~ Grandeur of the Seas to be in St. Maarten Dec. 17 ~
PHILIPSBURG–Royal Caribbean Line (RCL) announced mid-week that it will be returning to St. Maarten in December instead of November 5. Port St. Maarten Management encourages the business community and other stakeholders to remain steadfast in rebuilding the nation over the coming weeks in preparation for the first commercial cruise ship visit in December.
The Port said in a press release on Thursday that more can be accomplished since the destination has been given more time to make sure that when the first cruise passengers visit, their experience will be a good one leading to a return visit.
RCL said in a statement that it continues to be impressed with the progress the island is making to rebuild, but the island needs a little more time to recover, and it will be returning on December 17 with Grandeur of the Seas.
RCL also said in its statement that the Oasis class vessels will return to the destination after the first of the year, as more time is needed to repair the gangways that are specifically designed for this class of ships.
An RCL delegation met recently with the Port St. Maarten board and management and Minister of Tourism and Economic Affairs Mellissa Arrindell-Doncher about the recovery efforts that are underway since the passing of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September.
The Port St. Maarten management and board briefed the RCL delegation earlier this month about the current state of affairs at Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise and Cargo Facilities. Information was also provided about the Boardwalk Boulevard, the commercial centre of Philipsburg, Front Street and other areas of interest from a tourism perspective.
RCL executives carried out a site visit as part of their assessment of the destination’s readiness to accept cruise passengers and the availability of tours, shore excursions, shopping, beaches and other cruise-tourism-related amenities.
Royal Caribbean International is part of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., 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 per cent 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.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/70462-port-wants-all-stakeholders-to-be-ready-for-december