By Dana Niland
A little over a year after Hurricane Irma, St Maarten’s all-important cruise industry set a remarkable milestone for 2018, topping 1 million cruise passengers.
Carnival Cruise Lines newest Vista ship, Carnival Horizon, made its inaugural call to Port St Maarten on Thursday.
The Horizon carries close to 5,000 cruise passengers and 1,470 crew.
During the inaugural call, the destination also welcomed its one-millionth cruise passenger couple.
Carnival Horizon Captain Luigi de Angelis said he was astonished at how quickly the destination has recovered.
Carnival was glad to have played a role in getting the island back on track to recover as quick as possible; and that St. Maarten was a preferred destination among Carnival cruise passengers, he said.
The one-millionth cruise passenger couple, Cheryl and Tim from Miami, Florida, were adorned with tokens of appreciation and gift certificates from several industry players.
“We are a resilient nation whose strength allowed us to bounce back as a destination in order to offer remarkable experiences for our guests despite the challenges as a people,” St Maarten Tourism Minister Stuart Johnson said. “We are very appreciative of our guests and I would like to thank Cheryl and Tim for their steadfast commitment to the island on behalf of the Government of St Maarten and the tourist offices of the Dutch and French sides.”