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HomeNewsArchivesCARNIVAL: NO ULTERIOR MOTIVES FOR PASSING STX

CARNIVAL: NO ULTERIOR MOTIVES FOR PASSING STX

Despite the rumors circulating around St. Croix, Carnival Cruise Lines’ absence from the Big Island the last two weeks – and next week – isn’t a protest against a proposal to raise cruise passenger fees or against crime on the island, nor is it a precursor to a pullout.
Rather, the story behind the missed port calls is a simple matter of time, rate, distance and mechanics, according to Gordon Buck, Carnival’s director of port operations.
"We’ve been doing some engine modifications and preventive maintenance," Buck said. "Because of that, we have to sail at less than full speed."
The result is that the Destiny cruise ship missed its March 29 call on Frederiksted and will miss its next scheduled stop on April 12. The same maintenance being done on the Destiny is being done on its sister ship the Triumph, which forced it to bypass St. Croix on April 5.
Because of the work, only one of the ships’ two engines can be used at any time. That cuts down the speed and distances the ships can make on the normal Miami, San Juan, St. Croix, and St. Thomas itinerary. It also means St. Croix, because of its location relative to the other stops, gets booted from the schedule.
"It’s not that we’re intentionally trying to drop St. Croix from the agenda," Buck said. "The work is necessary and prudent."
The slower cruising speed means the ships are leaving Miami on a Sunday and arriving in San Juan early on Wednesday, he explained, a day later than normal and the day they usually call on St. Croix. From San Juan the ships call on St. Thomas and then head back to Miami on Friday.
However, Buck said they are making an afternoon stop in the Bahamas on the way back north.
"We are able to stop in Nassau," he said. "It just happens to be right there."
The Destiny’s next departure from Miami on April 9 – again at its slow speed – should be the last itinerary that bypasses St. Croix, Buck said.
"This should be the last of it right now," he said. "The Triumph will be back on St. Croix April 19 and the Destiny on April 26."
That’s not a moment too soon for business owners who rely on the big ships for their livelihoods. Michael McQueston, who owns a tour business in Frederiksted, said the two Carnival ships make up a large part of his monthly revenue. Without the cash flow, he said it makes it difficult to put money away to pay overhead during the slow summer months.
"This is normally the time we plan ahead for the off-season," McQueston said. "It’s making it very difficult."
Compounding matters are the rumors running through the business community as to why Carnival is skipping St. Croix. There has been talk that Carnival is planning to pull out because of crime, Sen. Roosevelt David’s proposal to increase passenger fees by $2.50, and the high cost of fuel.
"You can’t get a straight answer from anybody," McQueston said. "If the Triumph pulls out for the summer we’re done."
Buck and Michelle Paige, executive director of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association, said the rumor that Carnival is planning to pull out of St. Croix as a way to protest the proposed fee increase is far off the mark.
"There is absolutely no thought of anything like that," Buck said.
Paige, meanwhile, said the FCCA and a local private-public task force have been negotiating for the past year on the head-tax issue. At this point, she said all the stakeholders are on the same page. Rumors about Carnival dropping the V.I. would only hurt those negotiations, she said.
"We don’t need anybody making false accusations," Paige said, adding that Carnival’s reasons for bypassing St. Croix were strictly mechanical. "It was nothing more than that."

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Despite the rumors circulating around St. Croix, Carnival Cruise Lines’ absence from the Big Island the last two weeks – and next week – isn’t a protest against a proposal to raise cruise passenger fees or against crime on the island, nor is it a precursor to a pullout.
Rather, the story behind the missed port calls is a simple matter of time, rate, distance and mechanics, according to Gordon Buck, Carnival’s director of port operations.
"We’ve been doing some engine modifications and preventive maintenance," Buck said. "Because of that, we have to sail at less than full speed."
The result is that the Destiny cruise ship missed its March 29 call on Frederiksted and will miss its next scheduled stop on April 12. The same maintenance being done on the Destiny is being done on its sister ship the Triumph, which forced it to bypass St. Croix on April 5.
Because of the work, only one of the ships’ two engines can be used at any time. That cuts down the speed and distances the ships can make on the normal Miami, San Juan, St. Croix, and St. Thomas itinerary. It also means St. Croix, because of its location relative to the other stops, gets booted from the schedule.
"It’s not that we’re intentionally trying to drop St. Croix from the agenda," Buck said. "The work is necessary and prudent."
The slower cruising speed means the ships are leaving Miami on a Sunday and arriving in San Juan early on Wednesday, he explained, a day later than normal and the day they usually call on St. Croix. From San Juan the ships call on St. Thomas and then head back to Miami on Friday.
However, Buck said they are making an afternoon stop in the Bahamas on the way back north.
"We are able to stop in Nassau," he said. "It just happens to be right there."
The Destiny’s next departure from Miami on April 9 – again at its slow speed – should be the last itinerary that bypasses St. Croix, Buck said.
"This should be the last of it right now," he said. "The Triumph will be back on St. Croix April 19 and the Destiny on April 26."
That’s not a moment too soon for business owners who rely on the big ships for their livelihoods. Michael McQueston, who owns a tour business in Frederiksted, said the two Carnival ships make up a large part of his monthly revenue. Without the cash flow, he said it makes it difficult to put money away to pay overhead during the slow summer months.
"This is normally the time we plan ahead for the off-season," McQueston said. "It’s making it very difficult."
Compounding matters are the rumors running through the business community as to why Carnival is skipping St. Croix. There has been talk that Carnival is planning to pull out because of crime, Sen. Roosevelt David’s proposal to increase passenger fees by $2.50, and the high cost of fuel.
"You can’t get a straight answer from anybody," McQueston said. "If the Triumph pulls out for the summer we’re done."
Buck and Michelle Paige, executive director of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association, said the rumor that Carnival is planning to pull out of St. Croix as a way to protest the proposed fee increase is far off the mark.
"There is absolutely no thought of anything like that," Buck said.
Paige, meanwhile, said the FCCA and a local private-public task force have been negotiating for the past year on the head-tax issue. At this point, she said all the stakeholders are on the same page. Rumors about Carnival dropping the V.I. would only hurt those negotiations, she said.
"We don’t need anybody making false accusations," Paige said, adding that Carnival’s reasons for bypassing St. Croix were strictly mechanical. "It was nothing more than that."