Royal Caribbean Group will increase cruise calls and enhance the port infrastructure in St. Thomas in the USVI
Royal Caribbean Group and the Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) agreement to help revitalise the US Virgin Islands’ cruise industry.
The new MOU extends Royal Caribbean Group’s existing 10-year agreement (first signed in June 2016) for preferential berthing rights at VIPA’s cruise facilities in Crown Bay, St. Thomas and Frederiksted, St. Croix for an “additional number” of years.
Royal Caribbean Group has also committed to collaborating with VIPA to expand the Austin “Babe” Monsanto Marine Facility in Crown Bay to add a third berth and enable it to accommodate Royal Caribbean International’s Icon- and Quantum-class ships. In addition, the organisations will work with the Government of the US Virgin Islands to develop and enhance the overall visitor experience in St. Croix.
“The US Virgin Islands is one of our best destination partners and the opportunity to continue innovating on ways to refine the guest experience helps guide our decision to expand our already strong relationship with the US Virgin Islands,” said Joshua Carroll, vice president of destination development at Royal Caribbean Group.
The extended agreement will generate increased opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs in the US Virgin Islands’ tourism sector, boosting the local economy.
“Royal Caribbean is the leading cruise company in the industry, and it has committed to a major infusion of capital as well as guaranteed cruise visits to our islands,” said Carlton Dowe, executive vice president of VIPA. “In this currently strained economic climate, this substantial commitment indicates Royal Caribbean Group’s dedication to the people of this territory and our economy.
“This MOU extends what has been an exceedingly amicable, reliable, and beneficial arrangement for both parties. Our unified goal is to ensure that the US Virgin Islands is a premier destination in the Caribbean.”
The US Virgin Islands reopened its cruise ports for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic in July 2021. Since then, VIPA has welcomed 22,991 cruise visitors, many of whom arrived on ships from Royal Caribbean Group’s Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean International brands.
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