PORT ST. MAARTEN – Carnival Cruise Line resumed cruise calls to the island on Tuesday, October 12 when Carnival Freedom arrived in port with 1700 passengers as first destination of call on its itinerary. The last Carnival Cruise Line vessel on a regular cruise call was back in March 2020.
Minister of Tourism and Economic Affairs Hon. Roger Lawrence said on Tuesday, “Today is a day of celebration, after 19 months, we have received the first transit visit to St. Maarten from Carnival Cruise Lines.
“As we continue to move our country forward, it’s milestones like this that we need to acknowledge and celebrate. It is a pleasure to welcome the fun ships back to our shores. #choosefun.”
Port St. Maarten Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Alexander Gumbs said on Tuesday: “We have great cooperation with Carnival Corporation, and we are very pleased to welcome them back to the destination. They have and continue to be a great partner and the island can expect to see other Carnival brands calling at the destination in the coming weeks.
“We continue to work diligently with the cruise industry in their staggered approach to the resumption of cruising. Port St. Maarten stands strategically located, a world class cruise terminal and one of the region’s most dynamic ports that serves as a gateway to cruising.
“The port and the destination are at the cusp of a significant rebound as major cruise lines work towards the return of full fleets to cruising. We are anticipating a steady rebound of business.
“Through the fourth quarter of 2021 up to the end of December, we are expecting approximately 125 cruise ship calls including the resumption of MSC Cruises and others to the destination from a transit perspective.
“As a port, we are in a transition phase to becoming a key cruise destination again as the industry continues to bring more vessels online as more travelers book a cruise.”
Port St. Maarten Management and team members met Carnival Freedom Captain and other representatives at the gangway where they received a warm St. Maarten welcome. Tokens of appreciation were exchanged on behalf of the port and the destination.
Captain of Carnival Freedom Roberti Costi: I have been many times before to the island of St. Maarten in the 1980s. We are extremely happy to be back. This is a great destination.
Crew members were not allowed to disembark during the vessels port call which are in line with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance and the cruise lines own protocols.
Cruise sector forecasting is currently indicating a strong rebound and the port is looking to local stakeholders such as the taxis, retailers, and tour operators to continue to maintain high service level standards along with local COVID-19 public health and safety protocols.
Carnival Corporation has 24 ships that operate 2- to 17-day voyages, departing from every coast in the U.S. as well as other homeports
Carnival Freedom was launched in 2006 and made its maiden voyage in March 2007. The vessel is part of the Conquest-class and has a gross tonnage of 110,000. It is 952 feet in length and has a passenger capacity of 2,980 and a crew complement of 1,150.