PORT ST. MAARTEN – Port St. Maarten Management is very pleased that Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) will resume cruise calls to the destination starting in August with the Norwegian Gem.
The port had strategic discussions with NCL resulting in Port St. Maarten being one of the first destinations among others to receive cruise calls. The port will also be looking for additional opportunities and will continue to actively engage with the industry.
NCL is one of the three cruise brands within the Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. Portfolio. The other two brands are Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. The three brands have a combined fleet of 28 ships.
NCL President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Harry Sommer announced on Tuesday that its resumption of cruising will commence on July 25 with new itineraries sailing from Europe and the Caribbean.
The Norwegian Gem will carry out seven-day cruises starting on August 15 sailing from La Romana in the Dominican Republic. The Gem will be visiting four destinations including St. Maarten and two days at sea. The ship will operate at a reduced capacity.
Norwegian Gem has a guest capacity of 2394 and 1070 crew. The vessel has a gross tonnage of 93,530 and an overall length of 965 feet. Built in 2007, the Gem was refurbished in 2015.
NCL Holdings launched its SailSAFE Health and Safety program, which is founded on three pillars: 1) Safety for guests and crew with vaccination requirements, universal COVID-19 testing, and enhanced health screening protocols; 2) Safety aboard with medical-grade air filtration, increased sanitation measures and enhanced medical resources; and 3) Safety ashore through the collaboration with land-based tour operator partners to extend health and safety measures to each destination.
“One year has passed when the cruise industry suspended sailings and now the industry is making a comeback. Port St. Maarten will continue to look for opportunities to grow the sector once again which came to a complete standstill with the pandemic. We have the Royal Caribbean Group homeporting out of the country in June and now commercial cruise calls in August.
“The cruise industry has been working and refining their existing health and safety protocols for their guests and they are confident that the measures they have taken will enhance the visitor experience offering the healthiest and safest vacation at sea.
“We would like to once again call on the population to register for the COVID-19 vaccine. It is very important that the majority of the populace is vaccinated reaching herd immunity of at least 70 per cent. This will send a strong signal to the tourism and travel trade including the cruise industry that destination St. Maarten is a safe destination to visit.
“The cruise industry has its own safety ashore criteria and are working in collaboration with land-based tour operator partners to extend health and safety measures to each destination, and therefore, St. Maarten as a cruise destination has to also meet those requirements, and a vaccinated population will fast-track the recovery of cruise tourism. Don’t forget to register for your vaccine,” Port St. Maarten Management said on Tuesday.
To register for the vaccine, you can do so via the online registration form which is available in English, Spanish and Creole at the following link: https://forms.sintmaartengov.org/form.aspx?v=OGtn05kNmb
For paper-based registration, the “COVID Vaccine Registration Form” can be picked up at several locations, including the Collective Prevention Service (CPS) at the Vineyard Office Park Building, the Division of Labor Affairs at the Simpson Bay Public Service Center in Simpson Bay, Doctors’ offices, the Government Administration Building, and select pharmacies.
Both Cole Bay & Dutch Quarter Community Helpdesks are currently equipped to provide information and can assist persons with registration at either location.