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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, November 29, 2022
HomeSource PicksRoyal Caribbean Renewal Includes Passenger Fee Hike

Royal Caribbean Renewal Includes Passenger Fee Hike

A short press conference at the Frederiksted Pier packed a big punch Tuesday as the V.I. Port Authority celebrated a decade of partnership with the Royal Caribbean Group with a renewed agreement and commitment to an increased per-passenger fee that officials said would bring in new tourism dollars for the territory.

The agreements were signed publicly at the Ann E. Abramson Marine Facility on St. Croix.

“Over a year ago we traveled to Sea Trade in Miami and had discussions with Royal Caribbean. From those discussions led us to sign some agreements and today we are here to further extend those agreements,” V.I. Port Authority Executive Director Carlton Dowe said.

The first document renewed the existing 10-year pier usage agreement between VIPA and Royal Caribbean Group that was originally executed in June 2016. The revised agreement includes an increase in the per-passenger port fee — from $5 to $7 — paid to berth in ports on St. Croix and St. Thomas. The cruise company has also committed to triple the number of passengers it brings to St. Croix, to 140,000 annually.

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Also signed was the agreement for the development of the Crown Bay district on St. Thomas. The agreement expired on Sept. 30 and will now be extended till Dec. 31.

“We already have thousands of passengers that come and enjoy their experience but our goal is to build upon that and triple the numbers, while almost doubling the number of actual calls that come here,” Royal Caribbean Group’s Director of Destination Development Jayne Halcomb said.

Without revealing details, Halcomb said Royal Caribbean Group and VIP have new projects planned for both districts, but were not ready to announce the specifics.

“With the extension of the agreement for another couple of months this will help to formalize the exciting initiatives that are on the way,” she said, adding that the agreement will bring more passengers to St. Croix and “in the past, we haven’t done that”.

“We really want to make sure we are treating St. Croix independently in addition to St. Thomas and increase that number,” she added.

Speaking Tuesday, Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. said Royal Caribbean continued to partner with the territory to help prepare for the return of cruise ships in the wake of the pandemic.

“They really look at this territory as part of their product and we have to do the same,” he said.

Dowe said that Frederiksted can expect an increase in passengers beginning as of Nov. 2.

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