Honourable Cecil McKie, Minister of Tourism, Sports and Culture, welcomed the first cruise ship of the season on 26th October. The Pullmantur Zenith, a 12-deck vessel is owned by Pullmantur Cruises, a division of Royal Caribbean International and can carry more than 1,800 passengers and 600 crew.
Minister McKie led a delegation of officials and partners, who participated in a plaque exchange ceremony with the captain, on the first of the Zenith’s 13 calls to the destination. The Honourable Minister thanked the captain and crew for choosing Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), and said that he hoped the Zenith would keep visiting this destination.
On Friday 3rd November, SVG officially welcomed the 930-passenger Viking Sea, in Port Kingstown, for its inaugural call to this destination. Viking Sea is the ocean cruise ship operated by the Viking River Cruises company, which boasts medium size, five-star design cruise vessels.
The team, which led a delegation to give a special welcome and exchange of plaques to Mr. Florian Kibgilka, General Manager; and Captain, Bent-Ivar Gangdal; were Mr. Clayton Burgin, Chairman, SVG Port Authority; Mrs. Nichole Hazell Gun-Munro, SVG Port Authority; Ms. Michelle Forsyth, Coreas Tours; Ms. Kathique Haynes, SVG Tourism Authority; Ms. Jaqui English, SVG Tourism Authority; and Mrs. Jay Belmar, Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture.
The Viking Sea adds to the 2017 increase in cruise arrivals to destination SVG, which is expected to welcome over 220,000 cruise ship passengers from October through April 2018. This figure represents about three times the 2015 figure. Overall SVG expects 310 cruise ship calls for the 2017/18 season.
An animated Captain Gangdal expressed that he was pleased to once again be visiting SVG. He explained that he was familiar with the island, as he had sailed to the destination several times in the past on the Braemar.
Mrs. Michelle Forsyth expressed that she was delighted that Viking River Cruises added SVG to its itinerary, and looked forward to future visits by the ship. The Viking Sea, which will be based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, over the winter season, vaunts an elegant Scandinavian design, and every cabin comes with a balcony.
Striking features of the Viking Sea is an infinity pool translucent and cantilevered high over the rear of the ship, and the thermal suite which has a therapy pool, hot tub, steam room, heated stone loungers, and a snow grotto.
In 2013, Viking added to their leading reputation for river cruises, by branching out into ocean cruises and launching their first ocean liner in 2015. Viking was named a No. one Ocean Cruise Line by Travel + Leisure readers in the World’s Best Awards 2017.
SOURCE: Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture