By Ernesto Cooke – Tourism Service providers in SVG are gearing up for what is being described as a “Bumper Cruise Season”, 2017-2018.
It was announced on Tuesday 17th October by Prime Minister Gonsalves that 270,000 cruise passengers are expected here for the Season, with a starting date of November 1st, through 14th April 2018,
Gonsalves said the number is roughly twice that of last years figure, while in 2015 the figures were under one hundred thousand.
“ We could see more passengers as a consequence of some of the disasters which have befallen other countries”.
Gonsalves said on Boxing day he understands another large cruise ship is expected here along with the Azura, carrying over 2600 passengers, but a difficulty exists with lack of transportation capacity on the ground.
He said with over six thousand persons; the private sector would have to play its part.
Gonsalves said currently there are discussions for St Vincent to be a transit point, with Argyle right in the mix.
“ The way it works is a 7 seven day cruise finishes in Kingstown; you go to Argyle, where persons would catch flights going back to various destinations on charters organised by the Cruise Lines, as well as those coming in”.
The Prime Minister on Tuesday said that citizens will have to embrace what is already on the horizon, and push ahead with the development of the country.
The Cruise ship berth on either side of a piled concrete jetty, is 162 meters long and 20 meters wide, beyond which there are two mooring dolphins and a breasting dolphin.
The larger of the two berths – the North Berth – is designed for vessels up to 100,000 grt and 260 meters in length so that, in practice, Port Kingstown can accommodate the largest cruise ships.
The North Berth has a depth alongside from 28.0 meters to a dredged 11.35 meters while the South berth, suitable for vessels of up to 45,000 grt and 100 meters in length, has a depth of 28.0 meters to a dredged 7.1 meters.
Dredging work at the cruise terminal will begin soon with a 24hour shift system, this will be done to accommodate larger ships which are scheduled to arrive.