Caribbean Cruise Port Aims for Major Expansion With New Deal

St Lucia will be working with new port operator to develop the port in Castries. This includes a new pier that can handle Oasis-class ships.

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St. Lucia has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Global Ports Holding Plc for a 30-year concession, with a possible 10-year extension. The agreement covers an extension of the current dock at Point Seraphine, which will allow the handling of Oasis-class ships. 

Global Ports Holding Plc has been making an impact of late, with several new developments to popular cruise destinations worldwide. This year alone, the company announced the development of cruise ports in Las Palmas, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Antigua. 

Improvements Coming to Port of St Lucia

As cruise ships keep developing, and become bigger and more modern, so do cruise ports need to develop to keep up. 

In order to be able to offer cruise ship guests everything they want when they arrive in St Lucia, the island government has signed a memorandum of understanding with Global Ports Holding Plc for a 30-year concession and significant improvements to the port facilities. 

Once all due diligence has been carried out and a contract has been officially signed, the cruise port operator said it would invest in a material upgrade of cruise port facilities, and that these include expanding the existing berth in Point Seraphine to allow the handling of the Oasis-class ships.

St. Lucia Global Ports Holding
Photo Courtesy: Global Ports Holding

Other improvements include transforming the retail areas in the port, the vendor’s arcade, port facilities, and other tourism-related areas in Castries. One central point of attention will be developing facilities around Fisherman’s Village. This will mostly be to the benefit of residents, which rely on cruise-related income streams.

“GPH is committed to driving significant economic benefits for the local residents through improving the facilities in and around the port such as Fisherman’s Village and driving increased passenger spending in the destination,” Global Ports Holding Plc said. 

Global Port Holdings aims to grow cruise visitor traffic to St. Lucia by some 20% once the building and renovations start in or after 2023. In 2019, the busiest year to date for the small Caribbean Island, St. Lucia welcomed 790,000 cruise passengers. Once all the improvements have been completed, Global Ports Holdings expects this number to rise to 1 million. 

St Lucia Cruise Season Kicked Off

St. Lucia officially welcomed the first cruise ship of the winter cruise season last week when Celebrity Millenium arrived at the port. In the upcoming month of November, the port expects to see 33 cruise ship arrivals, steadily building up to the high season in December and January.

Carnival Cruise Ship in St. Lucia
Photo Credit: Darryl Brooks / Shutterstock.com

“As the sector remains a high priority in driving demand for Saint Lucia as a tourism destination, the Ministry of Tourism anticipates a robust season where various sub-sectors, including sites & attractions, local waterbased sector, food & beverage, tourism transportation, and recreation will have yet another opportunity to reap the economic benefits from the cruise sector,” stated a press release from the ministry.

In December, St Lucia expects to welcome fifty cruise ships, including some of the biggest: Norwegian Epic, MSC Seaside, and Enchanted Princess. January will be just as busy, with around 48 cruise ships arriving on the Island. 

Global Ports Holdings has been expanding the number of ports it manages in record time in the last year. In the last few months, it announced it would build a new sustainable terminal building and perform infrastructure improvements in Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. There are plans for a new cruise pier in Antigua and a new pier and terminal building in Puerto Rico. 

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