BASSETERRE, St Kitts – St Kitts received its millionth cruise passenger on Monday, reaching the key number of arrivals that gives the island marquee port status for the first time in its history.
Minister of Tourism, International Trade, Industry and Commerce Lindsay Grant said it was particularly significant that there are still two months left in the 2017-2018 cruise season to increase arrivals even further.
“Reaching this milestone at this point in time is truly a testament to the strength of our relationships with the cruise lines and to the continuing appeal of our tourism product,” he said.
CEO of the St Kitts Tourism Authority Racquel Brown noted that in the highly competitive Caribbean cruise marketplace, “exceeding the million passenger mark for the first time is a highly significant achievement that is a direct result of our successful marketing strategy”.
“Having reached this benchmark, St Kitts is now considered by the cruise lines to be in the same elite port status category as much larger destinations in the region. Cruise passengers clearly enjoy our diverse range of activities and friendly, welcoming people, and we are working hard to ensure that we keep the ships and their guests returning to our shores,” she added.
St Kitts reached the historic mark with the arrival of Royal Caribbean International’s Freedom of the Seas. The ship, which has a capacity of 3,782 guests at double occupancy, docked at the island’s Port Zante cruise pier at 8 a.m. on Monday.
Minister Grant led the welcome delegation and selected the millionth passenger to disembark, who was treated to a complimentary island tour.
“We are very pleased to be the cruise line that brought the millionth passenger to St Kitts,” said Federico Gonzalez, Associate Vice President, Government Relations Latin America & Caribbean, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “The island is a long-time, valued industry partner that offers our guests the opportunity to explore lush natural beauty, rich heritage, a wide range of attractions. In addition, our partnership with the tourism team and their ongoing work to continually improve the infrastructure, services and amenities in St. Kitts showcases why it is one of our destinations of choice for our Caribbean itineraries.”
So far this season, the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. cruise lines, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises, have made a total of 102 port calls to St Kitts, bringing over 350,000 cruise visitors to island.
Including calls from all international cruise lines over the nine-month period from October 2017-June 2018, the total number of cruise ship calls into St Kitts grew from 358 to 486, an increase of more than 35 per cent over the same period in 2016-2017.