Grandeur of the Seas (Photo courtesy Shutterstock)
PORT ST. MAARTEN–Royal Caribbean Line’s (RCL) Grandeur of the Seas will be the first commercial cruise vessel to return to the destination post-Irma on Sunday, November 5th. RCL as of that date will also be carrying out an adjusted cruise itinerary for the remainder of 2017 which will be published within short, Port St. Maarten announced in a press release on Tuesday evening.
Grandeur of the Seas was launched in 1996 and is part of the Vision-class of RCL. The vessel has 11 decks and carries 2,446 passengers and 760 crew, and went through a comprehensive revitalization in Cadiz, Navantia Shipyard in May 2012.
A delegation from RCL recently met with Port St. Maarten Board, Management and Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs Mellissa Arrindell-Doncher, about the quick recovery efforts of the destination that are underway.
Port St. Maarten Management and Board briefed the RCL delegation about the current state of affairs at the Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise & Cargo Facilities. Information was also provided about the Great Bay Beach Promenade, the commercial center of Philipsburg, Front Street and other areas of interest from a tourism perspective.
RCL Executives carried out a site visit as part of their destination readiness assessment to accept cruise passengers, and the availability by early November of tours, shore excursions, shopping, beaches, and other cruise tourism related amenities.
“RCL was full of praise for Port St. Maarten Board, Management and Government with respect to the diligence carried out by the aforementioned to get the country ‘cruise ready’ for November in order to bring in much needed foreign exchange into the economy that would kick-start the economic engine of the country – (cruise) tourism,” Port management stated. “Destination stakeholders have placed much effort on safety and security over the past weeks which has allowed for normalcy to return to the daily life of the people of the country.”
“Clean-up efforts continue and there have been no reported health risks which demonstrates the measures taken to-date by the authorities have been adequate to protect public health,” the Port added in its release.
Royal Caribbean International is part of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is a global cruise vacation company that owns Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Pullmantur, Azamara Club Cruises and CDF Croisières de France, as well as TUI Cruises through a 50 percent joint venture. Together, these six brands operate a combined total of 43 ships with an additional six under construction contracts, and two on firm order. They operate diverse itineraries around the world that call on approximately 490 destinations on all seven continents.
Port St. Maarten Management encourages the business community and other stakeholders to remain steadfast in rebuilding the nation over the coming days and weeks in preparation for the first commercial cruise ship visits.