St. Maarten is a popular port of call on Caribbean itineraries (Image: St. Maarten Tourist Bureau)
More than 1.5 million cruise passengers passed through Port St. Maarten during 489 ship calls in 2018, marking a 29% year-over-year increase in visitor arrivals.
Last year, the Caribbean island welcomed 30.3% more cruise passengers in the quiet season between May and July. Numbers in the second half of the year surpassed those recorded before Hurricane Irma, which closed the port in autumn 2017. A total of 646,431 passengers called between September and December, a 17.9% increase in arrivals from the same time period in 2016, a full year before Hurricane Irma.
“St. Maarten’s cruise port has always been one of the best in the Caribbean,” said May-Ling Chun, director of Tourism St. Maarten. “These arrival numbers don’t only reflect that fact, but also highlight how quickly the island has bounced back.”
The port, St. Maarten Tourist Bureau and the government expect numbers to continue rising.
“St. Maarten as a tourism product is set to come back even stronger and better than ever,” said Stuart Johnson, St. Maarten’s Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication. “We look forward to continuing to welcome cruise passengers back to our shores with classic St. Maarten warmth and hospitality throughout 2019.”
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