68,000 additional visitors
These will bring 68,000 additional passengers in the off-peak tourism season between May and December. The summer calls will help moderate the highs and lows of seasonal fluctuations on St. Maarten’s tourism-based economy.
On Freedom of the Seas’ eastern Caribbean itineraries, a sea day will be replaced by a call at St. Maarten, according to Joshua Carroll, VP port development, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
This incremental business ‘translates into a significant investment in economic development and tourism jobs,’ according to Roger Lawrence, senior manager, Port St. Maarten. ‘We look forward to working with Royal Caribbean as we continue to improve the port infrastructure to benefit all of our key tourism stakeholders to sustainably build on the numbers of visitors who appreciate our leisure travel offerings.’
Lawrence added that a cruise can introduce many first-time visitors to St. Maarten’s Dutch/French Caribbean culture, idyllic beaches and engaging tour options.
Progress since Hurricane Irma
‘Since [2017’s] Hurricane Irma, we have made tremendous progress with our tourism infrastructure and we welcome Royal Caribbean’s renewed focus and commitment to increase the number of visits to our port,’ Lawrence said.
Fresh from its $116m ‘Royal Amplified’ program, Freedom of the Seas on March 8 will begin weekly year-round southern Caribbean cruises from San Juan.