Royal Caribbean Cruises and Carnival Corporation have signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of Saint Lucia on a major new joint venture.
The two cruise giants will work together to manage Saint Lucia’s existing cruise pier and terminal in Castries — and design, construct and operate a new cruise port on the island.
The latter will be a brand-new cruise port in Vieux Fort on the southern tip of Saint Lucia able to accommodate the cruise industry’s largest, newest ships.
In a statement, Saint Lucia Prime Minister Allen Chastanet called the move “historic.”
“Saint Lucia has had record breaking cruise arrivals over the past few years and we thank our partners Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean for their continued confidence in our amazing destination,” Chastanet. said“It is essential that we continue to diversify what we have to offer, grow our brand and ensure that different sectors in our island’s economy benefit from the growth in cruise tourism and that Saint Lucians can benefit from the opportunities which arise from the increased numbers; which means we have to improve our capacity.
The memorandum of understanding was signed during this week’s Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association conference in Puerto Rico.
“This is an exciting day for our guests who already love the beauty and deep culture of Saint Lucia and an important step in sustaining cruise tourism growth for the island,” said Giora Israel, senior vice president of global port and destination development for Carnival Corporation. “We look forward to working closely with our [joint venture] partners to give cruise passengers great experiences when visiting the island. With the new development project, Saint Lucia will be very well-positioned for jobs and significant economic impact for years to come.”
It’s a significant new investment for the southern corner of Saint Lucia, and would be extremely well positioned, particularly as a potential homeport for Southern and Eastern Caribbean-focused ships— thanks to its close proximity to Saint Lucia’s Hewanorra International Airport, which is currently undergoing a transformation project of its own.
“This signing is historic, as this project will have a major impact on the sustainability of the cruise sector and the reach of cruise tourism to the south of the island,” Chastanet said. “This will also mean employment at several phases of the project, the expansion of existing businesses and the formation of new enterprises. We look forward to this partnership as this marks a new day and a significant achievement for our government, for the people of the south of Saint Lucia and for our island as a whole.”
Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean Cruises brands currently account for around 75 percent of all cruise ships calls to Saint Lucia.
In a statement, the two companies said the joint venture would “optimize the experience for guests visiting Saint Lucia while developing additional cruise infrastructure to support the industry’s latest ships and promote the growth of cruise tourism on the island.”
The move is yet another new development in what is a currently booming Caribbean cruise industry.
Indeed, Royal Caribbean International CEO Michael Bayley recently predicted a 50 percent increase in cruise business over the next 10 years for the company.