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Cruise Ship Just Over the St. Croix Horizon

Nov. 5, 2007 — A cruise ship is coming to Frederiksted Friday, and government agencies are working overtime to spruce up the waterfront and ensure a warm welcome and smooth visit.
Like a brief rain shower after a long drought, the Hapag Lloyd cruise ship MV Columbus is set to arrive Friday morning at 8 a.m., departing four hours later.
Hopefully heralding things to come, this is a requested port of call visit. Most of the small handful of ships that have come to St. Croix in the past few years have come for a short bunkering and refueling stop or were rerouted from another destination.
"We are definitely delighted we have a cruise coming in to Frederiksted," said Malcolm McGregor, special assistant to Gov. John deJongh Jr., in a phone interview Monday. "It has been long overdue."
The MV Columbus carries as many as 420 passengers, making it considerably smaller than the behemoth vessels carrying one to three thousand passengers that stop at St. Thomas every day. Bringing in smaller vessels first is part of the strategy being employed by the government and by shipping agents to jumpstart cruise stops in St. Croix. (See "Big Ships Cruising Slowly Back Toward St. Croix.")
McGregor said he has been talking with numerous government agencies and community groups to make the best of the opportunity.
"We will be there on Friday to wholeheartedly welcome the cruise line when it comes in and ensure a smooth visit, so they will want to come back again," he said. "We have of course been working with Public Works, with Housing Parks and Recreation, with Tourism and the police, in a coordinated effort to make sure we put our best foot forward in this 2007 and 2008 season."
Housing Parks and Recreation maintains the waterfront in Frederiksted and St. Clair Williams, commissioner of Housing Parks and Recreation, said his men and women were putting out their best effort.
"All week our people are sprucing up around the clock tower, washing down the area, cleaning leaves out of Buddhoe Park," he said. "We are going to do everything possible to make sure our areas are well maintained and looking beautiful."
The Department of Tourism is planning to greet passengers with a steel pan band, a formal welcome and some rum and fruit punch. Alvin Milligan, director of cruise ship activities on St. Croix for the Department of Tourism, said officials don't want to put on so much that it distracts the guests from exploring around Frederiksted and deeper into the island.
"It is a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation," Milligan said, when asked about things for visitors to do. "People are not sure what is going to happen and don’t want to invest in tourist businesses and activities until they are confident of business. But once ships are coming in, I think we’ll have more. There are a lot of potential investors who are waiting to see if it becomes more concrete. And I think once a decent cruise schedule exists, you will see a lot happen quickly."
St. Croix's slower pace is part of its character, too, and actually a selling point, Milligan said.
"We have a lot to offer right now," he said. "Most people, once they get here, say, 'Wow, I can’t believe the islands are so close but so different.' Each island is different. Most experienced travelers don’t want hustle and bustle. St. Croix’s quieter pace is really a selling point."
Because it retains a distinctive character, Milligan believes St. Croix is poised for takeoff.
"Once St. Croix takes off, that's it," he said. "There's no turning back. I hope when it does we are ready to run."
McGregor has a similar view.
"I think we are a hidden treasure on St. Croix, with lots of potential with the cruise lines and airlines," he said. "I think people will see the good on St. Croix that has been hidden for some time now."
McGregor said the administration is also working to take care of the day-to-day needs of residents and that taking care of out-of-towners helps locals, too.
"We've been working with Our Town Frederiksted and the Frederiksted Economic Development Association to make sure we are taking care of what is important to visitors, but also for residents, in the normal course of business," he said.
"Although we do it with hopes of bringing in people to our shores, we also are working to serve our residents on St. Croix. Everyone has a role to play and a part in the plan as we make things happen for St. Croix."
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Nov. 5, 2007 -- A cruise ship is coming to Frederiksted Friday, and government agencies are working overtime to spruce up the waterfront and ensure a warm welcome and smooth visit.
Like a brief rain shower after a long drought, the Hapag Lloyd cruise ship MV Columbus is set to arrive Friday morning at 8 a.m., departing four hours later.
Hopefully heralding things to come, this is a requested port of call visit. Most of the small handful of ships that have come to St. Croix in the past few years have come for a short bunkering and refueling stop or were rerouted from another destination.
"We are definitely delighted we have a cruise coming in to Frederiksted," said Malcolm McGregor, special assistant to Gov. John deJongh Jr., in a phone interview Monday. "It has been long overdue."
The MV Columbus carries as many as 420 passengers, making it considerably smaller than the behemoth vessels carrying one to three thousand passengers that stop at St. Thomas every day. Bringing in smaller vessels first is part of the strategy being employed by the government and by shipping agents to jumpstart cruise stops in St. Croix. (See "Big Ships Cruising Slowly Back Toward St. Croix.")
McGregor said he has been talking with numerous government agencies and community groups to make the best of the opportunity.
"We will be there on Friday to wholeheartedly welcome the cruise line when it comes in and ensure a smooth visit, so they will want to come back again," he said. "We have of course been working with Public Works, with Housing Parks and Recreation, with Tourism and the police, in a coordinated effort to make sure we put our best foot forward in this 2007 and 2008 season."
Housing Parks and Recreation maintains the waterfront in Frederiksted and St. Clair Williams, commissioner of Housing Parks and Recreation, said his men and women were putting out their best effort.
"All week our people are sprucing up around the clock tower, washing down the area, cleaning leaves out of Buddhoe Park," he said. "We are going to do everything possible to make sure our areas are well maintained and looking beautiful."
The Department of Tourism is planning to greet passengers with a steel pan band, a formal welcome and some rum and fruit punch. Alvin Milligan, director of cruise ship activities on St. Croix for the Department of Tourism, said officials don't want to put on so much that it distracts the guests from exploring around Frederiksted and deeper into the island.
"It is a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation," Milligan said, when asked about things for visitors to do. "People are not sure what is going to happen and don’t want to invest in tourist businesses and activities until they are confident of business. But once ships are coming in, I think we’ll have more. There are a lot of potential investors who are waiting to see if it becomes more concrete. And I think once a decent cruise schedule exists, you will see a lot happen quickly."
St. Croix's slower pace is part of its character, too, and actually a selling point, Milligan said.
"We have a lot to offer right now," he said. "Most people, once they get here, say, 'Wow, I can’t believe the islands are so close but so different.' Each island is different. Most experienced travelers don’t want hustle and bustle. St. Croix’s quieter pace is really a selling point."
Because it retains a distinctive character, Milligan believes St. Croix is poised for takeoff.
"Once St. Croix takes off, that's it," he said. "There's no turning back. I hope when it does we are ready to run."
McGregor has a similar view.
"I think we are a hidden treasure on St. Croix, with lots of potential with the cruise lines and airlines," he said. "I think people will see the good on St. Croix that has been hidden for some time now."
McGregor said the administration is also working to take care of the day-to-day needs of residents and that taking care of out-of-towners helps locals, too.
"We've been working with Our Town Frederiksted and the Frederiksted Economic Development Association to make sure we are taking care of what is important to visitors, but also for residents, in the normal course of business," he said.
"Although we do it with hopes of bringing in people to our shores, we also are working to serve our residents on St. Croix. Everyone has a role to play and a part in the plan as we make things happen for St. Croix."
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.