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St. Kitts expects a record 1m cruisers in 2014/15 season

Port Zante arrivals building
St. Kitts projects cruise passenger arrivals for the 2014/15 season to grow to more than one million for the first time in the island’s history. This represents a 31.5% increase over the 2013/14 season and a total growth over the past eight years of more than 500%.

'The fact that we will be welcoming this record number of cruise passengers to St. Kitts is a testament to the high quality of our tourism infrastructure and to the partnerships that our destination has forged with industry stakeholders,' said Sen. Ricky Skerritt, minister of tourism and international transport. He also cited a wealth of onshore activities based on nature, history and 'friendly people who help provide an authentic Caribbean experience for all of our visitors.'

This season’s growth is partly due to six calls by Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas in its inaugural season. Disney Cruise Line will also return for the first time since 2009, with Disney Magic scheduled to make four calls. Inaugural visits are planned by Oceania Cruises’ Insignia and Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Gem and Norwegian Pearl, which together will make 17 calls.

Royal Caribbean's Federico Gonzalez-Denton, director of government relations, congratulated the people of St. Kitts for reaching one million cruise visitors in a season.

'This memorable milestone would not have occurred without the friendly smiles and hard work of the Kittitians themselves, the unique and breathtaking beauty of the island, and the positive cruise initiatives and policies established by the government,' he said.

In addition to increasing passenger arrivals from traditional source markets like the US and UK, St. Kitts is now drawing cruisers from Germany, Italy, France and Spain.

Lines scheduled to make calls in the 2014/15 season include Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Holland America, Norwegian, Princess, P&O, Cunard, Oceania, Seabourn, AIDA, Silversea, Windstar, Thompson and TUI Cruises.

St. Kitts officials last week participated at Seatrade Med in Barcelona as part of the Caribbean Village exhibition. They included Jonathan Bass, ceo of the St. Christopher Air & Sea Ports Authority; Clayton Perkins, md of Delisle Walwyn & Co./Kantours, the Basseterre-based port agent and tour operator, and Errington Fyfield, manager of Kantours.