Basseterre, St. Kitts (November 6, 2019) – Off the heels two consecutive record-setting cruise seasons, Minister of Tourism the Hon. Lindsay F.P. Grant in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism and the St. Kitts Tourism Authority hosted the FCCA Operations Team on island for meetings with local cruise stakeholders on Monday, November 4 and with government officials on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 to discuss further development of the island’s cruise sector.
“It is my distinct pleasure to welcome the Florida Caribbean Cruiseline Association’s Operations Committee to St. Kitts,” said Minister Grant. “Our meetings ensure that we understand the needs of the cruise lines and their passengers, receive feedback on our service standards and guest experience and provide insight into cruise industry trends such as new ships and itineraries for upcoming seasons, all of which will help us to remain competitive as a premier cruise destination moving forward. We are grateful for FCCA’s contributions to the development of our cruise sector and will continue working closely together.”
The FCCA Operations team welcomed by Minister Grant included: FCCA President Michele Paige; FCCA Operations Team Chairman and VP Operations, MSC Cruises (USA) Inc., Albino Di Lorenzo; Director, Worldwide Operations, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., Jamie Castillo; Associate Vice-President of Government Relations for Latin America & Caribbean, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., Andre Pousada; and Director, Commercial Homeport Operations, Carnival Cruise Line, Carlos Estrada.
Following a tour of the new second pier at Port Zante, the FCCA Operations team in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism and St. Kitts Tourism Authority addressed local cruise industry stakeholders during a meeting held on Monday evening. They spoke about the overall success of the destination, the need for more unique signature tours to differentiate St. Kitts from other Caribbean islands that are either already capable of accommodating Oasis and XCEL class ships or in the process of building piers that are able to do so, the need to ensure guest satisfaction with local customer service providers, and the need for multilingual tours and signage to enhance the guest experience. The meeting was very well attended, with a large number of local cruise industry stakeholders turning out to learn more about the cruise lines and cruise sector development as well as how to best service cruise guests.
Led by Minister Grant, the St. Kitts team included: Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism Mrs. Carlene Henry-Morton; CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority Racquel Brown; and Product Development Manager of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority Melnecia Marshall. They further spoke with the FCCA Operations team about progress being made on the construction of the second cruise pier at Port Zante, transportation sector standards, public infrastructure development, customer service training for traditional and non-traditional service providers and product enhancement plans to maintain the destination’s strong appeal to the cruise market.
St. Kitts exceeded one million cruise passenger arrivals in the 2017-2018 cruise season for the first time in its history, then did so again for a second consecutive year in the 2018-2019 season. It is the only destination in the OECS ever to reach the million-passenger milestone. Having reached it, St. Kitts is now considered by the cruise lines to be in the same marquee port status category as much larger destinations in the region.