03.04.2017

Marigot, home port for a luxury cruise ship

The Crystal Esprit will run cruises out of Marigot every week for three years.

This was announced several weeks ago by several professional cruise sites, but it was made official at the Seatrade Cruise Global* in Florida in mid-March: the American company Crystal Cruises will be placing one of its ships in Saint-Martin beginning in November 2017 and lasting for three years. "This is excellent news - after several months of negotiations," commented Albéric Ellis, director of the Galisbay port, who was present at the event alongside the Office of Tourism to promote the destination.

Crystal Cruises specializes in luxury cruises. It possesses five ships and runs cruises around the world. Departing from Saint-Martin, it has decided to offer customers with high purchasing power several new itineraries in the Caribbean with Crystal Esprit, a small ship including 31 suites (62 passengers) and 91 crew members. The ship was inaugurated in December 2015 and is currently sailing in the Seychelles. The first cruise is planned for this November 12, starting at $2,723 per person in a standard room; the price increases to $5,908 per person for a suite. The trips last one week and depart every Sunday. "And this will be all year round! Except in March, when it will be undergoing technical review," notes the port director.

"Passengers will embark and debark at the quay of the Galisbay port. We will therefore renovate to facilitate their welcome, as there are significant requirements," explains Albéric Ellis. The port platform will also be responsible for gathering and sorting waste before sending it to the eco-site to be treated.

Beyond the direct economic consequences for the port (passenger charges, harbor dues, etc.), a large part of the island’s economy will be impacted. "Provisioning will take place locally," notes Albéric Ellis. A cruise departure with this type of ship represents around two twenty-foot containers per week, and between 150,000 and 200,000 liters of fuel every fifteen days. Local businesses (flower shops, wine sellers, etc.) will also be able to offer their products. Many jobs are affected.

"This is truly excellent news for Saint-Martin," repeats the port director. "The choice of Crystal Cruises to place such a ship here proves that we have real potential," he insists. "We need a cruise ship quay, and we must act now."

 

* The Seatrade Cruise Global is a major event for the cruise industry

Estelle Gasnet

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