St Kitts is expected to pull out all the stops to ensure a festive welcome for the inaugural call of the world's largest cruise ship " the Allure of the Seas.
The Royal Caribbean International's newest and largest Oasis-class cruise ship, with 16 decks, and 2,700 staterooms is schedule to berth at Port Zante on Friday, 30 December 2011 at 8 a.m.
It carries 5,400 guests and 3,000 crew members. Most of whom are expected to disembark and go on island-wide sight-seeing tours via the St Kitts Scenic Railway and taxis, snorkeling, hiking, sea and sun bathing, bicycling, gambling, sailing and shopping.
St Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas and Minister of Tourism and International transport, Sen. Richard "Ricky"ÔøΩ Skerritt are expected to join local officials and industry leaders for a cocktail reception during a plaque and keys exchange ceremony on board followed by lunch.
Industry officials are of the view that the Allure's inaugural visit is a strong indicator of the continuing appeal of St Kitts as a vibrant, authentic Caribbean cruise destination and testament to the versatility of the Port Zante cruise pier for accommodating all ship sizes.
Organisers plan to capitalise on the annual national carnival celebrations by introducing Allure passengers to "ÔøΩFolklore Avenue', a cultural concept started a few years ago by the Department of Culture, when key streets leading from ship side, through Port Zante and Historic Basseterre, are closed to vehicular traffic so that the music, dancing and traditional costuming of local folkloric groups are displayed. This event will be in addition to the several popular local adventure and scenic tours which are normally available to cruise passengers.
Skerritt, said that the economic impact of just one visit of the Allure to St Kitts makes it imperative that all local people cherish the visit, and make sure that the Royal Caribbean decision-makers see St Kitts as a worthwhile future scheduled port of call for the Allure.
"We are proud of the fact that St Kitts has been making great strides forward in the cruise industry,"ÔøΩ said Skerritt.
"Our arrival numbers have increased steadily over the past four years and I am especially pleased that both our passenger satisfaction levels have also been on the increase. The upcoming visit to St Kitts by the newest and largest ship in the world, Allure of the Seas, will be a very special event for our destination,"ÔøΩ he added.
Royal Caribbean-owned ships are currently scheduled to make a total of 42 port calls to St Kitts in the 2011-2012 season, up from 20 calls in the 2010-2011 season.
Royal Caribbean ships visiting St Kitts are the 3,114-passenger Adventure of Seas; the 3,840-passenger Explorer of the Seas; the 2,500-passenger Jewel of the Seas; the 3,840-passenger Navigator of the Seas and the 2,540-passenger Serenade of the Seas.
Photo Credit To Marine Insight