After many months of waiting, one more Caribbean Cruise port is opening its doors to large cruise ships once again. St. Kitts and Nevis, one of the most popular Caribbean ports of call for several major cruise companies, will welcome Celebrity Equinox on September 14.
The call marks the first call of one of the Celebrity cruise ships and the Royal Caribbean Group since the pandemic started in March of last year. The island is opening for large cruise ships under strict health protocols. The islands closed for large cruise ships early in August to ensure clear policies to welcome the ships safely.
St. Kitts and Nevis in High Demand
Basseterre, the capital of the small island nation, which consists of the main island of St. Kitts and the smaller island of Nevis, is preparing for the first large cruise ship call since March of last year.
The country did welcome Seabourn Odyssey to its shores three times, sailing with 100% fully vaccinated individuals. The port has been a traditional port of call for many cruise lines over the years, the ships bringing in millions of visitors, which play a significant role in the economic activity in the country.
St Kitts and Nevis Tourism Minister Lindsay F.P. Grant said: “St. Kitts achieved Marquee Port status after reaching the one million passenger mark in two cruise seasons in a row, 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 and Royal Caribbean played an instrumental role in this achievement. St. Kitts and Nevis remains in high demand as a port, renowned for our unique tours complemented by an excellent experience that cannot be replicated.”
Also Read: Things to Do in St. Kitts While on a Cruise
The 121,878 gross ton Celebrity Equinox, which has space for 2850 passengers, restarted from her homeport of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on September 5. The ship will visit ports like St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands, Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, St. Lucia, and Dominica before heading for her maiden call this year in Basseterre, St. Kitts.
Guests will be able to enjoy features such as the Brimstone Hill National Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage site, or a scenic ride around the island on the St. Kitts Scenic Railway.
Guests to Visit Under Strict Protocols
For a small nation like St. Kitts and Nevis, the arrival of the first large cruise ship since early last year gives reason for celebration and a vital boost to the economy. The industry’s economic contribution to St. Kitts and Nevis was estimated to be around $149 million in 2018. Nevertheless, the call will be performed under strict health regulations to protect the local population as much as possible.
Racquel Brown, CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority: “The safety of our nationals, residents and visitors has always been our top priority and we have worked closely with stakeholders to establish bubble tours that will allow cruise ship passengers to enjoy our one-of-a-kind and awe-inspiring experiences,”
Besides the bubble tours the tourism authority has set up, all guests onboard Celebrity Equinox over the age of 12 must be fully vaccinated with a World Health Organization-approved vaccine for the ship to be allowed entry to the port.
Under the Celebrity Cruises protocols, all vaccinated guests also submitted a negative PCR or antigen test three days before embarkation of the vessel at the homeport at the beginning of the cruise.
For the remainder of September, the port is scheduled to receive Seabourn Odyssey three more times on September 16, 24, and 30. In October, calls are scheduled for Carnival Freedom, Norwegian Joy, Viking Orion, AIDAsol, and Celebrity Equinox, and Seabourn Odyssey again.