Port St. Maarten
PHILIPSBURG--The high season for cruise tourism is coming to an end and has seen 282 cruise ship calls in the first four months of this year. Port St. Maarten catered to 350,507 cruise guests since the start of the year.
“Our performance has been positive,” Port St. Maarten Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Alexander Gumbs said on Thursday. “Lately, occupancy onboard cruise ships has been slowly increasing.”
In the first quarter of this year, cruise ship occupancy levels were hovering around 45 per cent, but as more people decide to take a cruise, St. Maarten has been experiencing an average of more than 75 per cent lately. “Some vessels are already nearing 100 per cent occupancy,” Gumbs said.
As the slow season is approaching, Port St. Maarten remains confident for the coming months although the cruise industry continues to face multiple challenges.
“As we enter this period, multiple cruise ships are being scrapped or sold, thereby limiting the tonnage in the Caribbean Basin,” Gumbs said. “The cruise industry is also confronted with high energy costs attributed to a combination of global economic factors, supply chain issues and the war between Russia and Ukraine.”
He said Port St. Maarten continues to remain focused and is planning in a strategic manner along with the cruise industry and other stakeholders to overcome the challenges with which all have been confronted for the past two years.
According to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), all cruise lines that are CLIA members should have their ships back in operation by August 2022.
“This is also good for St. Maarten, as it can translate into more cruise ship calls to the island in the coming months leading into the 2022-2023 high season,” Gumbs said.
The island received 92,491 guests and 88 cruise ship calls in January; 82,233 and 79 calls in February; 116,773 and 72 calls in March; and 59,010 and 43 calls in April. The destination received 243,450 cruise guests and 383 cruise ship calls in 2021.
CLIA, the leading organisation that represents the global cruise community, said in its Cruise Industry 2022 Outlook Report that CLIA ocean-going cruise lines have welcomed more than six million guests onboard since resuming operations in July 2020.
Cruise tourists and the money they spend create jobs and opportunities for local communities around the world, CLIA stated. “Every 24 cruisers create one full-time-equivalent job. Cruisers spend an average of US $750 per passenger in port cities over the course of a typical seven-day cruise. Six in 10 people who have taken a cruise say that they have returned to a destination that they first visited via cruise ship.”
The cruise industry’s leading public health protocols have facilitated the resumption of cruise tourism around the world, which has put people back to work and reinvigorated local and national cruise tourism economies.
CLIA says more than 75 per cent of oceangoing member cruise ships have returned to service, taking guests to destinations around the world. Nearly 100 per cent of cruise ships are projected to be in operation by August 2022.
CLIA oceangoing member cruise lines are projected to debut 16 new cruise ships in 2022, including five vessels powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and nine expedition ships.