Royal Caribbean Inks Deal With VIPA To Improve USVI Marine Port Facilities
CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Royal Caribbean Group announced it has reached a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Virgin Islands to further enhance Crown Bay in St. Thomas, as well as a significant redevelopment of Frederiksted, St Croix in the future.
The agreement is the first step in a longer process of expanding the cruise line’s visits to the islands, as well as looking at ways to expand the port facilities and guest experience at both islands.
Royal Caribbean Group will expand its presence in St Thomas and St Croix, as the new deal will have specific targets for bringing guests to each island.
The MOU is a recommitment from Royal Caribbean Group to extend its existing 10-year, pier-use agreement for preferential berthing at Virgin Island Port Authority’s cruise facilities in Crown Bay, St. Thomas and Frederiksted, St. Croix.
In addition to guaranteed minimum revenues to the USVI and increased cruise visits to both St. Thomas and St. Croix, Royal Caribbean Group has expressed an interest in developing enhancements to the cruise facility in Crown Bay and making landside improvements in the Crown Bay District and St. Croix to enhance the island’s tourism products.
In the short term, Royal Caribbean will bring more passengers to St. Thomas and St. Croix, but down the line, enhancing the piers is a big part of the deal. Financial terms were not disclosed.
A third pier will be added to Crown Bay in St. Thomas, which will mean there will be three berths there. Two of these berths will be capable of handling an Icon Class cruise ship.
In addition, Royal Caribbean will look to expand in Frederiksted, St. Croix. This will include work on dredging the pier to accommodate larger ships. Currently, the pier in St. Croix can only handle ships as large as a Voyager Class ship.
Jayne Halcomb, Royal Caribbean Group director of the Caribbean/Americas, said they will focus on creating more opportunities for guests to explore. Community integration will be a big part of the project to ensure local businesses can prosper and grow due to new traffic, she added.