And the List of New Ships Continues to Grow: Port Authority Welcomes Celebrity Beyond to Crown Bay
Thousands of tourists deboarded two cruise ships at the Austin “Babe” Monsanto Marine Terminal in Crown Bay on Wednesday, as visits to the port under the leadership of V.I. Port Authority Executive Director Carlton Dowe continues to see sustained growth.
But while VIPA welcomed two cruise ships yesterday — Celebrity Beyond and Symphony of the Seas – it was Celebrity Beyond that received the special welcome, as it was the ship’s maiden voyage to the port.
The ship, whose capacity is 3,937 with 1,416 crew members, brought 2,779 visitors to St. Thomas with an accompanying crew of 1,379, according to VIPA.
The impact was immediately felt in Crown Bay as visitors patronized vendors — from restaurants to gift shops and more — and by doing so boosting the local economy.
Celebrity Beyond Captain Dimitrios Kafetis was showered with welcoming gifts by VIPA, Dept. of Tourism and Gov’t House officials, among them Alani Henneman-Todman, assistant commissioner of marketing at D.O.T., Kevin Rodriquez, Bryan Administration deputy chief of staff, and Mr. Dowe. Private sector stakeholders were also present.
Mr. Dowe expressed appreciation for Celebrity Beyond’s presence in Crown Bay, but he also recalled that St. Croix had three cruise ships from Royal Caribbean last week.
The Port Authority’s relationship with Royal Caribbean, which has become stronger with each passing year, has been hailed by Mr. Dowe as boon to the USVI. VIPA and Royal Caribbean recently signed an agreement to increase its passengers to St. Croix from 40,000 to 140,000 beginning this month, an agreement that is already transforming the tourist scene at the Frederiksted Pier.
“The Royal Caribbean Group made a commitment to the Port Authority and to this day they have lived up and surpassed those commitments,” Mr. Dowe said Wednesday. He added, “When everybody else left St. Croix in particular, Royal Caribbean remained.”
See the territory’s cruise ship schedules here.
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