BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, JANUARY 12TH, 2017 (PRESS SEC) — Five cruise ships – three of which are mega-ships weighing more than 100,000 tons – are docked in Basseterre today, Thursday, January 12th, 2017.

Significantly, this is the first time in the history of St. Kitts and Nevis’ cruise industry that that many vessels of such magnitude have called on the country in one day.  The five cruise ships carry a total maximum capacity of 15,762 guests.

Minister of Tourism, International Trade, Industry and Commerce, the Honourable Lindsay Grant said yesterday, Wednesday, that, “This is indeed an unprecedented event in our cruise sector,” adding that, “It is a testament to the hard work my Ministry has been doing to establish St. Kitts as a top cruise destination in the Caribbean.”

Minister Grant also said yesterday that, “I urge stakeholders in the cruise sector to take full advantage of the calls tomorrow, but also not to take this impressive growth for granted.  Cruise sector growth for St. Kitts will only be sustained if we continue to work hard while maintaining productive cruise industry partnerships and giving each visitor the best possible on-island experience.”

Docked here are Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas (137,276 tons), which carries a maximum capacity of 3,807 guests; Princess Cruises’ Regal Princess (141,000 tons), which carries 3,560 guests; AIDA Cruises’ AIDAluna (69,203 tons), which carries 2,050 guests; Royal Caribbean’sFreedom of the Seas (154,407 tons), which carries 4,515 guests, and Thomson Cruises’TUI Discovery (69,130 tons), which carries 1,830 guests.

Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas surpassed Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 as the world’s largest cruise ship when it made its debut more than 10 years ago in 2006.  Today, that honour is held by Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas (226,963 tons), which carries a maximum capacity of 6,780 guests.

In his 2017 Budget Address on Wednesday, December 7th, 2016, Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris said that, “During the 2015/2016 season, the Federation welcomed a record 21 inaugural cruise calls, as well as two of the world’s largest cruise vessels on the same day, namely the [Royal Caribbean’s] Oasis of the Seas and the Allure of the Seas; a testament to the appeal of our tourism product and destination.  In order to realize our objective of becoming a marquee cruise port and to safeguard sustainability in the sub-sector, my Government remains committed to the construction of the second cruise pier at Port Zante.”

The Honourable Prime Minister said of his Team Unity administration that: “In considering the preparation and implementation of this multi-million-dollar project, we have given a commitment to using best practice in Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), which will help to ensure the delivery of a high-quality pier that is capable of accommodating the world’s largest cruise vessels.  We will continue to work to finalize all the outstanding preparations so that we can move to the implementation phase in 2017.”

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