>PORT ST. MAARTEN – The month of November will see a number of first for the 2018-2019 high cruise season. Multiple cruise ship days will slowly build during the month with the first six-ship day on November 14 followed by the second one two weeks later on November 28.
On November 14, the following vessels will be in port, Adventure of the Seas, Carnival Pride, Marella Explorer, MSC Seaside, Norwegian Dawn, and Star Pride. The number of passengers and crew will be approximately 20,000 on that particular day.
The day-after, November 15, there will be five ships in port, namely Carnival Sunshine, MSC Divina, MSC Opera, Regal Princess and Viking Sea. The number of passengers and crew will be approximately 15,000.
Later in the month of November, the destination will welcome the world’s largest cruise ship. Bolder and bigger, that is how Royal Caribbean International (RCI) Oasis Class ships have been described.
Harmony, Allure and Oasis, the world’s largest cruise ships are well known, but on November 27, Symphony of the Seas, the new addition to the Royal Caribbean fleet will call at Port St. Maarten for the first time.
A delegation from Port St. Maarten will be traveling to attend the Caribbean’s largest and only official cruise conference and trade show in the region, the 25th Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), which is taking place from November 5 to 9 in Puerto Rico.
The cruise conference and trade show will offer participants a series of meetings, workshops, networking opportunities and more with an expected 100 high-level executives from FCCA Member Lines, which operate about 200 vessels and 95 percent of the global ocean cruising capacity.
The St. Maarten delegation will be led by Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications Stuart Johnson.
Port St. Maarten Management will discuss with cruise line executive’s port/destination status in preparation for the high cruise tourism season which is forecast to be better than the previous first post-Irma/Maria season 2017-2018.
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) and P&O Cruises also returned to the destination this week. This will further boost cruise numbers for the 2018-2019 high cruise season.
Port St. Maarten Management is looking forward to a very good high cruise season for the destination. “All stakeholders should have everything in place to cater to the country’s visitors. It is very important to pay attention to logistical and operational details when dealing with destination visitors.
“Some of the things that should be in place are insurance, destination information and employee hospitality training. Destination St. Maarten has many competitors, and in order to rebuild the product, certain standards have to be met and maintained to grow the cruise tourism product to post-Irma/Maria levels.
“Therefore, we appeal to our destination partners, stakeholders and the population at large, to continue the success of cruise tourism by being hospitable to our guests and to always display that ‘Friendly Island’ smile. Security and safety are key to the cruise sector and the destination has very high marks where this is concerned, and we have to maintain this.
“We are happy with the rapid return of business which once again demonstrates the strength of the destination. Stakeholders who have played a very important role over the years and continue to do so, have contributed immeasurably to the success of the destination and we must continue on this course moving forward,” Port St. Maarten Management said on Thursday.
PHOTO CUTLINE: Cruise passengers who disembarked and are on their way to explore and experience destination St. Maarten. (File photo)