Alongside the Cayman Islands which is advanced in planning a new cruise and cargo facility in George Town harbour, the US Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) is also seeking to dredge St. Thomas’ Crown Bay Harbor.
The planned development will create navigational space for Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum-class and Oasis-class sized cruise ships to berth together.
Travelpulse.com said the expansion would allow Royal Caribbean’s Quantum-class ships, which accommodate 4,180 passengers and measure 166,668 gross tons, to dock at the north side of the Crown Bay dock, while Oasis-size ships (the industry’s largest vessels 5,400 passengers and 225,282 gross tons) to moor at the southern side simultaneously.
In years before Hurricanes Irma and Maria, about 1.2 million cruise passengers and about 400,000 airplane passengers arrived each year to the US Virgin Islands
Studies show that while cruise ship arrivals have rebounded somewhat, albeit at a pace of 27 per cent behind 2017 figures, air arrivals in 2018 have been about 50 per cent or more below 2017 levels.