Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Takes Away Six More Calls To U.S. Virgin Islands
MIAMI — Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines is canceling three port calls to St. Thomas and three port calls to St. Croix in retaliation for Tourism Commissioner Joseph Boschulte’s firing of WICO Executive Director Clifford Graham in June, the Virgin Islands Free Press has learned.
More cruise lines are likely to follow in lockstep, high-placed sources in Virgin Islands Tourism and the Virgin Islands Port Authority confirmed to the V.I. Free Press today, citing their disappointment in the re-hiring of embattled VIPA Executive Director Carlton Dowe June 26.
“This news is the biggest blow yet to Gov. Albert Bryan Jr’s fledgling first term in office as VIPA is currently promoting ‘progress’ on its website while at the same time it is losing port calls for the territory,” one source said. “It is the ultimate in hypocrisy — even by rudimentary governmental standards.”
Bryan’s predecessor, Gov. Kenneth E. Mapp, was a one-term governor.
According to our sources, Disney Cruise Lines is most likely to jump off the USVI tourism bandwagon next. Disney Cruise Lines currently calls on St. Thomas only.
Some sources said that St. Croix was only losing two ports of call from RCCL.
Well-placed sources in the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) say it is also disappointed in Bryan’s tourism choices so far.
“When other cruises lines join Royal Caribbean, the message will become known to Boschulte and Bryan — if it isn’t already known to their deaf ears,” the source said. “The cruise ship industry is going to ‘change course now’ when it comes to U.S. Virgin Islands tourism. They feel Boschulte and Bryan are going in the wrong direction.”
Cruise lines sent 28 cruise ships to St. Thomas in June.
Royal Caribbean canceled eight scheduled cruise ship calls to the Austin “Babe” Monsanto Marine Terminal in Crown Bay in May.
At the time, RCCL blamed issues with the cruise ship Allure of the Seas’ propulsion system.
The following scheduled calls to Crown Bay by the Allure of the Seas were canceled:
- May 16, 2019
- June 6, 2019
- June 27, 2019
- July 18, 2019
- August 8, 2019
- August 29, 2019
- September 19, 2019
- October 10, 2019
VIPA said in May that the Oasis-class vessel is sailing at reduced speeds with only one of three “propulsion pods” working properly.
The cruise line said it has had to adjust its itineraries to eliminate destinations throughout the Caribbean that require high travel speeds.
RCCL has reportedly adjusted a total of 25 cruises – impacting eastern and western Caribbean itineraries from Fort Lauderdale from May 5 through October 27.
Dowe was re-hired by VIPA after being fired by Governor Mapp.
Kenneth Mapp hired his brother David Mapp to replace Dowe as the VIPA executive director in 2015.