Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): Minister of Tourism, the Honourable Lindsay Grant, welcomed the Celebrity Equinox back to the shores of the twin-island Federation and praised the Royal Caribbean Group for being a longstanding partner with St. Kitts and Nevis.
During the Plaque Exchange Ceremony on September 14, Minister Grant said, “This day has been long in coming and has been much anticipated and we have had much anxiety as we continue our phased approach to the rebuilding of the cruise sector.”
“As a destination, we are heartened by this first commercial call to Port Zante since March of 2020,” he said.
In speaking about the Royal Caribbean Group, Minister Grant said that “Over the years we have been able to welcome vessels from three of their main brands which include the Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silver Seas.”
“Prior to the pandemic in both the years of 2018 and 2019, you (The Royal Caribbean Group) were very instrumental in this destination when we welcomed over one million passengers in 2018 and again in 2019, and in fact, we were well on our way in 2020 to do a million passengers again,” Minister Grant said.
“With this visit today, we would have our first week with two cruise vessels visiting our shores since March of 2020 and Celebrity Equinox today, Tuesday 14th of September, and Sea Odyssey on our National Heroes Day on the 16th of September 2021.”
Minister Grant also spoke about the importance of the day saying, “This day marks the expansion of our product offerings as a cruise destination since our first call in July. We are now able to include Port Zante for the first time to date and our craft vendors from the Amina Craft Market and Black Rocks.”
“Secondly, we have been able now to include our independent taxi and tour bus operators and Palms Court in our travel approved fully vaccinated bubble experience,” he said.
“Finally, it is a day in a week when we welcome and we celebrate our 38th Anniversary of Independence and look forward to resuming what I consider to be our financial independence,” said the Minister of Tourism.