St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The world's largest cruise ship Harmony of the Seas is now in Basseterre, docked at Port Zante.
Tourism Minister Lindsay Grant was on hand Wednesday morning (May 3) to welcome the arrival of the almost 362m ship that host almost 10,000 people.
“I feel a sense of pride for the people of St Kitts and Nevis because as you would recognize this facility was built over 20 years ago and still today can take the largest ship in the world, which is here today, Harmony of the Seas, and it shows the foresight of the people who led the government in the 1980’s and it shows you also the foresight of the government moving forward because as you would recognize we are just about to start a new facility which we hope in the next twenty years will still then be able to take the largest ship in the world. This ship takes on board 6700 passengers, a crew of almost 2000 so it’s almost 10,000 tourists on this ship and today I am hoping all the taxi men, the operators, the vendors the retailers would have a most successful day. So for me the culmination of today’s visit is not that we’re bringing the largest ship in the world in St Kitts and Nevis but that at the end of the day those who are the stakeholders of the industry would thrive today.”
Mr. Grant speaking to WINN at Port Zante Wednesday morning said the federation was on course for another record breaking year in cruise arrivals.
“We’re expecting our millionth passenger this cruise season but the numbers are tight, you know, we are there thereabout but if we have a few cancellations for weather or whatever it may be we may not reach it, but that’s not to say that we are falling short we are progressing slowly. Last year we had twenty something new calls to St Kitts a record in any year last year. This year we had seventeen new calls so we are keeping steady and on course. I must also say that last year for the first time we had a new cruise line Viking, we are expecting a new one next year, can’t say the name as yet but you will hear more details coming so this industry which is the backbone of economic activity in St Kitts and Nevis, we have to keep the ship steady. That’s why we are constantly refreshing the industry, constantly training our people, going into the schools now, we have a programme just to make sure that persons are aware that this industry is the backbone of St Kitts and Nevis and we must make sure we preserve it and we must make sure we sustain it for the future generations that are to come.”
Harmony of the Seas which is divided into seven neighbourhoods is expected to dock in St Kitts until 5 pm before departing for Fort Lauderdale.