BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, OCTOBER 28TH 2013 (CUOPM) – Over 4,000 cruise passengers from two ships visited St. Kitts on Monday.
Jewel of the Seas with 2,189 passengers and a crew of 874, berth at Port Zante after its arrival from St. Maarten. It later sailed for Antigua.
The Celebrity Summit, on its first visit for the 2013/2014 season arrived from St. Croix with 2,130 passengers and crew of 945 before departing for Dominica.
Most of the 4,319 passengers came ashore and went on sight-seeing tours in Basseterre and island wide via the St. Kitts Scenic Railway, buses or taxis.
Scores headed for Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, sea and sun bathing on the beaches, snorkeling, sailing to Nevis, horseback riding, golfing, casino gambling, shopping and biking while others took time to surf the internet and make contact with friends and family.
For the 2013/2014 season some 15 new cruise ships will visit St. Kitts.
The new ships include the 2,500-passenger Ida Bella and Aida Luna to the 2,974-passenger Carnival Freedom, the 3,325-passenger Disney Magic, the 3,700-passenger Carnival Conquest, the 4,100-passenger Norwegian Epic and the 4,941-passenger Norwegian Breakaway.
Other new ships are the 450-passenger Azamara Quest; the 3,006-passenger Carnival Splendor; the Costa Mediterranea; the 2,076-passenger Legend of the Seas; the 3,013-passenger MSC Musica; the 624-passenger Nippon Maru and the 706-passenger Saga Sapphire;
The new ships will join the 3,838-passenger Adventure of the Seas; the 3,597 passenger Azura; the 3,700-passenger Carnival Valor; the 2,850-passenger Celebrity Equinox; the 3,030-passenger Celebrity Reflections; the 2,850-passenger Celebrity Silhouette; the 2,450-passenger Celebrity Summit; the 3,100-passenger Emerald Princess and the 3,840-passenger Explorer of the Seas.
Calls will also continue to be made during the 2013/2014 season by the 2,500-passenger Jewel of the Seas; the 1,627-passenger Maasdam; the 2,272-passenger Oceana; the 1,928-passenger Oriana; the 3,090 Queen Mary; the 1,506-passenger Thomson Dream; the 3,100-passenger Ventura and the 2,435-passenger Vision of the Seas.
Minister of Tourism, Sen. the Hon. Richard “Ricky” Skerritt recently described the upcoming season as exciting with an estimated 785,000 passengers expected from 183 ship days.
“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,” Skerritt said.
He also said his Ministry’s strategy has been to go out and do everything to bring business in the summer.
During this year’s summer of 2013 (May to September) Port Zante, the 3,700 passenger Carnival Valor is making 21 visits, while the 2,500-passenger Jewel of the Seas makes 13 visits.
According to the 2014 summer schedule (May to September), four new ships will be joining the Carnival Valor and the Jewel of the Seas.
They are the 2,974-passenger Carnival Freedom, the 3,690-passenger Carnival Breeze, the 3,325-passenger Disney Magic and the 524-passenger Nippon Mau.
The Carnival Freedom and the Carnival Breeze will make five calls each, Disney Magic, two and the Nippon Mau, one visit, while the Carnival Valor will make 22 calls and the Jewel of the Seas, 15 calls.
Cruise calls to St. Kitts in the 2011-2012 season brought more than 629,000 passengers to St. Kitts’ Port Zante cruise terminal, up from half a million the previous season.
Projections for the 2013-2014 season call for an increase to 650,000 passengers and to more than 700,000 in 2014-2015.
In addition to increasing cruise passenger arrivals, the geographic markets are expanding, as well, with vessels hailing from the U.S., Canada, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Annual cruise tourism expenditure also is up, increasing from $6.7 million in 2006 to $70.6 million in 2012, according to a study by U.S.-based research firm BREA. Average per-passenger spends doubled in the same period, to $108.90.