St. Vincent and the Grenadines is planning for an expanded cruise facility while remaining fairly constant in their arrival numbers. The island chain was projecting an estimated 294,000 passengers on 235 sailings in the 2019-2020 season prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last year they welcomed 239,000 passengers on 272 sailings. Cruise officials predict 293 calls in 2020-2021.
The primary port, Kingstown, received 89 of this season’s calls, followed by Bequia island with 56 calls and Mayreau with 52. The Tobago Cays and Union Island combined for 39 calls.
Maiden calls came from Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Hanseatic Inspiration, the Celebrity Silhouette and Celebrity Equinox, and the Koningsdam. Several ships visited multiple islands in the archipelago.
A port modernization project is scheduled to begin by the end of the fourth quarter of 2020, cruise officials said. Funded by the Caribbean Development Bank through the United Kingdom Caribbean Infrastructure Fund, the work will come in two phases. First comes construction of a new cargo port that will also allocate land for expansion of the current cruise facility. The second phase includes construction of an inter-island and regional port. Both phases are estimated to take two-and-a-half years to complete. Developers have stressed the work will be climate resilient.
Work on the Chateaubeliar Wharf, located in the northwestern part of the island is also ongoing. The $1.8 million dollar project is funded by the World Bank and will bring the wharf up to ISPS standards. Construction of a new tender jetty, a low landing platform and accommodation for yachts are is included in the project.