Multiple cruise ships at berth, Port St. Maarten. (Photo Mark Williams)
PHILIPSBURG--Today, Wednesday, marks the first six-ship day for the 2021-2022 cruise season, a scene that is very much welcomed by the country’s business community.
The two cruise piers that allow for six cruise ships to berth at one time at Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise and Cargo Facility will see more than 7,500 passengers and crew disembark to explore the “Friendly Island.”
“It’s with great esteem that we welcome our guests and crew with a warm St. Maarten welcome,” Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Roger Lawrence said. “This is a great indication of the direction we are heading. To return and maintain our status as a leading destination we must continue to collaborate with our partners and offer service excellence.”
This is once again a milestone for the destination, said Port St. Maarten Group Chief Executive Officer Alexander Gumbs. “The #1 destination in the North-eastern Caribbean will welcome for the first time in more than 18 months six cruise ships in one day. This signifies our resilience and hard work by our staff and stakeholders throughout the year in preparing for the return of cruising.”
Gumbs added that the Port team will also be working two cargo vessels on Wednesday. “We will capture the significant and well-timed movements via timelapse to be shared with the wider community.”
It is important to highlight the meticulous work Port St. Maarten staff do and the extent of the full scope of the operations, the CEO of the Port said. “Our team has also been in contact with local stakeholders in terms of being prepared for this influx of passengers that may seem new to all once again. It is also noticeable that the vessels occupancy percentage is also increasing as the season began around 30 per cent and now, we are seeing vessels operating above 50 per cent occupancy.”
The ships to arrive in port are Sky Princess from Princess Cruises, AIDAluna, and AIDAdiva ships of AIDA Cruises, Marella Discovery of Marella Cruises, and Explorer of the Seas and Jewel of the Seas.