USVI’s Cruise Industry Receives Renewed Commitment from Royal Caribbean Group
The Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) announced that officials from Royal Caribbean Group (RCG) visited the territory this week to tour the cruise facility in Frederiksted and to ratify two important documents with VIPA regarding port fees and the existing Memorandum of Understanding between VIPA and the cruise company. The visit also highlights Royal Caribbean Group’s plan to significantly increase scheduled cruise visitors to St. Croix – an increase of 180 percent in comparison to the 50,000 passengers that visited St. Croix in 2019.
Today, Royal Caribbean Group’s Director of Destination Development Jayne Halcomb and Regional Vice President of Government Relations for the Caribbean, Wendy McDonald toured the Frederiksted Pier with Governor Albert Bryan Jr., VIPA’s Board Chairman Willard John and Executive Director Carlton Dowe, and other stakeholders.
VIPA and RCG convened at 11 a.m. at the Ann E. Abramson Pier in Frederiksted, St. Croix to ratify two important agreements. The first document to be ratified is an addendum to the existing 10-year Piers Usage Agreement between VIPA and Royal Caribbean Group that was executed in June 2016. The revised agreement includes an increase in the rate of the per passenger port fees paid to berth at the cruise ports on St. Thomas and St. Croix.
VIPA and Royal Caribbean Group also signed an extension of the existing MOU between VIPA and the cruise company for the development of the Crown Bay District on St. Thomas. The MOU, which expires on September 30, 2022, will be extended to December 31, 2022. Negotiations have been ongoing over the past eight months and have intensified over the last 30 days. VIPA and Royal Caribbean Group intend to complete negotiations by the end of this year.
The U.S. Virgin Islands’ cruise industry is on a steady rebound after an 18-month pause in cruise activity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Cruise visits resumed in 2021 with Royal Caribbean Group’s Celebrity Edge as the first ship to call on St. Thomas on July 20, 2021, and Celebrity Equinox as the first ship to berth in St. Croix post-pandemic on August 8, 2021. The territory received 245,695 cruise visitors from July through December 2021 and has received 510,906 visitors from January through July 2022. These statistics prove that the USVI remains one of the most popular cruise destinations in the world.
Watch today’s ceremony (previously recorded) here: https://fb.watch/fYaqT_JKsL/
About Royal Caribbean Group
Royal Caribbean Group (NYSE: RCL) is one of the leading cruise companies in the world with a global fleet of 64 ships traveling to approximately 1,000 destinations around the world. Royal Caribbean Group is the owner and operator of three award-winning cruise brands: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Silversea Cruises and it is also a 50% owner of a joint venture that operates TUI Cruises and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. Together, the brands have an additional 10 ships on order as of June 30, 2022. Learn more at www.royalcaribbeangroup.com or www.rclinvestor.com.
About the Virgin Islands Port Authority
The Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) is an autonomous, self-sustaining government agency established in 1969 as the owner and manager of the United States Virgin Island’s airports and seaports. VIPA operates 14 seaport facilities, two airports, and surrounding properties. It is a critical arm of the USVI’s economy that facilitates travel and commerce and fosters tourism and economic growth via its port activities. VIPA’s mandate is to develop and maintain the ports of the USVI to accommodate the current and future demands of our users and to provide safe port facilities. Learn more about VIPA at www.viport.com, and follow us on Facebook or Twitter.