Prime Minister Allen Chastanet Tuesday hailed the return of cruise tourism here as Celebrity Millennium arrived with 414 individuals aboard.
The PM said that the authorities look forward to ensuring that more Saint Lucians get back to work in the cruise tourism and other sectors.
Chastanet, a former Tourism Minister, observed that for over one year, many local taxi drivers, vendors, tour guides and other tourism stakeholders have not had the opportunity to benefit from cruise tourism due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Today marks a major milestone and the excitement at Pointe Seraphine was heartwarming as we began the gradual reintroduction of cruise tourism to our island,” he observed.
“We thank the Ministry of Health and Tourism for their hard work to get us to this point. Of course we also thank our partners at Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises,” Chastanet stated.
He disclosed that the government has been working with the cruise industry since March of 2020 to get a return of cruise ships, which was originally scheduled for between October and November last year.
“So to say that a lot of work has gone into this is an understatement,” the PM asserted.
Chastanet described the return of cruise tourism as meaningful because of how the development will impact street vendors, taxi drivers, tour operators and all who have depended almost exclusively on the sector.
“While we have done some things to comfort them, nothing can ever replace the income that they were generating from this industry. So this is a wonderful sight for them and we are excited to say the least,” he declared.
Local officials have said that all passengers disembarking in Saint Lucia will do so in groups of 25.
In addition, they have disclosed that all fully vaccinated passengers will be issued a wristband and allowed to enjoy “expanded access to the island, including shopping, dining, beaches and more.”
Unvaccinated passengers, as well as vaccinated adults traveling with unvaccinated minors, will be accommodated in a bubble and transferred to designated, certified sites and attractions.
Of the 414 aboard Celebrity Millennium, including three Saint Lucians, 404 were fully vaccinated and 4 minors were unvaccinated.
The vessel berthed here at 7.45 am.