St. Maarten and Royal Caribbean Meet, Discuss Homeporting

The management of Port St. Maarten has met with Royal Caribbean Group executives for strategic discussions concerning further strengthening their partnership.

The two groups, among other things, talked about the future homeporting of the Celebrity Millennium in St. Maarten, which starts this June.

 “We looked at how we can further increase and enhance homeporting opportunities and other potential business based on the ports Ernest & Young High Level Strategic Plan,” the port’s management said on Apr. 8, according to the port’s social media page.

“The Royal Caribbean Group executives were also introduced to the Chief Operations Officer of the Princess Juliana International Airport – St. Maarten with respect to the homeporting of the Celebrity Millennium and what the logistics would entail for such an operation. All three parties have to be in sync, and close collaboration is needed in order to make a success out of this opportunity,” it added.

Port St. Maarten said that it is committed to working closely with partners in further enhancing the infrastructure, visitor experiences and building upon a solid foundation that has existed with the cruise industry.

“Additional discussions will be taking place in the coming weeks with respect to further extending current partnerships,” the port added.

The Royal Caribbean executives were given a site tour of the facility, which will play a primary role in processing cruise guests prior to boarding the Celebrity Millennium and upon their return.

The preparations for the homeporting of the Celebrity Millennium, which will set sail from the Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise & Cargo Facility on June 5, 2021, are continuing, the port said.

The 2.038-guest Celebrity Millennium will be offering seven-night itineraries departing through August 2021. According to a recent press release from Royal Caribbean Group, the ship will sail with vaccinated crew, and will be available to vaccinated adult guests and children under the age of 18 with a negative PCR test result within 72 hours of embarkation.

The Celebrity Millennium is expected to sail with approximately 50 percent capacity in the initial stage.

The management of Port St. Maarten said this would be the largest homeporting vessel to date to carry out operations at the country’s main seaport.

“This is the first time that we will be carrying out homeporting operations during the hurricane season and, therefore, will be taking additional precautionary measures to guarantee a seamless operation during the period the vessel is homeporting out of St. Maarten,” the port’s management said.

“The past homeporting experience since 2013 – that the port has garnered over the years from this niche market – is based on the synergy of all staff, along with management, which was one of the contributing factors for the Royal Caribbean Group to select St. Maarten,” it added.

According to the port, the build back of the current homeporting facility will take approximately two weeks. The Port St. Maarten team is working at “full speed ahead on the buildup in close collaboration with the Group in order to assure a smooth and efficient resumption of the cruise business to St. Maarten,” the port said

The port believes that homeporting will generate more airlifts via the Princess Juliana International Airport, bring additional business for local service providers where it concerns vessel provisioning and fuel supply, and create the potential for pre- and post-cruise extension visits at hotels. In addition, it will increase business activity for restaurants, tour operators, taxis, car rental companies and many other varied small and medium-sized business operations and entrepreneurs.

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