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Thursday, August 21, 2008

St. Croix Itineraries on the Rise

Expect St. Croix to show up on more ship itineraries next year. The largest of the US Virgin Islands announced that 48 ships will dock there in 2009, a substantial increase over this year when only three ships dropped anchor.

Among the lines set to dock at St. Croix in 2009: Royal Caribbean (Explorer, Adventure of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas), Disney (Magic), Celebrity (The World, Summit, Mercury), Holland America (Maasdam, Eurodam), Crystal (Symphony), Azamara (Journey), Regent (Seven Seas Navigator) and Seabourn (Seabourn Legend). Most will originate in FL and Puerto Rico, according to a spokesperson for the US Virgin Island tourism board.

The island credits the surge to better marketing and outreach between island government leaders, tourism officials and cruise line representatives.

According to the Virgin Islands Daily News earlier this year, cruise ship visits to St. Croix fell off in 2002, after Carnival and Royal Caribbean pulled out because of rising crime on the island, as well as lack of passenger interest. The paper estimated the loss of revenue cost the island $45 million annually. Subsequent attempts to attract regular port calls to Frederiksted, one of two main towns on the island, were also unsuccessful.

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