by Kevon Browne
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): “Cruise on the rebound with limitations,” says Minister of Tourism Lindsay Grant during a press conference on October 27, 2021.
Minister Grant made those remarks as he shared the cruise schedule for the winter season running from November 1 through April 2022.
For the last two months of 2021 (Nov-Dec), the federation is expected to accommodate 78 calls at Port Zante.
“In November, we have 18 ship days which translates to 27 calls in November. In addition, I would like to note some key dates in November. For the first time since March 13, we will receive three ships at Port Zante on November 16 and again on November 23. On November 4, 10, 17 and 19, we will have two ships calling on Port Zante. The Allure of the Seas, which is an Oasis-class, is scheduled to arrive on November 18… In December, we are scheduled to receive 51 calls,” shared Minister Grant.
The ships expected are: “Our destination is poised to officially begin our 2021-2022 cruise season on Monday, November 1, 2021. Our Cruise line partners who have scheduled calls include:
*Carnival Corporation: P&O, Aida, Holland America, and Cunard.
*Royal Caribbean Group – includes Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity, and Silver Sea
*Viking Cruise Lines
*And Star Clipper”
With the increase in calls to the island, the Ministry of Tourism, in collaboration with the COVID-19 Task Force, has increased the number of travel approved tours and attractions.
“As you would also recognise, we have opened up our capacity in terms of tours. Just about a month ago, we were at 1900, now we are at 3000 in terms of our capacity for tours.”
With the increase in the cruise schedule for the Federation, there is concern about the traffic coming off of the ship and possible bottlenecking.
Tyrone Richardson, President of the St. Kitts Taxi Association, raised the concern and received this answer.
“In terms of tours, they no longer ask for persons for pre-booked [shore excursion] tours, those are done, and they are lined up inside the cruise ship in their amphitheater or a specific seating area so when they are actually walking off, they are walking straight toward the area for loading [at] the tourism authority and onto the busses. That is why we are asking for the times from our independent tour operators… in the past; it didn’t matter when tours were loading because there was just free flow. But if we see a situation where there’s a potential bottleneck, then we’ll speak to respective tour operators to see if we can make an adjustment,” said CEO of the St Kitts Tourism Authority Raquel Brown.
The non-pharmaceutical means still apply for the cruise passengers disembarking, including mask-wearing and social distancing.
The limitation on capacity also remains as regulations with the cruise lines; the ships should come with 40 – 60 percent capacity, and Minister Grant asked that we manage expectations.
According to CEO Brown, approved craft vendors who typically operate out of the Amina Market and vendors from Black Rocks have increased to 14. Those vendors are now operating at the front of the Arrival Hall at Port Zante.