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Major cruise strides for US Virgin Islands recovery

Some of the first ships returning to the USVI include, from top left clockwise, Adventure of the Seas, Norwegian Dawn, Viking Sea and Seabourn Odyssey Some of the first ships returning to the USVI include, from top left clockwise, Adventure of the Seas, Norwegian Dawn, Viking Sea and Seabourn Odyssey

One of cruising's most important destinations, the US Virgin Islands, has returned to the cruise charts following a monumental recovery effort.

Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas on Friday became the first ship to return to St. Thomas on a regular cruise call following the hurricanes, while Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Dawn was first back at St. Croix on Saturday.

In advance of Adventure of the Seas' call to St. Thomas and in partnership with the USVI government, Royal Caribbean undertook the complete restoration of Magens Bay, one of the most popular tourist attractions.

Power and water have been fully restored on St. Thomas and most downtown Charlotte Amalie shops, restaurants and bars, as well as tour operators, are fully operational following hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Meanwhile, on St. Croix, Virgin Islanders and relief workers have been restoring power, clearing roadways and beaches and preparing many key attractions to welcome visitors, Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty said. In addition, taxis, tour operators and government agencies have worked together to establish recommended routes for tours.

'Cruise ship passengers contribute important economic activity to the US Virgin Islands,' Nicholson-Doty said. She added: 'The combination of cruise traffic, the recovery and construction economy, and the current reopening of hotels to leisure guests on St. Croix are key components of our recovery.'

As earlier reported, 25 cruise calls are expected in St. Thomas during November. Meanwhile, in St. Croix, Norwegian Dawn has confirmed additional calls Nov. 18 and 25, while Viking Sea is to arrive Nov. 15 and 28, according to the Virgin Islands Port Authority's Marine Division. 

In December, both ships will return to St. Croix's Ann E. Abramson Pier, which will handle additional calls from Norwegian Gem, Seabourn Sojourn and Seabourn Odyssey.

Posted 11 November 2017

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Anne Kalosh

US editor of Seatrade Cruise Review and Seatrade Cruise News

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