St. Kitts Gears Up for Cruise Comeback

St. Kitts

St. Kitts is reclaiming its position as a major cruise destination in the Eastern Caribbean following the pandemic.

Expecting to receive close to one million guests during the current season, the island offers up-to-date infrastructure and now plans to update its shore experiences.

While cruise ships visit St. Kitts on a year-round basis, the peak season is during the winter, said Melnecia Marshall, Deputy Chief Officer at the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, during an exclusive interview with Cruise Industry News.

“This year we are expecting 364 calls in total including new cruise lines,” she added.

Ships that are visiting the island for the first include the new Seabourn Venture, the Carnival Spirit, the Voyager of the Seas, Vantage Cruise Line’s Ocean Explorer and Saga’s Spirit of Discovery.

St. Kitts also received the world’s largest cruise ship in November, Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas.

“We are anticipating to get Icon of the Seas in January 2024 and we are looking forward to that,” she said.

More vessels visiting St. Kitts for the first time include Azamara Onward and Silversea’s Silver Dawn, in addition to Phoenix Reisen’s Albatros and P&O Cruises’ Arvia.

“It’s a pretty good set of vessels calling for the first time in this past season,” added Marshall.

St. Kitts is now looking forward to getting back to pre-pandemic levels of guest numbers, according to Ellison “Tommy” Thompson, CEO at St. Kitts Tourism Authority.

“We had over a million cruise passengers and that’s where we are benchmarking to get back to,” he said.

After seeing the return of the guest operations in July 2021, St. Kitts is anticipating getting close to this number in 2023.

According to Thompson, St. Kitts is also receiving positive feedback from cruise lines.

“One of the things that they say to us is that the destination has a lot of things for the cruise visitor to do, including tours, ecoadventures and typical beaches,” explained Marshall, noting that guests can go “from ocean related experiences to land experiences such as volcano hiking” and more.

“The diversity of tourism actually appeals to the cruise visitor and, as a result, we get some pretty good scores,” she added.

Passengers also noted that St. Kitts locals are very warm and friendly, Marshall noted.

The port of Basseterre currently has two piers with four berths. While dredging operations are taking place for one of the piers, three of the berths could can host Oasis-class ships.

“There’s going to be some work being done in terms of a second terminal area and some development in the waterfront,” she said.

St. Kitts is also looking forward to further diversify the experiences for the cruise visitors, she added, with tours that can really immerse the guest in the destination.

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