As the St. Croix winter cruise season shifts into high gear, its port in Frederiksted experienced its first two-ship day, welcoming Virgin Voyages’ Valiant Lady and Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas.
A Full Day in Port For Thousands of Cruisers
The ships called at the Ann E. Abramson Marine Terminal on November 23, with Enchantment of the Seas docking on the pier’s south side and Valiant Lady on the north side.
Enchantment of the Seas accommodates 2,440 guests and 760 crew, while Valiant Lady has a capacity for 2,770 guests and 1,160 crew, with the two ships together potentially delivering several thousand visitors to the U.S.V.I. Port in one day. Both ships were in port from 8 AM to 6 PM.
“We are still very early in the cruise season and the Ann E. Abramson is seeing record numbers of cruise ships and visitors. Each time a ship berths in Frederiksted, I am mindful of the vendors, the restaurants, the merchants, the taxi drivers, and all the businesses and residents that make their living via the tourism industry. The economic impact is far-reaching and critical to our territory’s success. Today’s cruise passengers become our future overnight guests,” said Virgin Islands Port Authority Executive Director Carlton Dowe.
Enchantment of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean Vision Class ship that entered service in 1996, is operating a 12-night Southern Caribbean cruise roundtrip from its home port in Baltimore, MD.
Valiant Lady, which sailed her “mermaiden” cruise from Miami in October, is homeported in Miami and operating an 8-night Eastern Caribbean voyage.
St. Croix Port Expecting Record Number of Ships
According to the port authority, St. Croix has 68 scheduled ship calls for the 2022-2023 cruise season. The port has high expectations for an active cruise season, due in part to Royal Caribbean’s commitment to significantly increase cruise visitors to the island by 180 percent in comparison to the 50,000 passengers the line delivered to St. Croix in 2019.
In addition to Enchantment of the Seas, other Royal Caribbean ships slated to call at St. Croix include Jewel of the Seas, Grandeur of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas.
Also scheduled to call at the island port this winter are Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Silhouette, Summit and Millennium, Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Dream, Ritz-Carlton Evrima, Marella Cruises’ Marella Discovery, and Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady.
A robust cruise season is key to the island’s economy, since tourism accounts for about 80 percent of the island’s gross domestic product and employment, the port authority said.
In addition to the Ann E. Abramson Marine Terminal, the port authority operates the Austin Babe Monsanto Marine Terminal, at Crown Bay, St. Thomas, and the West Indian Company Limited Dock, at Havensight, St. Thomas. It also runs the U.S.V.I. airports on St. Thomas and St. Croix.