Tuesday marks a very important milestone in Saint Lucia in respect of cruise tourism as it is the day Port Castries welcomes Celebrity Millennium, setting the tone for the gradual reintroduction of cruise tourism to the island.
That sector of Saint Lucia’s tourism product has been closed for months amid the global Covid-19 pandemic, raising queries as to when will it resume and how best will it be handled on its resumption.
Celebrity Millennium will call into port just about 7:30a.m. with an anticipated 400-passenger capacity.
According to tourism officials, the scheduled call into Saint Lucia bodes well for business linkages and signals the reinstatement of revenue for well over 1000 cruise-dependent income earners.
“Keeping the health and safety of the population is of paramount importance, there continues to be engagement with all stakeholders including simulation exercises to continuously evaluate the destination’s capacity to safely execute cruise tourism and guard the response during the various stages of reintroduction,” noted the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority.
The Authority states that efforts to ensure the safe re-establishment of cruise calls to port Castries were incessant, with regular meetings with the cruise lines, handling agencies, and the locally established Cruise Committee.
Adding to other high-level meetings, just this week, the Authority’s CEO Beverly Nicholson-Doty attended the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Return to Sail Summit in Miami, Florida, and came back focused on continuing the work to safely resume cruise calls to Saint Lucia. She convened with several cruise lines for finalizing the protocols that would guide the sector’s operations while on the island.
“It’s a great day for vendors, taxi drivers, workers of the duty-free stores at Pointe Seraphine, and the general economy. This is another step towards the successful reopening of our economy and returning to our normal lives,” said Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee
The Ministry of Tourism, Saint Lucia Tourism Authority, Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority, Invest Saint Lucia and all other relevant agencies will work in accord to welcome the avid cruisers who will be experiencing Saint Lucia and Her offerings.
Passengers are encouraged to be vaccinated prior to travel. In addition to pre-embarkation testing requirements and pre-disembarkation screening in country, with all cruises to Saint Lucia in ensuring coordination of the arrival process, passengers will disembark in batches of 25.
Consistent with the issuance of the white wristbands for stayover visitors, all fully vaccinated passengers will be issued with a wristband and allowed to enjoy expanded access to the island including shopping, dining, beaches and more.
Vaccinated adults accompanying unvaccinated minors, as well as all unvaccinated passengers who wish to disembark the vessel, will be accommodated within a bubble. These passengers will be transferred to designated certified sites and attractions only, and back to the cruise terminal for boarding to their next port of call.
Approximately 786,703 cruise visitors were welcomed in 2019, a 3.5% increase over 2018. Continued calls with Royal Caribbean Cruises to Port Castries are tentatively scheduled for July 13, and August 10, 2021. Other cruise lines will also confirm their itineraries in the near future.
In increasing access to Saint Lucia via maritime services with effect from July 1, 2021, the destination will also see the resumption of inter-island ferry services between Martinique and Saint Lucia.