PORT ST. MAARTEN – A Port St. Maarten delegation from the Cruise Business Unit met recently with Royal Caribbean International (RCI) representatives in Miami, Florida, to provide an update on the progress of current recovery efforts in destination Sint Maarten.
During the discussions, Royal Caribbean reiterated its commitment to the destination and provided a schedule of the vessels that will call on Sint Maarten starting in mid-December, just in time for the peak family travel season.
Grandeur of the Seas will be the first cruise ship bringing guests to rediscover the marquee destination on December 17, followed by daily visits across six vessels, including two of the world’s largest cruise ships.
The ships and dates are as follows: Independence of the Seas, December 25 and 29; Jewel of the Seas, December 26; Freedom of the Seas, December 27; Adventure of the Seas, December 31; and Harmony of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas on January 2 and 3, 2018 respectively.
Celebrity Cruises has also announced that Celebrity Eclipse will be returning to the island on February 4, 2018. For more information on Royal Caribbean’s and Celebrity Cruises’ most current Caribbean itineraries, visit RoyalCaribbean.com and CelebrityCruises.com.
The first Royal Caribbean cruise ship to return to the island, Grandeur of the Seas, debuted in 1996 and underwent a comprehensive revitalization in May 2012. As part of the Vision Class, the vessel has 11 decks and carries 2,446 guests and 760 crew members.
The famed Oasis Class sister ships Harmony of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas -- sailing with nearly 6,000 new visitors each week -- will return to weekly calls on Sint Maarten in the New Year. Touted amongst the world’s best family vacations, Harmony and Oasis will introduce a new generation of adventure-seeking travelers to Sint Maarten.
"Royal Caribbean is a true partner of St. Maarten. We continue to prepare with anticipation for the return of Grandeur of the Seas on December 17. Port St. Maarten, our merchants, tour operators, vendors, taxi drivers, all of us are grateful to RCCL for its continued commitment to St. Maarten and confidence in our product.
“We will be ready, we will be creative and we will re-invent our product to meet the expectations of cruisers, while still providing the best experience under the Caribbean sun," stated Minister of Tourism and Economic Affairs Mellissa Arrindell-Doncher.
Port St. Maarten representatives, have had various discussions with cruise representatives over the past weeks with regard to the readiness of the island to receive cruise passengers and being able to provide the unique destination experience.
“Reassurance was given by Royal Caribbean about its vessels returning to the destination. The Oasis Class ships are again visiting Sint Maarten in January, marking the return to full operations as the Island further enhances its offerings to cruise passengers.
“The Island has a unique opportunity to show the cruise lines how committed we are in assuring great and memorable experiences to passengers as we recover from hurricane Irma damages. The cruise line expects all of us to step up to the plate and offer the true Sint Maarten experience, which we will.
“Port St. Maarten will continue communicating with all key stakeholders throughout this process to share the feedback based on the continuous calls, emails and face to face meetings with cruise executives. As a destination, we have a great relationship with the cruise industry and will listen to their feedback to assure we maintain our status as a marquee port of call.
“The future within the cruise industry is promising, however we must push to re-invent and upgrade our product offerings which will translate into cruise passengers increasing demand to “Rediscover” Sint Maarten. We commend the community and private sector for their efforts thus far, and we must continue the drive to keep pushing,” Port St. Maarten representatives stated over the weekend.
Royal Caribbean International sails 24 of the world’s most innovative cruise ships to the most popular destinations in Bermuda and the Caribbean, Europe, Canada and New England, Alaska, South America, Asia, and Australia and New Zealand. Royal Caribbean has been voted “Best Cruise Line Overall” for 14 consecutive years in the Travel Weekly Readers Choice Awards. Media can stay up-to-date by following @RoyalCaribPR on Twitter, and visiting RoyalCaribbeanPressCenter.com. For additional information or to make reservations, vacationers should call their travel agent; visit RoyalCaribbean.com; or call (800) ROYAL-CARIBBEAN.
Royal Caribbean International is part of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) is a global cruise vacation company that owns and operates three global brands: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises. We are a 50 percent joint venture owner of the German brand TUI Cruises, a 49 percent shareholder in the Spanish brand Pullmantur and a minority shareholder in the Chinese brand SkySea Cruises. Together, these brands operate a combined total of 48 ships with an additional twelve on order. They operate diverse itineraries around the world that call on approximately 535 destinations on all seven continents. Additional information can be found www.rclcorporate.com.
Celebrity Cruises' iconic "X" is the mark of modern luxury, with its cool, contemporary design and warm spaces; dining experiences where the design of the venues is as important as the cuisine; and the amazing service that only Celebrity can provide, all created to provide an unmatchable experience for vacationers’ precious time. Celebrity Cruises' 12 ships offer modern luxury vacations visiting all seven continents. Celebrity also presents incredible cruise tour experiences in Alaska and Canada. Celebrity is one of five cruise brands operated by global cruise vacation company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL). For more information, dial 1-800-437-3111, visit www.celebritycruises.com, or call your travel agent.