On Sunday, a local delegation, including Tourism Minister Dr. Ernest Hilaire welcomed MS Rotterdam on its maiden call to Port Castries.
Holland America Line, a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation, operates the Pinnacle-class cruise ship, which people commonly refer to as Rotterdam 7. The vessel has 12 passenger decks and a guest capacity of 2668.
Tourism Minister Dr. Ernest Hilaire explained that continued docking of Holland America vessels is essential to Saint Lucia.
He disclosed that on Sunday morning, one thousand eight hundred people disembarked from the MS Rotterdam.
“We all know that the cruise industry is important to Saint Lucia. Many persons earn a living from passengers getting off the ship,” the Minister noted.
But he said a lot has changed with COVID-19, which has brought the difficulties of wearing masks, observing social distancing, or getting vaccinated.
“It has really created challenges for us, and we constantly try to find ways to make sure that as many people as possible benefit from the cruise passengers getting off the ship,” Hilaire observed.
At the same time, the Tourism Minister said Saint Lucia must ensure protocols are in place and individuals respect them because the safety of the people of this country is critical.
“I can tell you, as Minister, it has not been an easy task. We are constantly trying to make modifications to the protocols to engage all stakeholders and ensure that we can offer a benefit to everyone,” Hilaire explained.
Also present to welcome MS Rotterdam and participate in the plaque exchange ceremony held at Point Seraphine were officials from Agents – Cox and Company Limited, Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority, Chairman of the Board of the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority -Thaddeus M. Antoine, Chairman of the Board of Invest Saint Lucia – Lyndon Arnold and Tourism Ministry officials.
Headline photo: Captain Bas Van Dreumel receives commemorative plaque from Dr. Ernest Hilaire