October 1. The Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) is partnering with Royal Caribbean Group to develop infrastructure and attractions at port facilities on St. Thomas and St. Croix as part of a 10-year extension to an existing pier-use agreement for preferential berthing at VIPA’s cruise facilities, said VIPA officials.
Carlton Dowe, VIPA’s executive director, and Joshua Carroll, vice president of destination development for Royal Caribbean Group, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) outlining the agreement between the two organizations during this week’s Seatrade Cruise Global conference in Miami.
The original agreement for preferential berthing at VIPA’s Crown Bay, St. Thomas and Frederiksted, St. Croix cruise facilities was reached in June 2016. The pact establishes guaranteed minimum revenues to VIPA and increased visits to St. Thomas and St. Croix, said officials. Royal Caribbean Group has also “expressed an interest” in financing enhancements to the Crown Bay facility and making landside improvements in the Crown Bay district and St. Croix, said Dowe.
Under the agreement, VIPA will partner with Royal Caribbean to expand the Crown Bay facility to accommodate the cruise line’s Icon- and Quantum-class ships and develop a third cruise berth. The MOU’s enhancement plans call for the parties to “revitalize the district to appeal to residents and cruise visitors,” said VIPA officials. Royal Caribbean has also committed to partner with VIPA and the Virgin Islands government to “develop and enhance the overall visitor experience on St. Croix.”
Source: Travel Pulse