World Largest Cruise Ship Makes Maiden Call to St. Kitts

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St Kitts and Nevis are preparing for one of the busiest cruise seasons to date, including various ships making their inaugural calls to Port Zante in Basseterre. 

One of the most exciting calls happened this week when the world’s largest cruise ship made its inaugural call on November 24. Local officials boarded the vessel to perform the traditional plaque exchange between the ship and island authorities.

St. Kitts has developed itself to become one of the most popular Caribbean cruise destinations, offering visitors everything they want from a Caribbean Island. 

Wonder of the Seas in St. Kitts for the First Time

Wonder of the Seas captain Henrick Loy was welcomed with open arms in Basseterre, St Kitts, this week as he piloted the world’s biggest cruise ship into Port Zante on November 24. The call is the first time the biggest cruise ship in the world arrived in St Kitts, a testimony to the island’s efforts to become a premier cruise destination. 

Amongst those welcoming the 236,857 gross-tons cruise ship to St. Kitts were Prime Minister Dr. Terrance Drew, Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Geoffrey Hanley, officials from the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, and other tourism stakeholders from St. Kitts.

Wonder of the Seas in St. Kitts
Photo Courtesy: St. Kitts News Service

At the traditional plaque exchange ceremony, the Prime Minister welcomed the ship, its captain, 6495 guests, and 2259 crew to St Kitts and Nevis: “You have confidence in the destination by adding St Kitts and Nevis to your now largest vessel, the Wonder of the Seas, with a passenger capacity of 6988.”

After her call to St. Kitts, Wonder of the Seas set sail back to her homeport of Port Canaveral; however, due to a medical emergency, the vessel was forced to make an emergency stop in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Cruise Ships are Important for St Kitts and Nevis

Over the last couple of years, St. Kitts has worked hard and developed itself into a premier cruise destination in the Caribbean. The arrival of Wonder of the Seas proves those efforts have paid off, bringing valuable income and jobs to locals.

Chief Executive Officer at the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, Mr. Ellison Thompson: “The destination’s ability to secure a vessel with a 6,495-passenger capacity today, November 24, is the result of comprehensive negotiations between the Ministry, the Authority, and cruise lines. As a result, we are gradually seeing the fruits of our marketing and strategic efforts, and we take pride in celebrating such a momentous occasion.”

Cruise Ships at St. Kitts
Photo Courtesy: St. Kitts Tourism

During a meeting with Carnival Corporation executives last week, the prime minister told visiting executives the island appreciates the partnerships it has with the various cruise lines that regularly visit St. Kitts and Nevis and the critical part they play in the country’s economy. 

Prime Minister Dr. Terrance Drew: “We appreciate the value that the cruise sector brings to the overall tourism product. An average cruise visitor spends US$135.94. The multiplier effect of such a spend has been and continues to be critical to the economic sustenance of our people. For example, in 2019, the pre-pandemic tourism accounted for at least 40 percent of our GDP.”

During December, St. Kitts and Nevis expect to welcome 69 cruise ships to Port Zante. These include ships from most major cruise operators, including Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, and Carnival. Smaller cruise lines will also visit St Kitts, such as the ultra-luxury Ritz Carlton Evrima, Seabourn Ovation, and Silversea Silver Dawn.

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