THE local tourism sector is positioning itself to take advantage of the mega-cruise ships of the world. It is doing so by extending Berth One at Point Seraphine that will allow cruise ships as large as the Anthem of the Seas to berth in Port Castries.
A brief explanation of the works going on at the berth was given by Nichalen Myers of the St. Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA) yesterday.
Without going into the technical details of the works at the duty-free area, Myers said the extension will allow for vessels as large as Anthem of the Seas to dock by either the end of this year or early next year.
Anthem of the Seas is 1,142 feet in length and has a capacity of 4,180 passengers (double occupancy) and 4,905 passengers (maximum occupancy).
It is the second ship in Royal Caribbean’s Quantum Class. The 4,180-passenger cruise ship features innovations like RipCord by iFly, a skydiving simulator; North Star, a jewel-shaped glass capsule that rises 300 feet above sea level, providing 360-degree views from high above the ship; and the SeaPlex, the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea, with attractions ranging from bumper cars, roller skating and video gaming to a circus school, complete with flying trapeze classes.
Anthem has 2,090 cabins, which include several cabin categories that debuted on sister, Quantum of the Seas. The ones that have garnered the most headlines are the 375 rooms with virtual balconies (floor-to-ceiling ultra-HD screens with real-time views of the ocean and destinations visited). The ship also features interconnected family staterooms, which prove more accommodating for large groups, and studio staterooms with balconies that spoil solo travelers.
However, vessels which usually dock at Berth One will continue to dock there.
Practical use of Berth One will be sometime in December this year.
Donalyn Vittet, Product Enhancement Officer at the St. Lucia Tourist Board, said the extension is all about increasing cruise arrivals, with a projected 200,000 cruise ship visitors expected here next year.
Vittet said the berth extension forms part of ongoing efforts to improve cruise tourism in the country. The Tourist Board, she said, is addressing challenges that have to do with terminals, outlets visited by cruise ship passengers, the anesthetics of the city, and other areas.