cruise line representatives will attend a meeting March 23 called by Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg to discuss the head tax issue.
Tourism Commissioner Clement "Cain" Magras, who is acting chairman of the V.I. Port Authority, and VIPA Executive Director Gordon Finch were WICO's guests at the convention and actively participated in the meeting with the operations officers, WICO reported.

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