POINTE BLANCHE–The Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise & Cargo Facility will become a homeport destination in the North eastern Caribbean. Construction of the Homeport Terminal is currently underway.
Homeporting is nothing new for the destination as the country has had the opportunity to handle smaller vessels, but the Port’s strategic long-term sustainable approach is the investment in a homeport terminal that can handle vessels carrying 500 to 1500 cruise passengers according to cruise market demand.
Port St. Maarten has for several years facilitated homeport services for Star Clipper, Windsurf, Seabourn, Tera Moana and others all with fewer than 300 passengers.
Homeporting entails passengers flying in to St. Maarten from either Europe or the United States, who will two days later board their cruise ship for a one week cruise.
Statistics show that 20 per cent of the passengers who fly to a destination to take a cruise also take a pre or post vacation stay.
They spend about two days after they arrive on the island before taking their cruise, and do the same upon returning from their cruise. This results in a spin-off benefit for restaurants, taxis, car rentals, night clubs etc.
The terminal building will be air-conditioned and state of the art within a 1500 square metre structure; with 12 check-in desks and a luggage screening machine; bar and restaurant serving drinks and snacks on sale for passengers; VIP section with seating for 50-80 passengers; Wi-Fi; facilities for the disabled; and much more.
The terminal will be able to store more than 1200 pieces of luggage and is located nearby the cargo container storage area or where Port St. Maarten successfully hosted the FCCA 2014 Cruise Conference & Exhibition.
The addition of a Homeport facility has been taken up into the total Port Operations logistics to assure that the facility maintains high standards as the leading Port in the Caribbean. The aforementioned with respect to design and layout was a collaboration with cruise partners to ensure the aforementioned.
The new facility is a temporary multi-functional structure, which is storm proof and demount-able prior to a hurricane threat. Other events can also be held at the terminal due to its multi-functional design and layout.
Discussions are underway with relevant authorities with respect to a separate entrance for the Homeporting Terminal. There will be parking for 60 vehicles and three touring car options; line up zone for taxis, with direct access to the main entrance from the Homeporting Terminal; Royal landscaping and paving to provide “square” experience in front of the Homeport Terminal; lobby of 550m2 with 200 seats for passengers, and two information screens; ceiling fans; high-end transport trolley/train; and toilet facilities.
The investment in homeporting facilities is a strategic one taken by the board of Supervisory Directors and Management in order to ensure that the destination remains one of the leading ports of call to visit and experience.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/61965-port-st-maarten-homeport-terminal-under-construction