Published On: Sat, Dec 2nd, 2017

Port St. Maarten ready for first commercial cruise ship call on December 4th. Positive cruise experience can influence future calls

Viking SeaPHILIPSBURG - Port St. Maarten is ready for the return of the first commercial cruise ship call by Viking Cruises on Monday, December 4 with the cruise ship Viking Sea.

Port St. Maarten Management calls on all stakeholders, businesses and the public to use this weekend to finalize all preparations for clean-up and beautification as the first cruise ships return start on Monday, December 4.

Port St. Maarten has been laying the ground work leading up to the first commercial cruise ship call by sensitizing the community via broadcast media interviews over the past few weeks and these will continue up to the Christmas holidays; organizing a stakeholders meeting to sensitize and how to manage expectations when the first cruise ship passengers land; preparing the grounds at the port while business owners get their businesses ready at the Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise & Cargo Facilities shopping area; are just some of the work and activities on island that have been taking place.

Many other approaches have been taken abroad which includes attending the 24th FCCA Cruise Conference and Trade Show; one-on-one meetings with cruise lines in Miami/Orlando and on the island; and keeping the cruise lines and stakeholders informed and updated on a weekly basis regarding destination recovery efforts.

The November sessions with stakeholders regarding the cruise passenger experience post-Irma was provided by former cruise line executive Mico Cascais of Carnival Cruise Line. He provided information and tips to prepare cruise tourism stakeholders on the alignment of the cruise guest expectations with the current story and the experience they need to deliver when the first guests arrive, as well as the significance of the first cruise ship call which will shape future calls to the destination.

The recent assessment tour of the country in preparation for the first ships allowed key stakeholders to evaluate and assess the current state of affairs along the identified tourism corridor and take additional measures where the clean-up of the destination is concerned in preparation for cruise ship destination calls.

Part of the assessment action list of things to do before the first cruise call included: cleaning of beaches with a refined finish; refined finish of temporary garbage depots in Cole Bay and at Kim Sha Beach area; removal of boats/containers on Great Bay Beach; beach promenade street lights to be repaired; clean-up of popular beaches; placement of temporary restrooms at popular beaches.

Port St. Maarten continues on its mission to provide quality integrated services to customers through continuous development and innovation in all areas of business while maintaining the leadership role in the economic development of Sint Maarten where sustainability is the cornerstone for 21st century port development and progress.

The Viking Sea was built in 2016 and carries 930 guests.

Viking Cruises, is considered the leader in river and small ship ocean cruising, offers destination-focused itineraries designed for experienced travelers who have an interest in geography, culture and history.

Viking currently operates a fleet of 61 vessels, offering scenic cruising along the rivers and oceans of the Americas, Europe, Russia, Egypt, China, and Southeast Asia. By 2019 the company will operate six 930-passenger ocean cruise ships and will sail itineraries in Scandinavia and the Baltic, the Western and Eastern Mediterranean, Asia, Australia, North America and the Caribbean.

Photo: Viking Sea

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