Home Business St. John business CRUISE TRAFFIC ALMOST BACK TO PRE-9/11 LEVEL



March 25, 2002 – The state of the cruise industry since Sept. 11 was a prime topic of discussion at the 18th annual Seatrade Cruise Shipping Convention, held March 11-15 in Miami Beach, according to a release from The West Indian Co.
There was general agreement "that North American-based cruise lines have rebounded in the wake of 9/11," the release states.
To counter the sharp drop in travel by Americans after the terrorist attacks, cruise lines discounted fares deeply. Now, "with the upsurge in bookings nearing the pre-9/11 level, fares are moving back up and stabilizing," the release says. And to the surprise of many industry observers who expected a slow recovery, "the forecast is for 7.5 million passengers to cruise in 2002."
Another hot topic, the WICO release said, was the fight between Carnival Cruise Corp. and Royal Caribbean International to take over P&O Princess Cruises. (See December Source report, "Cruise industry upheaval affecting V.I. – Part I".)
The release also noted that other Caribbean destinations are investing millions of dollars in development projects aimed at attracting cruise traffic — especially the new generation of megaships — to their ports. "Many destinations are improving their infrastructure in the hope of increasing the number of calls, or being capable of accommodating larger-size vessels," it said.
Example: Antigua is spending $22 million to dredge its harbor and build a second finger pier and welcome center at its Heritage Quay shopping and entertainment complex. With the expansion, St. John's will be able to accommodate four megaships at a time.
Another: Barbados is completing a $6 million dredging to make its harbor suitable for the Eagle-class Adventure of the Seas, which began cruising the Caribbean at the start of this year. To follow is a $25 million pier construction project that's expected to take 18 months.
According to the WICO release, the territory's display "booth" at the trade show held in conjunction with the convention "was one of the best at the convention and won much praise for the territory." Further, it said, "There was nothing but praise" for those who staffed the booth, "for their friendliness and willing assistance to visitors."

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