Port St. Maarten expects an increase in cruise numbers

POINTE BLANCHE–Port St. Maarten continues to work to increase destination cruise numbers after a dip in 2016.

“Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) will increase its number of calls to the destination in 2017 when compared to 2016. It is expected to make 39 port calls bringing 101,007 passengers to the destination. NCL made 29 calls for 2016, bringing in 82,316 passengers,” the harbour announced in a press release on Sunday.

“With a combined fleet of 24 ships with approximately 46,500 berths, this brand offers itineraries to more than 510 destinations worldwide. The company will introduce four additional ships through 2020.”

NCL has three new ships on order to be delivered 2017-2019. The first ship is Norwegian Joy, which will be able to carry 4,200 passengers and is scheduled to be delivered in Summer 2017. This vessel has been built specifically for the Chinese market.

Norwegian Bliss, 4,200 passengers, will be delivered in Spring 2018; and Breakaway Plus class ship, 4,200 passengers, is to be delivered in the Autumn of 2019.

Norwegian Cruise Lines Holding Ltd. is a leading global cruise company which operates the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands.

Caribbean destinations are facing a number of challenges such as private cruise port islands and the opening up of Cuba. NCL will be offering four-day roundtrip cruises from Miami to Cuba in May 2017 on Norwegian Sky, the largest ship sailing to Cuba.

NCL’s private 250-acre Bahamian island Great Stirrup Cay has undergone new luxury features and more family-friendly amenities. Extensive upgrades include a new family recreation area; addition of a 1,000-foot-long zip line; expanded dining options and an exclusive access lagoon retreat with private air-conditioned villas to open by Summer 2017. NCL was the first cruise line to acquire a private island in 1977.

NCL opened its new destination Harvest Caye in Southern Belize, which is located one mile offshore, at the end of 2016. It is considered the line’s premier resort-style which features Belize’s only cruise ship pier. The island has an expansive seven-acre white sand beach; 15,000-square-foot pool with swim-up bar; offers multiple dining options; nature centre and wildlife experiences; plus adventure tours on a cross-island zip line.

“We welcome the increase in calls for 2017 when compared to 2016. The past year was a challenging one for Port St. Maarten, but we must continue to work in a strategic manner in order to secure more business, and we are working diligently on this by meeting and having discussions with cruise line executives.

“The cruise industry is entering new markets such as Cuba and China besides developing their own private islands, and these developments are realities which will continue and therefore we need to look at building on our strengths in order to continue to grow in the foreseeable future,” Port St. Maarten management said in a press release on Sunday.

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Travel Agent Cruise Industry Quarterly Outlook December 2016 reports that one of the cruise categories that continue to increase in popularity is the larger ship cruise.

“Port St. Maarten is cognizant of the trends and developments in the cruise industry and therefore has encouraged and called for local investments to be made in new products and visitor experiences in order to further enhance the tourism cruise product of the destination,” the Port management explained.

Oceania Cruises offers an unrivalled vacation experience renowned for the finest cuisine at sea and destination-rich itineraries that span the globe. Expertly-crafted voyages aboard designer-inspired, intimate ships call on ports across Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and the Americas.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises offers the industry’s most inclusive luxury experience aboard its all-suite fleet. Accompanying the unprecedented personalised service, gourmet cuisine and world-class entertainment, a voyage with Regent Seven Seas Cruises also includes roundtrip air transportation to the port of origin with business class air provided for any intercontinental flights, fine wines and spirits throughout the ship, unlimited free Internet access, ground transfers, pre-paid gratuities and complimentary sightseeing excursions at every destination visited.

Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/63083-port-st-maarten-expects-an-increase-in-cruise-numbers