Virgin Islands Port Authority Receives Green Light for Cruise Port Expansion
The Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) received approval during the Board of Governors meeting today to progress on the expansion of its cruise ports on St. Croix and St. Thomas.
In St. Croix, Royal Caribbean Group (RCG) and VIPA are collaborating to allow larger ships to visit Frederiksted and continue to bring unique guest experiences to life.
While on St. Thomas, VIPA, RCG, and Cruise Terminals International (CTI) are focused on Crown Bay cruise port and solidifying the USVI’s position as a premier cruise ship destination. CTI is a strategic partnership between RCG and funds affiliated with iCON Infrastructure, an investment fund manager, that develops and operates cruise port infrastructure worldwide.”
The development project includes a significant revitalization of the Subbase and Crown Bay area on St. Thomas, including the modernization of the Crown Bay Center to enhance guest experience, and the potential expansion of the Austin “Babe” Monsanto Marine Terminal.
VIPA Executive Director Carlton Dowe said that today’s board approval is a step in the right direction for the territory’s cruise industry. “Our partnership with Cruise Terminals International and Royal Caribbean Group will be a beneficial union for all involved – and particularly for the people of the U.S. Virgin Islands. We are excited to advance to the next phase of this project which will include new developments at our cruise ports and land-side attractions on St. Croix and St. Thomas. I have frequently stated that the Caribbean and the rest of the world are not waiting for the USVI to advance. This public/private partnership guarantees that the USVI will maintain its esteemed position as the premier destination in the Caribbean.”
USVI Governor Albert Bryan Jr. extended his support of the planned cruise port developments. "I want to express our heartfelt gratitude to the Virgin Islands Port Authority, Royal Caribbean Group, and Cruise Terminals International for their unwavering commitment to our islands. This partnership to enhance the infrastructure at Subbase and Crown Bay marks a momentous stride in our administration’s mission to rejuvenate our towns and establish the U.S. Virgin Islands as the ultimate tourism haven in the Caribbean."
“Cruise Terminals International is delighted to be partnering with the Virgin Islands Port Authority and Royal Caribbean Group on our first development project in the Americas,” said Khaled Naja, chief executive officer of Cruise Terminals International. “The Crown Bay project aligns with our mission to deliver world-class cruise infrastructure to premiere destinations around the world and we look forward to collaborating with the project stakeholders.”
“Today’s approval is the next step in advancing this transformative partnership which reaffirms and elevates our commitment to the U.S. Virgin Islands,” Josh Carroll, vice president of destination development and deployment of Royal Caribbean Group said, “The enhancements at Crown Bay will create a premier cruise destination that provides an elevated guest experience while also creating responsible tourism opportunities in the territory.”
VIPA, RCG, and CTI entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in September with the intent to redevelop Crown Bay and build incremental berthing capacity. Additionally, the MOU incorporates a commitment by Royal Caribbean Group to expand pier infrastructure at St. Croix, renewing its commitment to the cruise industry in the U.S. Virgin Islands.