Cruise ships will soon be able to return to St Thomas (Image: US Virgin Islands Department of Tourism)
The US Virgin Islands has started work to repair the damage caused by two recent hurricanes so it can reopen to cruise ships in the next couple of months.
Volunteers and aid organisations have provided resident with food and shelter, as well as supplies to help with the clean-up of the islands so it can return to normality and once again welcome visitng cruise passengers and other tourists.
“Hopefully in the next number of days we will be making a formal announcement about the return of cruise traffic to the territory,” said Mapp, who will meet with the Department of Tourism and the port authority to develop a strategy for handling future cruise visits. “The turnstiles cannot be opened without adequate infrastructure in place...to ensure that visitors can have a good and safe time and a very positive experience.”
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., which completed two ‘mercy missions’ to help evacuate visitors and residents from the Caribbean territory, is one of the first lines to demonstrate its commitment to returning to the US Virgin Islands when possible.
Several of the company’s executives visited the island to meet with representatives from the public and private sector, including chairman Richard Fain; president and COO Adam Goldstein; president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International Michael Bayley; and Federico Gonzalez-Denton, associate vice president of government relations for Latin America, Caribbean and South Florida.
After arriving in St. Thomas, the Royal Caribbean contingent headed to Crown Bay to meet with U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Kenneth Mapp; Beverly Nicholson-Doty, the Commissioner of Tourism; Nelson Petty, the Commissioner of Public Works; David Mapp, executive director of the Virgin Islands Port Authority; Clifford Graham, CEO of West Indian Company; Ava Penn, district manager of Crown Bay; and Julio Rhymer, executive director of WAPA;.
Following the meeting, the Royal Caribbean officials were taken on a tour to witness the progress the territory has made on its repair projects, and also visited Charlotte Amalie and Magens Bay.