April 18, 2005 – Administrators at the Virgin Islands Port Authority have begun to advertise the newly-completed docking facilities at Crown Bay to cruise line operators whose ships call on the territory regularly. And officials are also continuing the effort to lure additional luxury liners to St. Croix.
Darlan Brin, VI Port Authority Executive Director,
is among nine port administrators featured in a roundtable discussion in the Spring 2005 edition of "Cruise Industry News."
The roundtable discussion, which took place at last month's Sea Trade Convention in Miami, Florida, is entitled, "Roundtable: Caribbean Ports, Pulling Out All the Stops."
Brin described the expansion of the Crown Bay dock on St. Thomas as new and exciting. Brin was quoted as saying the key attraction is an "expanded cruise ship pier with the north side extended from 200 to 960 lineal feet of berthing space, and the south side extended from 500 to 960 lineal feet." In addition, he said, a separate 200 lineal-foot tour vessel pier will be available.
Brin also provided details about the mixed-use commercial center on the land-side at Crown Bay. "The center adjacent to the cruise ship dock will be providing goods and services for cruise-ship passengers and crews."
As to the challenges the VIPA faces as a cruise port and destination, Brin said, the depth limitation of the Charlotte Amalie harbor is the biggest obstacle. We have "to provide safe, navigable channels as part of the agency's capital plan."
Brin was also called on to address whether the growing cruise fleet is leading to an overcrowding situation, and what is being done to alleviate the issue and ensure that excursions and attractions are fresh and interesting. "The traffic congestion usually occurs in the area of the main cruise ship dock. Shifting of the vessels to the other terminal at Crown Bay could reduce the traffic dilemma."
As regards excursions and attractions, Brin said, "the private sector and not the port authority plays a pivotal role in creating new venues and activities for visitors. There appears to be upgrading of existing attractions and activities and introductions of new ones from time to time."
St. Croix gained attention when Brin was asked whether he has a wish list for the cruise lines. "Yes, to send cruise vessels to the island of St. Croix."
Cruise Industry News, which rates itself as number one in industry reporting, is published quarterly.
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