Dec. 23, 2002 – On Tuesday, for the second of three scheduled times this month, the Police Department is closing Main Street to vehicular traffic from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. because of anticipated crowds in the downtown area.
The first time was on Dec. 18, when eight cruise ships were in port. On Tuesday, there are only four, but police figure there will be a lot of local last-minute shoppers thronging into the Charlotte Amalie shopping district as well. The third time will be on Dec. 31, when seven ships are scheduled to be in port.
Sgt. Annette Raimer, Police Department spokeswoman, said the street will be closed from the Emancipation Garden post office to Rothschild Francis "Market" Square. "It's a safety issue," she said, noting that cruise ships carry a number of older people as well as people in wheelchairs who would have difficulty navigating Main Street when it's filled with cars, safaris and taxi vans.
Taxis will be able to discharge and pick up passengers near Emancipation Garden and the Fort Christian Museum as well as along the Waterfront, Raimer said.
At least one St. Thomas merchant sees closing Main Street on these busy days as a good idea. "It gives people more room to move," said Perminder Singh, who manages the Little America store on Main Street.
However, Singh said he does not favor permanently closing Main Street, an idea that has been kicked around for years and was tried a couple of times but never became a permanent solution to Main Street traffic congestion.
According to Tourism Department's Cruise Ship Activities Office Web site, Dec. 18 had the potential for sending 16,554 passengers plus thousands more in crew ashore. Four of the eight ships that were in port at St. Thomas — the Disney Magic, Explorer of the Seas, Golden Princess and Costa Atlantica — have capacities well over 2,000 passengers.
There were ships at the West Indian Company dock, a ship at the Crown Bay dock, ships in the inner harbor and ships in the outer harbor.
On Tuesday, which is Christmas Eve, up to 8,936 cruise ship passengers plus the four ship's crews could join throngs of last-minute local shoppers crowding Charlotte Amalie. The Navigator of the Seas carries up to 3,114 passengers; the Carnival Triumph, up to 2,534; the Zuiderdam, up to 1,848; and the Volendam, up to 1,440.
The Navigator of the Seas and Carnival Triumph will use the WICO dock, and the Zuiderdam and Volendam will anchor in the harbor. The Volendam had been scheduled to tie up at the Crow Bay dock but asked to anchor in the inner harbor instead, a WICO release stated.
Tuesday being Christmas Eve, there will be holiday music, island style, to send off those cruise ship visitors whose vessels are berthed at the West Indian Co. dock — and entertain local residents doing last-minute shopping at Havensight Mall.
The West Indian Co. and the Havensight Mall Association are partnering to present the Territorial Court Rising Stars Steel Orchestra playing from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Welcome Center, and Imagination Brass playing from 4 to 7 p.m. in the area west of the main WICO office building, according to a release from the company.
The WICO release also stated that the Oceana, one of seven ships that had been scheduled to call at St. Thomas on Dec. 31, will instead come into port a day earlier, on Dec. 30.
The remaining six ships scheduled to be in port on Dec. 31 can carry a total of 9,425 passengers plus crew. The Amsterdam has a capacity of 1,380 guests; the Carnival Pride, 2,124; the Century, 1,750; the Crystal Harmony, 940; the Queen Elizabeth II, 1,791; and the Zaandam, 1,440.
The Crystal Harmony and the QE II will anchor in the outer harbor, the Carnival Pride and the Century will be at the WICO dock, the Zaandam will anchor inside the harbor, and the Amsterdam will be at Crown Bay.
Jean Etsinger also contributed to this report.

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