On Sunday, December 30, 2018 Saint Lucia welcomed the inaugural call of the Zuiderdam at Port Castries.
According to the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA), the vessel is the first of the Holland America Line Vista-class ships which started sailing some seventeen years ago.
SLTA officials, along with representatives of the Ministry of Tourism, the Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA), and Cox and Company Limited greeted the arrival of the vessel with an exchange of plaques and pleasantries on board, according a release from the Authority.
SLTA Senior Marketing Manager, Ms. Jackie Mathurin welcomed the Captain and his crew with a champagne toast and pointed to recent upgrades at Port Castries for allowing the vessel to berth here, the release stated.
It said the Captain of the Zuiderdam, Bart Vaartjes was excited to explore a new port in the Caribbean and is looking forward to returning to Saint Lucia.
The Zuiderdam is 936 feet long with a capacity of 1964 guests and fitted with modern amenities and a ‘spectacular art and antique collection’, the SLTA said.
Usually, the Zuiderdam sails to Europe or to the Panama Canal region from Port Everglades in Florida.
However, slightly different cruises are always scheduled around the holiday season.
According to the SLTA, this country is on pace to welcome a record-breaking 800,000 cruise passengers to its shores for 2018.
“Last weekend, the Castries harbour was abuzz with five ships in port on Friday and another three mega cruise vessels berthed there on Saturday. In addition to the Zuiderdam, Port Castries also welcomed inaugural calls of MSC Preziosa, Norwegian Jade and Norwegian Escape in 2018,” the SLTA recalled.