By S. Williams
The 2016/2017 Nevis Cruise Season is officially over.
According to Devon Liburd, Director of Sales and Marketing at the Nevis Tourism Authority (NTA) for thisseason there was a total of 51 scheduled calls on the itinerary. However adjustments were made for 5 cancellations and about 10 calls added, bringing to 56 the total calls.
Mr. Liburd told the Observer that while the expected scheduled calls would have had a capacity of 9230 passengers, the final passenger arrivals have not yet been tallied but that this season was better than previous years.
“There was a marginal increase in calls over last year but a significant increase of passengers because of a few larger ships making more calls. For example, the Azamara Quest with a capacity of 686 passengers doubling its calls over last season from three to six,” he said.
The 2016/2017 season which began last year on Sunday, Nov. 6 was scheduled to have officially ended onTuesday, March 28. However, through a reschedule and the addition of one unscheduled call, the end came instead on Wednesday, March 29, with two cruise ships docking in Nevis.
After this date, there might still be a small Island Windjammer Cruise line called Sagitta which carries 24 passengers. They are not on the official schedule and can show up at any day in the week and may be making a couple more calls.
As it relates to the upcoming cruise season, Liburd said while the Cruise Season normally begins in November, the start date cannot be confirmed until the itineraries from the various cruise lines are received. Instead of giving expectation, he said the NTA is expecting a better next cruise season.
Furthermore, while there are currently no discussions yet regarding what improvements are to be made to the upcoming season if any, Liburd confirmed that Nevis benefits from cruise ships that make stops in St. Kitts and through organized tours with ground handlers like Kantours and Sunlinc that do regular tours to Nevis from cruise ships in St. Kitts.
St. Kitts is focused on mass tourism, he explained, and has the infrastructure and resources to accommodate larger ships than Nevis. However the NTA’s focus is on smaller, upscale ships with a more intimate experience.
“The NTA’s efforts as it relates to cruise visitors is with the cruise lines themselves as opposed to the consumer. Our efforts are to sway the cruise lines to include Nevis on the Caribbean itineraries. The more lines we have stopping on Nevis the more visitors we are expecting to receive,” he said.