BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, SEPTEMBER 3RD 2013 (CUOPM) – St. Kitts’ 2013/2014 cruise ship season is going to be exciting with an estimated 785,000 passengers expected.
“What’s exciting about this coming season is that we have 183 ship days. In other words, in a calendar year for the first time in our history we have passed about 130 in terms of ship days. We have gone up significantly by the number of ship days and that means that over the course of 365 days on average, every other day there will be a ship,” said Minister of Tourism, Sen. the Hon. Richard “Ricky” Skerritt.
Describing the upcoming season as “phenomenal for a small island like St. Kitts,” Minister Skerritt noted that during the Winter Season, there will be 103 days when there will be one ship.
“There will be 49 days when there will be two ships, that’s also the largest number of days when we will have two ships in our history. There will be 22 days when we will have three ships in port, which means 2 at Port Zante and one at the Cargo Pier. There will be 6 days when we will have 4 ships and for the first time in our history, we are going to have 3 days when we are going to have 5 ships,” said Skerritt.
He said even the conservative figure of 750,000 cruise passengers during the 2013/2014 Winter Season places St. Kitts “in the big league.”
“Last year we were at about just 600,000, so it’s a massive increase this year. Two years ago we were able to bring the Allure of the Seas which is called an Oasis-class ship as a test case and that has proven to the world, the capacity of our pier,” said Minister Skerritt.
He said St. Kitts is also having more cruise ship business in the summer and that cannot be understated.
“It only began back in 2008, when for the very first time in the nation’s entire cruise ship history which goes back to the early 90’s, that we began to have scheduled summer calls. We never had any calls in the summer before that. Most people had to pack up their businesses by the end of April and hope for the best next year which was around October-November when the new Season starts,” said Skerritt.
“That was also a part of our strategy to go out and do everything we can to bring business in the summer. That business has been steady in terms of having at least one ship. Then we went up to two and then we came back down to one last season that also took us down enormously. We have gone back up to two this summer season and next season (2014/2015) we are going to be doing even better,” he disclosed.
He said there is growing justification for the construction of a second pier at Port Zante and disclosed that the Ministry of Tourism and the St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority (SCASPA) are actively in the process and very close to starting its construction.