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CRUISE LINES PROMISE BIGGER, BETTER AND MORE

St. Croix will be a bigger cruise ship destination this coming season than ever before, even though it remains dwarfed by St. Thomas, according to Edward E. Thomas, chief executive officer of the West Indian Co. Ltd., who brought the news back from a recent series of meetings with cruise line officials in Florida.
Cruise ships will make 114 calls at the Big Island between Nov. 1, 1999, and April 30, 2000, Thomas said.
The Crucian season will kick off with a visit by the Carnival Triumph on Wednesday, Nov. 3. The Veendam will make its inaugural call on Jan. 12.
Promoting the territorial waters off St. Croix's East End as the easternmost part of the United States, a number of cruise ships will be in the area to celebrate the end of the old millennium and the start of the new.
Ten ships will call at St. Croix between Dec. 26 and Jan. 1. Four of them will be there on New Year's Eve, with the Norway scheduled to visit on New Year's Day.
Meantime, the busy ports of St. Thomas will be no less so in the coming season.
The Norway returns this Wednesday to resume weekly Eastern Caribbean cruises. The Nieuw Amsterdam will arrive Oct. 14. A total of 786 calls at St. Thomas (at the WICO and Crown Bay docks and in the harbor) are booked between Oct. 14 and next May 17.
According to WICO public relations officer Calvin Wheatley, the best news for St. Thomas is that the ship arrivals have been rearranged so that the island doesn't have a lot of them some days and as few as one on other days. "Wednesday will still be the heaviest day," he said, "because of the ships that sail from Florida. But the spreading of cruise ship arrivals is expected to reduce congestion on the island."
Next summer's schedules aren't finalized. But Thomas says he is confident "there will be more capacity. . . because the Norway and the Century will be here all summer, and the new Zaandam will call here during the entire summer."
Most of the vessels calling in the islands these days are "mega cruise ships." Yet to come are the "super mega" liners now under construction in European yards. To prepare to accommodate the first of those behemoths in 2001, WICO has plans to expand its dock facilities next summer by 678 feet — after having added 954 feet just three years ago to berth three "megas" at once.
Thomas said he is "keenly aware of the fact that the cruise tourism sector will continue to carry the economy of the Virgin Islands for the foreseeable future." He said WICO remains committed to "the efficient and effective management of the product and the timely dissemination of information" about scheduling.

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St. Croix will be a bigger cruise ship destination this coming season than ever before, even though it remains dwarfed by St. Thomas, according to Edward E. Thomas, chief executive officer of the West Indian Co. Ltd., who brought the news back from a recent series of meetings with cruise line officials in Florida.
Cruise ships will make 114 calls at the Big Island between Nov. 1, 1999, and April 30, 2000, Thomas said.
The Crucian season will kick off with a visit by the Carnival Triumph on Wednesday, Nov. 3. The Veendam will make its inaugural call on Jan. 12.
Promoting the territorial waters off St. Croix's East End as the easternmost part of the United States, a number of cruise ships will be in the area to celebrate the end of the old millennium and the start of the new.
Ten ships will call at St. Croix between Dec. 26 and Jan. 1. Four of them will be there on New Year's Eve, with the Norway scheduled to visit on New Year's Day.
Meantime, the busy ports of St. Thomas will be no less so in the coming season.
The Norway returns this Wednesday to resume weekly Eastern Caribbean cruises. The Nieuw Amsterdam will arrive Oct. 14. A total of 786 calls at St. Thomas (at the WICO and Crown Bay docks and in the harbor) are booked between Oct. 14 and next May 17.
According to WICO public relations officer Calvin Wheatley, the best news for St. Thomas is that the ship arrivals have been rearranged so that the island doesn't have a lot of them some days and as few as one on other days. "Wednesday will still be the heaviest day," he said, "because of the ships that sail from Florida. But the spreading of cruise ship arrivals is expected to reduce congestion on the island."
Next summer's schedules aren't finalized. But Thomas says he is confident "there will be more capacity. . . because the Norway and the Century will be here all summer, and the new Zaandam will call here during the entire summer."
Most of the vessels calling in the islands these days are "mega cruise ships." Yet to come are the "super mega" liners now under construction in European yards. To prepare to accommodate the first of those behemoths in 2001, WICO has plans to expand its dock facilities next summer by 678 feet -- after having added 954 feet just three years ago to berth three "megas" at once.
Thomas said he is "keenly aware of the fact that the cruise tourism sector will continue to carry the economy of the Virgin Islands for the foreseeable future." He said WICO remains committed to "the efficient and effective management of the product and the timely dissemination of information" about scheduling.