By Dana Niland
In another boost for Port St Maarten, MSC Cruises has made an early return to the destination.
The cruise line’s MSC Divina cruise ship made an early return to St. Maarten this week — even though MSC Cruises was not scheduled to return to the destination until March 28.
In a statement, Port St. Maarten said it accepted the vessel request as additional berths were available and the vessel docked alongside safely.
“One of the strengths that the destination has had is the ability to cater to impromptu calls due to issues and or concerns at competing Ports,” Port St. Maarten Management said in a statement. “Our strategic plan is geared towards having more berths available in the future as MSC Cruises in particular will be the fastest growing cruise line.”
In 2014 MSC launched an investment plan to support the second phase of growth and in April 2016, the cruise line ordered additional vessels for a total investment of nine billion Euros for up to 11-new next-generation ships which will come into service starting in 2017 to 2026 making the cruise line the third largest.
“St. Maarten is still a marquee destination and we must continue to showcase the efforts of being able to restore the country product and bring it to another and higher level than we were pre-Irma,” the Port said.
MSC Divina has a gross tonnage of 139,400 and a passenger capacity of 3,500 and a crew of 1,380.
MSC Cruises will be making 29 port calls for 2018 in St Maarten, bringing in approximately 115,000 cruise passengers.