For the first time in 20 months, the popular Caribbean cruise port in Philipsburg St. Maarten welcomes six cruise ships across four different cruise lines, a sign that cruising is making a comeback. This news comes as cruise traffic to Jamaica increases and St. Kitts also has a second number of ships in over 20 months.
Busy Cruise Day for St. Maarten
As cruise lines bring more cruise ships back to service safely, Caribbean cruise ports are becoming busy once again, with thousands of visitors bringing much-needed income to economies.
St. Maarten has been among the busiest cruise destinations so far since cruise ships started returning to service in the summer. On November 24, the port had six cruise ships, the busiest day in over 20 months. The vessels brought in more than 7,500 guests and crew to the island, a positive step for local businesses.
“It’s with great pleasure that we welcome our guests and crew with a warm St. Maarten welcome on Wednesday. After 20-months we are able to accommodate six vessels to our piers. “This is a great indication of the direction we are heading. To return and maintain our status as a leading destination we must continue to collaborate with our partners and offer service excellence,” Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs Hon. Roger Lawrence said on Tuesday.
The vessels in St. Maarten on November 24 included Sky Princess, operated by Princess Cruises, AIDAluna, and AIDAdiva ships operated by German-based AIDA Cruises, Marella Discovery operated by British-based Marella Cruises.
There were also two Royal Caribbean cruise ships, Explorer of the Seas and Jewel of the Seas. All the ships were docked between the two cruise piers at the Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise and Cargo Facility. There are also two cargo vessels stopping at the island, increasing the total number of ships to eight.
“This is once again a milestone for the destination. The #1 destination in the Northeastern Caribbean will welcome for the first time in more than 20-months six cruise ships in one day. “This signifies our resilience and hard work by our staff and stakeholders throughout the year in preparing for the return of cruising,” Port St. Maarten Group Chief Executive Officer Alexander Gumbs said on Tuesday.
St. Maarten became not just the first Caribbean nation to welcome back cruises but the first nation in North America when the Celebrity Millennium restarted on June 5, 2021. The ship was based from the port with her first seven-day voyage calling at Aruba, Curaçao, and Barbados. Celebrity Millennium then continued to sail from St. Maarten through August 2021.
More cruise ships will continue to call at the Caribbean port in the coming days, including Oasis of the Seas, which will make a memorable Thanksgiving call on November 25, 2021.