St Kitts and Nevis has kick-started its 2021-2022 cruise season with the return of the first large cruise ship to Port Zante.
Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Equinox visited the island on Sept. 14, the first major ship to call on the destination since the onset of the pandemic.
“This day has been anxiously anticipated, and a long time in coming, as we continued our phased approach to rebuilding the cruise sector. The Royal Caribbean Group is a valued partner and with calls from their three main brands, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea, were instrumental in the destination welcoming over 1 million passengers for two consecutive years, cementing our position in the marketplace as a marquee port,” said St Kitts and Nevis Tourism Minister Lindsay FP Grant.
A total of 1,147 passengers were on the cruise ship; passengers who disembarked took part in what the federation calls “bubble tours” at select tourist attractions across the island.
All passengers on the ship were fully vaccinated, with the exception of one person under 12.
St Kitts and Nevis has seen one of the highest local vaccination rates in the Caribbean, with 75.1 percent of the target population receiving one dose and 66.3 percent fully vaccinated.
The “Travel Approved” sites include Brimstone Hill Fortress and National Park; Carambola Beach Club; Caribelle Batik; Fairview Great House; Palms Court Gardens; Port Zante and the ever-popular St Kitts Scenic Railway.
“This is exciting – we have been waiting 17 months for this day! Seventeen months during which we experienced the negative impacts of COVID-19 and observed the collapse of economies globally,” said Racquel Brown, CEO of the St Kitts Tourism Authority. “Tourism industries around the world suffered significant losses and the face of travel changed. However, we have made significant strides; this industry is resilient and has the power to sustain livelihoods. Today, on this momentous occasion, we continue our progressive journey to rebuild tourism safely in a manner that allows us to continue our tradition as a marquee port and reap economic benefits for all.”