Major new St. Maarten attraction to open in November

Thrills for riders on the Flying Dutchman zip line and the Soualiga Sky Explorer chairlift Thrills for riders on the Flying Dutchman zip line and the Soualiga Sky Explorer chairlift

Rainforest Adventures announced a November opening for the St. Maarten Rockland Estate eco-park featuring what's touted as the world's steepest zip line and a chairlift adventure.

The Flying Dutchman zip line and the Soualiga Sky Explorer chairlift, as well as the Emilio Wilson Museum and Emilio’s Restaurant, are to debut next month.

Additional attractions, including the Sentry Hill Zip Line and the Schooner Ride, are scheduled to open in early 2018.

Carnival Corp. & plc president and CEO Arnold Donald mentioned the attraction during the company's recent earnings call and in Monday's media briefing on the Caribbean's recovery.

The eco-park's opening should give a boost to St. Maarten, which sustained heavy damage from Hurricane Irma. As earlier reported, Port St. Maarten officials expect to have two cruise berths ready by Nov. 1, and are hoping for the first ship to return within days of that.

Yesterday Royal Caribbean International expressed its intent to resume St. Maarten calls by the end of November.

Representatives of Rockland Estate, in partnership with the St. Maarten delegation, will be attending the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association Conference & Trade Show next week in Mérida, Mexico.

According to Port St. Maarten’s management, the eco-park will be a major new attraction and they are proud of the progress made to open the park. They stressed the importance of having stakeholders like Rainforest Adventures and others present at the FCCA event to promote the destination and emphasize that St. Maarten is ready to receive visitors.

'We are very proud and thankful to our engineering and construction teams. Their hard work and expertise certainly reduced the damage incurred as a consequence of the hurricane,' said Shaydar Edelmann, general manager of Rockland Estate. 'The people of St. Maarten have come together in strength to restore and rebuild, reestablish the tourism product and kick-start the recovery of our Friendly Island.'

Princess Juliana International Airport has opened to commercial flights and restaurants and attractions are reopening daily.

The Soualiga Sky Explorer is a four-passenger chairlift that transports riders to an upper deck that encircles the mountaintop, one of St. Maarten’s highest points at 1,115 feet. There riders will have spectacular 360-degree views of St. Maarten and neighboring islands.

The Flying Dutchman, called the world’s steepest zip line, will launch riders down Sentry Hill at 56 mph, dropping 1,050 feet over a distance of 2,630 feet.

Each adventure begins in the Emilio Wilson Museum, housed in a restored plantation house built in the 1700s. The museum depicts what life was like on a plantation and details the customs, traditions, lifestyle and stories of St. Maarten.

Emilio’s Restaurant will offer food and entertainment.

Posted 17 October 2017

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Anne Kalosh

US editor of Seatrade Cruise Review and Seatrade Cruise News

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