BASSETERRE, St Kitts – At 06:50 on the morning of September 14, 2021, the Celebrity Equinox docked at St Kitts’ Port Zante with 1,247 passengers and 918 crew members on board, ushering in the next phase in the re-building of the cruise sector.
“Today is a day of hope. It is my privilege to welcome the captain and crew of the Celebrity Equinox back to St Kitts for the first commercial call to Port Zante since March 2020. This day has been anxiously anticipated, and a long time in coming, as we continued our phased approach to rebuilding the cruise sector.
The Royal Caribbean Group is a valued partner and with calls from their three main brands, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea, were instrumental in the destination welcoming over one million passengers for two consecutive years, cementing our position in the marketplace as a marquee port,” said Lindsay F.P. Grant, minister of tourism, transport and ports.
“This is exciting – we have been waiting 17 months for this day; 17 months during which we experienced the negative impacts of COVID-19 and observed the collapse of economies globally. Tourism industries around the world suffered significant losses and the face of travel changed. However, we have made significant strides; this industry is resilient and has the power to sustain livelihoods. [Today,] on this momentous occasion, we continue our progressive journey to rebuild tourism safely in a manner that allows us to continue our tradition as a marquee port and reap economic benefits for all,” remarked Racquel Brown, chief executive officer of the St Kitts Tourism Authority.
All passengers on board the ship have been fully vaccinated, with the exception of one person under the age of 12. At a time when the Delta variant is prolific in the US, our primary source market, the vaccination rate in St Kitts and Nevis has set a benchmark as the highest in the OECS and indeed the region, with 75.1 percent of the target population receiving one dose and 66.3 percent of the target population fully vaccinated as of September 13, 2021.
Cruise ship passengers will explore the destination via “Travel Approved” bubble vaccinated tours and attraction sites, where the passengers will interact solely with fully vaccinated tour operators, seaport officials and any other cruise-related personnel. These include:
- Brimstone Hill Fortress and National Park
- Carambola Beach Club
- Caribelle Batik
- Fairview Great House
- Palms Court Gardens
- Port Zante including vendors from Amina Craft Market and Black Rocks
- St Kitts Scenic Railway
St Kitts’ renowned Port Zante has provided cruise passengers with a premium experience to shop freely in the open Port and enjoy the wide variety and diversity of crafts, jewelry, souvenirs, restaurants, bars and the casino.
To maintain the integrity of the “Travel Approved” bubble, the public has been asked not to venture into these designated areas while the ship is in port.