Virgin Islands Receives Green Light for Cruise Port Expansion

VIPA and RCG

The Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) has received approval to move forward with the expansion of its cruise ports on St. Croix and St. Thomas.

The decision was announced during the Board of Governors meeting on Wednesday, October 18. Royal Caribbean Group (RCG) and VIPA are working together to enable larger ships to visit Frederiksted in St. Croix.

The focus of VIPA, RCG, and Cruise Terminals International (CTI) is primarily on Crown Bay cruise port and strengthening the destination’s position as a premier cruise ship destination.

 The project includes the revitalization of the Subbase and Crown Bay area on St. Thomas, including the modernization of the Crown Bay Center to improve guest experience, and the potential expansion of the Austin “Babe” Monsanto Marine Terminal.

In September, VIPA, RCG, and CTI signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the intent to redevelop Crown Bay and build incremental berthing capacity. Additionally, the MOU includes a commitment by Royal Caribbean Group to expand pier infrastructure at St. Croix.

VIPA Executive Director Carlton Dowe said: “Our partnership with Cruise Terminals International and Royal Caribbean Group will be a beneficial union for all involved – and particularly for the people of the U.S. Virgin Islands. We are excited to advance to the next phase of this project which will include new developments at our cruise ports and land-side attractions on St. Croix and St. Thomas.  I have frequently stated that the Caribbean and the rest of the world are not waiting for the USVI to advance. This public/private partnership guarantees that the USVI will maintain its esteemed position as the premier destination in the Caribbean.”

Josh Carroll, vice president of destination development and deployment of Royal Caribbean Group, added: “Today’s approval is the next step in advancing this transformative partnership which reaffirms and elevates our commitment to the U.S. Virgin Islands. The enhancements at Crown Bay will create a premier cruise destination that provides an elevated guest experience while also creating responsible tourism opportunities in the territory.”

Khaled Naja, chief executive officer of Cruise Terminals International, said: “Cruise Terminals International is delighted to be partnering with the Virgin Islands Port Authority and Royal Caribbean Group on our first development project in the Americas. The Crown Bay project aligns with our mission to deliver world-class cruise infrastructure to premiere destinations around the world and we look forward to collaborating with the project stakeholders.”

Photo: Officials from Royal Caribbean Group, Cruise Terminals International, and the Virgin Islands Port Authority have partnered to develop the USVI’s cruise ports and secure the territory’s position as a premier destination in the Caribbean.

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