St Maarten, a popular Caribbean destination, has set a new record for cruise ship visitor numbers, with 30,349 passengers and crew arriving on Tuesday, January 17. This marks a significant development for the destination and a promising start for the 2023 cruise year.
Six different cruise ships brought in a record number of visitors: Anthem of the Seas, Arvia, Celebrity Constellation, Grandeur of the Seas, MSC Seaside, and Symphony of the Seas.
Winter Cruise Season Reaches High Point
The winter cruise season 2023 reached its busiest point so far when 30,349 cruise ship passengers and crew members visited St Maarten in the Caribbean on a single day.
On January 17, Anthem of the Seas, Arvia, Celebrity Constellation, Grandeur of the Seas, MSC Seaside, and Symphony of the Seas brought 21,723 passengers and 8,626 crew to the island.
The arrival of Arvia, P&O Cruises’ second Excel-class ship, was one of the highlights of this record-breaking day. The new cruise ship is sailing its maiden Caribbean cruise and made its inaugural call on January 17. The 184,700 gross tons cruise ship has a capacity for 5,200 passengers and 1800 crew.
St. Maarten is one of the busiest cruise ports in the Caribbean and counts on the economic impact that cruise arrivals have. The six ships and more than 30,000 people arriving on the same day are excellent news for the small island nation.
Port of St Maarten Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Alexander Gumbs said on Thursday: “This is a significant development for the destination when we look back at what we and the region, and the world had to endure with the pandemic and the shutdown of the cruise industry for 15-months.”
“We are on a healthy track for the 2022-2023 season, where we see vibrancy in various sectors. We have much to celebrate, but at the same time, we must keep putting our best efforts forward in making sure we give our guests the best island experiences each and every day as they visit our shores.”
More Busy Days Ahead
The cruise season is currently at its busiest point of the year, with 90 cruise ships scheduled to visit St Maarten this month in total. On January 25, the port will welcome six ships again: Sky Princess, Celebrity Beyond, Club Med II, Voyager of the Seas, and Enchanted Princess.
In February, the number of ships visiting St Maarten will be slightly lower, with just 67 cruise ships visiting the port. Only one day in February will see six ships in port. On February 28, MSC Seaside, Club Med II, Holland America Line’s Rotterdam, Symphony of the Seas, Carnival Spirit, and Celebrity Constellation will visit.
The entire winter season, between November 2022 to April 2023, will see approximately one million cruise passengers visit St Maarten.
Cruise ships are an important source of income for St Maarten and the entire Caribbean region. In 2021, the tourism industry accounted for over 80% of the total economy. With 1.8 million visitors in 2021 arriving by cruise ship and 500,000 by air, the impact of cruise ships on St. Maarten is significant.
The increase in cruise ship visitors is an indication of the economic recovery and the return of tourism in the region. With more and more visitors expected in the coming months, the island is set for a successful 2023.