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HomeNewsArchivesFIVE NEW CRUISE SHIPS MAKING V.I. CALLS THIS SEASON

FIVE NEW CRUISE SHIPS MAKING V.I. CALLS THIS SEASON

Oct. 3, 2001 – While the territory's outlook for overnight visitor arrivals is uncertain in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 events, the Virgin Islands continues to be a destination in demand as far as cruise arrivals go, officials of the West Indian Co. reported this week.
In WICO's October newsletter, its president and chief executive officer, Edward Thomas, reported that five new vessels will be entering the V.I. market in the year ahead, including two that will call in the territory year 'round: Royal Caribbean International's Eagle-class megaship Adventure of the Seas and Carnival Cruise Lines' Carnival Pride. The other new ships, all expected to be season callers, are two from Celebrity Cruises, the Infinity and the Summit, and RCI's Radiance of the Seas.
Thomas noted that the Millennium and the Norwegian Sky will be calling weekly this season at St. Thomas, doubling the number of calls last year.
Thomas also reported that WICO has begun annual maintenance dredging at the Havensight cruise ship dock to remove the sand buildup which results from the propeller action of cruise ships and from runoff from nearby hillsides that empties into Long Bay through storm drains within the WICO property.
"In order to safely accommodate the vessels, we have to provide water depths of 30 to 34 feet," Thomas said. The dredged material is turned over to the Public Works Department for use as garbage cover at the Bovoni landfill.
This season, which began Monday and runs through April 30, 2002, a total of 736 cruise ships calls are scheduled in the territory. "These ships will bring an estimated 1.9 million visitors for the year," Thomas said. And for calendar year 2002, he's projecting 2 million for the St. Thomas and St. John district alone.
V.I. ports are part of Eastern Caribbean cruise itineraries, most of them out of the Miami area or San Juan. There is some concern within the region that the region will be facing stiffer competition than in the past with its own immediate neighbor, the Western Caribbean. That region is experiencing the fastest growth in the cruise industry, with marketing aimed at heavy drive markets of the U.S. South and Southwest.
The Gulf of Mexico ports of Houston, Galveston, New Orleans and Tampa are quickly becoming major embarkation points for three- and four-day cruises, as well as seven-day Western Caribbean routes. And with the current reticence of many Americans to fly, that could take business away from the eastern itineraries.
Meantime, however, the Caribbean as a whole is expected to benefit from a similar reticence on the part of U.S. travelers to take cruise vacations in the Mediterranean and Asia.
And looking ahead a year, Thomas said, the next winter season will begin on Oct. 4, 2002, with the return of the Sea Princess from its summer Alaska positioning. New ships scheduled to call at V.I. ports in the 2002-2003 high season include Carnival's Constellation, Holland America’s Zuiderdam, Princess Cruises’ Coral Princess, Norwegian Cruise Lines' Norwegian Dream and another RCI Eagle-class ship, Navigator of the Seas.

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