Royal Caribbean Cruises will add 15 port stops in St. Maarten in 2020 aboard the Freedom of the Seas, according to a statement, bringing an additional 68,000 guests to the island during off-peak months.
Traditionally, the St. Maarten vacation destination experiences its peak in visitor arrivals between December and March.
Between May and December, there is a reduction in those visitor arrival numbers that impact the island’s tourism-based economy.
Additional Royal Caribbean guest arrivals during the May to December period help moderate the highs and lows of St. Maarten’s tourism season fluctuations.
“In order to grow our partnership, we are taking the proactive step of enhancing our Eastern Caribbean itineraries by replacing a day at sea and adding a coveted visit to St. Maarten,” said Joshua Carroll, Vice President of Port Development, Royal Caribbean Cruises.
““It’s part of our culture at Royal Caribbean to focus on continuous improvement and this extends to our relationships with destination partners. It makes perfect sense for us to embrace the win-win opportunities with the additional port calls by Freedom of the Seas that brings not only economic benefit to a great partner like Port St. Maarten, but also offer our guests an amazing travel destination,” he added.
“For an innovative ship like Freedom of the Seas to expand its calls here translates into a significant investment in economic development and tourism jobs,” said Senior Port St. Maarten Manager, Roger Lawrence. “We look forward to working with Royal Caribbean as we continue to improve the port infrastructure to benefit all of our key tourism stakeholders to sustainably build on the numbers of visitors who appreciate our leisure travel offerings.”
“With many of our first-time visitors, the cruise experience to St. Maarten is the window through which they are introduced to the wonders of our island with its dynamic Dutch/French Caribbean culture, its idyllic beaches and engaging tour options,” said Lawrence. “Since Hurricane Irma, we have made tremendous progress with our tourism infrastructure and we welcome Royal Caribbean’s renewed focus and commitment to increase the number of visits to our port. With the thousands of additional Royal Caribbean guests now projected to visit, the potential is there for them to become St. Maarten’s greatest vacation champions.”