(CMC) — St Kitts and Nevis has reached a milestone as the federation welcomed its millionth cruise ship passenger on Monday.
St Kitts Tourism Authority and Ministry of Tourism said this now gives the island marquee port status for the first time in its history.
“I am deeply gratified to welcome over one million cruise passengers to our shores as of today,” said Tourism Minister Lindsay Grant.
“It is particularly significant that this historic occasion is taking place now, as we have over two months left in the 2017-2018 cruise season to increase arrivals even further. Reaching this milestone at this point in time is truly a testament to the strength of our relationships with the cruise lines and to the continuing appeal of our tourism product.”
CEO of the St Kitts Tourism Authority Racquel Brown added, “In the highly competitive Caribbean cruise marketplace, exceeding the million-passenger mark for the first time is a highly significant achievement that is a direct result of our successful marketing strategy. Having reached this benchmark, St Kitts is now considered by the cruise lines to be in the same elite port status category as much larger destinations in the region. Cruise passengers clearly enjoy our diverse range of activities and friendly, welcoming people, and we are working hard to ensure that we keep the ships and their guests returning to our shores.”
The country reached the one-millionth cruise passenger mark Tuesday morning with the arrival of guests from Royal Caribbean International’s Freedom of the Seas.
The ship, which has a capacity of 3,782 guests at double occupancy, docked at the island’s Port Zante cruise pier.
Tourism Minister Lindsay Grant led the welcome delegation and selected the millionth passenger upon disembarkation, who was treated to a complimentary island tour.
The occasion was further commemorated with special T-shirts given to arriving passengers and everyone being treated to an experience of the island’s culture, with live performances by a steel pan band, masquerades and more, in a grand celebration befitting the importance of the milestone.
“We are very pleased to be the cruise line that brought the millionth passenger to St Kitts,” said Federico Gonzalez, associate vice-president, government relations, Latin America & Caribbean, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
“The island is a long-time, valued industry partner that offers our guests the opportunity to explore lush natural beauty, rich heritage, a wide range of attractions. In addition, our partnership with the tourism team and their ongoing work to continually improve the infrastructure, services and amenities in St Kitts showcases why it is one of our destinations of choice for our Caribbean itineraries.
So far this season, the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd cruise lines — Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises — have made a total of 102 port calls to St Kitts, bringing over 350,000 cruise visitors to the island…Today we are at 486 calls as of today. This increase over 2016 to 2017 is 35 per cent.”