Port St. Maarten sees increase in cruise numbers after direct marketing approach. NCL increases calls to the destination in 2017

Port St. Maarten continues to work to increase destination numbers after a dip in 2016.  Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) will increase its number of calls in 2017 to the destination when compared to 2016.  The cruise line is expected to make 39 port calls bringing 101,007 passengers to the destination.  For 2016, the line made 29 calls bringing in 82,316 passengers.

Norwegian Cruise Lines Holding Ltd. is a leading global cruise company which operates the Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands.

With a combined fleet of 24 ships with approximately 46,500 berths, these brands offer itineraries to more than 510 destinations worldwide. The Company will introduce four additional ships through 2020.

NCL has three new ships on order to be delivered within the next three years 2017-2019.  The first ship is Norwegian Joy which will be able to carry 4,200 passengers, and is scheduled to be delivered in Summer 2017.  This vessel has been built specifically for the Chinese market.

The Norwegian Bliss, 4,200 passengers, will be delivered in Spring 2018, and Breakaway-Plus class ship, 4,200 passengers is to be delivered in the Autumn of 2019.

Caribbean destinations are facing a number of challenges such as private cruise port islands and the opening up of Cuba.

NCL will be offering four-day roundtrip cruises from Miami to Cuba in May 2017 on Norwegian Sky, the largest ship sailing to Cuba.

NCL’s private Bahamian 250-acre island Great Stirrup Cay, has undergone new luxury features and more family-friendly amenities.  Extensive upgrades include a new family recreation area; addition of a 1,000 foot-long zip line; expanded dining options; and an exclusive access lagoon retreat with private air-conditioned villas to open by Summer 2017.  NCL is the first cruise line to acquire a private island in 1977.

At the end of 2016, NCL opened its new destination in Southern Belize, Harvest Caye which is located one mile offshore, considered the lines premier resort-style which features Belize’s only cruise ship pier.  The island has an expansive seven acre white sand beach; 15,000 square feet pool with swim up bar; offers multiple dining options; nature center and wildlife experiences; plus adventure tours on a cross-island zip line.

“We welcome the increase in calls for 2017 when compared to 2016.  The past year was a challenging one for Port St. Maarten, but we must continue to work in a strategic manner in order to secure more business, and we are working diligently on this by meeting and having discussions with cruise line executives.  The cruise industry is entering new markets such as Cuba and China besides developing their own private islands, and these developments are realities which will continue and therefore we need to look at building on our strengths in order to continue to grow in the foreseeable future,” Port St. Maarten Management pointed out.

In the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Travel Agent Cruise Industry Quarterly Outlook December 2016 reports that one of the cruise categories that continue to increase in popularity is the larger ship cruise.

CLIA reports that the cruising experience is being broadened to a wider number of consumer demographics, with people of all ages, including families of all make-ups and personal circumstances, discovering the pleasure of taking a cruise vacation.

“Port St. Maarten is cognizant of the trends and developments in the cruise industry and therefore has encouraged and called for local investments to be made in new products and visitor experiences in order to further enhance the tourism cruise product of the destination,” Port St. Maarten Management explained.

Norwegian Cruise Line is an innovator in cruise travel with a history of breaking the boundaries of traditional cruising, most notably with the introduction of “Freestyle Cruising,” which revolutionized the industry by giving guests more freedom and flexibility.

NCL offers The Haven by Norwegian, a luxury enclave with suites, private pools and dining, concierge service and personal butlers.

Oceania Cruises offers an unrivaled vacation experience renowned for the finest cuisine at sea and destination-rich itineraries that span the globe. Expertly crafted voyages aboard designer-inspired, intimate ships call on ports across Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and the Americas.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises offers the industry’s most inclusive luxury experience aboard its all-suite fleet.  Accompanying the unprecedented personalized service, gourmet cuisine and world-class entertainment, a voyage with Regent Seven Seas Cruises also includes round-trip air transportation to the port of origin with business class air provided for any intercontinental flights, fine wines and spirits throughout the ship, unlimited free internet access, ground transfers, pre-paid gratuities and complimentary sightseeing excursions at every destination visited.