CASTRIES, St Lucia — Port Castries will experience increased year-round cruise calls for the up-coming season 2012/13 thanks to the inclusion 17 additional calls and 36,000 passengers from Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines’ Jewel of the Seas. These newly added calls will increase projected off-season calls for 2012/13 by over 50% with an estimated economic impact of EC$6 million dollars.
In 2011 Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines announced changes to its Southern Caribbean itineraries resulting in a redeployment of its traditional year-round calls to Saint Lucia, the effects of which are currently being felt by local cruise stakeholders. The decision to return year round visits to Saint Lucia was made after a series of discussions between the Ministry of Tourism, Heritage and Creative Industries, Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA) and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.
“In a year of continued economic uncertainty, this is very welcome news,” said Sean Matthew, general manager and CEO for SLASPA. “When Royal Caribbean notified us in 2011 of their redeployment plans, we continued our discussions with the line and worked with the Ministry of Tourism, Heritage and Creative Industries to realize their return to Saint Lucia during the off-season. The fact that Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines will be calling on Port Castries with these additional calls is a reflection of the great relationship that exists between Saint Lucia and the line and of course their confidence in our product.”
The Jewel of the Seas has a gross registered tonnage (GRT) of 90,090, is 965 feet long and 106 feet wide with a draft of 28 feet, classifying it as a Radiance Class Vessel. With the total guest capacity of 2,502 and 859 crew, she will be one of two cruise vessels calling during the off season.
“Saint Lucia is a very strong market for cruise lines and this most recent development is testimony to this” said Dona Regis, director of marketing and product development. “However, what is most gratifying to all of us who have worked hard to build this sector is the fact that Port Castries and Saint Lucia is considered among the leading cruise ports in the Caribbean. Our demand as a port of call continues to grow and SLASPA remains committed to working with local public and private partners to sustainably develop this important sector.”
Jewel of the Seas will sail from San Juan, Puerto Rico, offering year-round options with three Southern Caribbean itineraries in the summer and autumn 2013 seasons, and two itineraries in the winter and spring 2013-14 seasons. Departing every Saturday, the seven-night, round-trip itineraries include calls at a range of ports throughout the Windward and Leeward Islands, including St Lucia, St Kitts, Antigua, and the USVI, as well as St Maarten, Barbados, Aruba and Curacao.