The Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) welcomed Royal Caribbean International’s the Icon of the Seas to the Austin “Babe” Monsanto Marine Terminal in St. Thomas for the first time, according to a press release.
The world’s largest ship arrived in St. Thomas on Wednesday, Jan. 31, from Basseterre, St. Kitts. Government officials, including the Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Honorable Albert Bryan Jr., as well as Port Authority and private sector officials, gathered to welcome the ship’s inaugural arrival and greet its passengers.
The day also commemorated the official signing of three agreements between VIPA, Royal Caribbean Group and Cruise Terminals International (CTI) that will enable the transformation of the territory’s cruise industry.
“It’s a bright day for the Virgin Islands,” said Carlton Dowe, VIPA executive director. “We are proud to welcome the newest and most innovative ships in the cruise industry to St. Thomas, while simultaneously securing the Virgin Islands’ future as a sought-after cruise destination through improvements that continue to bring the latest generation of ships to our shores.”
The first agreement is an extension of the existing Memorandum of Understanding between VIPA, CTI and RCG reaffirming their commitment to develop the Crown Bay District, including the Austin Babe Monsanto Marine Facility and Crown Bay Center in St. Thomas.
The second is an addendum to the existing 10-year Piers Usage Agreement between VIPA and Royal Caribbean Group to advance the Crown Bay District Upland Development Project in St. Thomas.
The final agreement to be signed, the Pre-Development Agreement (PDA) between VIPA and CTI, stipulates key terms relating to predevelopment work required for the development of the Crown Bay District in St. Thomas.
“We will continue to welcome the Icon of the Seas, her guests, and crew to St. Thomas as they experience the beauty and hospitality of the Virgin Islands,” said Dowe.”