...a minimum of 78 calls for remainder of the year
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - DESPITE coming to the party late, tourism officials are expecting a bumper cruise itinerary for November and December as they officially kickstart the 2021/2022 season.
Notwithstanding concerns with competition from other destinations and the COVID-19 restrictions currently in place, the Ministry of Tourism, Lindsay Grant, reported that there would be 78 cruise calls to St. Kitts between November and December.
At least another 70 is expected for the period of January to March 2022.
Addressing reporters at a press briefing, Minister Grant made the announcement, explaining that there is a push for a harmonised approach to cruising within the Caribbean region.
According to Grant, there would be at least 18 cruise ships to grace the docks of Port Zante making 27 calls during November, with the 16th and 23rd being three ship days each, while the 10th, 17th and 19th would be two ship days each.
December will see the largest number of calls since last year when there will be 51 calls to St. Kitts. All of this comes as the Ministry of Tourism and the National COVID-19 Task Force work on a phased reopening of the cruise sector in the Federation.
Though the vessels are returning to the Federation, they are doing so at reduced capacity due to the pandemic.
According to Grant, they are sailing at 40-60 percent capacity.
With the increasing number of vessels and calls to Port Zante, the Ministry of Tourism has approved three sets of tours around the island, including the independent tour operators who would have received online bookings and those that were booked on the cruises.
The success by the Ministry to kickstart the season on November 1, will come with the challenge of keeping the large number of tourists safe. without them interacting with the locals. But the ministry is adamant that they can live up to that challenge and keep its record of not having any tourist or positive cases from cruise linked to the Federation.