On paper, St. Croix’s cruise ship season looks like a promising one, with November offering up 20 days of port calls alone. And on five of those days at least two ships will be calling on the Big Island.
Even before then, on Oct. 25, Frederiksted’s biweekly street party, Harbour Night, held when Carnival Cruise Line’s Victory stays in port until midnight, resumes after a summer hiatus.
All in all, the 2000-2001 cruise season, which gets rolling in November and runs through April, looks bright for St. Croix, with about a 22 percent increase in port calls — 142 compared to 116 last season, according to the West Indian Co. Ltd.
Hugh Dalton, Harbour Night promoter, is also planning a performance of "Cruzan Fruit," a cultural production, to be held in the old Bruegel rum factory in La Grange. The performance debuted last season in Fort Frederik with performances by Music in Motion and the Karamu Afi Dancers.
Once Dalton works out licensing and zoning issues with the V.I. government for the La Grange Arts and Crafts Market Place, he plans to go to the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association’s annual convention in Panama City on Oct. 3-6, to sell the production, with accompanying arts and crafts vendors, as a tour.
The goal, Dalton said, is to use "Cruzan Fruit" as a foundation for more activities and tours on St. Croix to attract more cruise ships. That lack of shore tours, and the revenue cruise lines collect from selling them on board ships, is something the lines have pointed to when asked why St. Croix doesn’t get more visits.
"The plan is to have a performance of 'Cruzan Fruit' in the La Grange Market late in the afternoon every time a ship comes in," Dalton said. "What I’m hoping it to be is a seed for economic development and a seed for attracting other ships. We’re making it a part of a tour.
"It gives St. Croix a product so ships can get revenue when they are here."
Dalton said that pending licensing and zoning issues, he hopes to have the La Grange venue, which can hold about 1,000 people, open by January.
Dalton said he plans to hold a "dry run" of "Cruzan Fruit" on Oct. 21.
"My feeling is that the local community should see it before the cruise lines so they can make recommendations," he said.

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