St. Kitts’ Port Zante can physically accommodate Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis of the Seas, the largest and newest cruise ship in the world, and it may happen sometime in the future as the island’s cruise port has been officially assessed as “Oasis capable.”
So says one of the ship’s first pre-inaugural guests, Senator Ricky Skerritt, St. Kitts’ Minister of State for Tourism. As a specially-invited guest of Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises, Skerritt spent last Sunday and Monday nights aboard the massive Oasis, docked at Florida’s new Port Everglades Cruise Terminal 18, which was designed and built especially as the ship’s home port.
While on board, Minister Skerritt toured the impressive ship, attended orientation workshops and held discussions with his hosts, including Royal Caribbean’s Chairman and CEO, Richard Fain and Senior Vice President for Land Operations, Craig Milan. Skerritt described the 5,400 passenger ship as “awesome” and his experience on board as “enlightening.” According to him, “The innovative designs and standards being employed onboard in delivering customer service, use of technology, and various energy and environmental management systems are instructive for all who have interests in the future of tourism.”
Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises brought 76,772 passengers to St. Kitts last season and will almost double those numbers to 130,368 this season. Minister Skerritt predicts that Royal Caribbean’s numbers will increase by a further thirty percent in the 2010/2011 season.
Located in the northern Leeward Islands of the Caribbean, St. Kitts offers a diverse tourism product developed from the destination’s natural beauty, cultural heritage and rich history. The island’s stunning variety of tourism attractions include hiking through the tropical rainforest, riding the Caribbean’s only scenic passenger railway, visiting the Caribelle Batik factory, touring Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park (an UNESCO World Heritage Site), and the more traditional vacation pastimes such as watersports, golf, shopping, tennis, gourmet dining, gaming at one of St. Kitts’ two casinos or simply relaxing on one of the island’s sandy beaches. Accommodations range from intimate plantation inns to larger hotels or resorts.