Following last week’s announcement that Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Millennium will homeport in St. Maarten this summer, the island of Saint Lucia, one of Millennium’s ports of call, is gearing up to welcome its first international cruise ship since closing down its tourism sector, more than a year ago, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Celebrity Millennium will sail to Saint Lucia on a mid-July itinerary, in addition to visiting other islands and homeports of St. Marten and Barbados on its Southern Caribbean route.
Preliminary discussions with Celebrity’s parent company, Royal Caribbean International, include a commitment that passengers and crew over the age of 18 years are vaccinated, meet full compliance to pre-arrival COVID-19 testing, and that tour operations stay within a Green Corridor.
Additionally, all persons disembarking are subject to the standard protocols of wearing a face mask, abiding physical distancing, and sanitizing.
“The overall aim is to ensure that while the cruise sector can continue to benefit the local economy, as a collective, we can also ensure that our local populace is kept safe,” reads a statement on the Government of Saint Lucia’s website.
A special committee has been established to provide oversight to the resumption of cruise tourism which include the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Health, Port Health, Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority, Invest Saint Lucia, Customs, Immigration, Port Security, Royal Saint Lucia Police Force, Saint Lucia Tourism Authority and Cruise Agencies - Cox and Company Limited and Foster and Ince.
“We are enthusiastic that with the advent of science and technology amid this pandemic, we can prepare for a silver lining. The impact of the cruise sector has been noted the world over and its absence has left an impression on our island’s people. We are therefore looking forward to working within strict protocol to see the successful resumption of the sector,” stated Tourism Minister, the Hon. Dominic Fedee.
Dialogue with key sector agencies have delved into the health and safety facet which remains of “paramount interest,” the government says, and the dialogue will be heightened with suppliers and other operators “over the next few weeks.”
The committee will meet regularly to closely review and approve protocols for the resumption of the cruise industry, port health procedures, review of the terminal and its operations and logistics for the execution of excursions within protocol.
Discussions are ongoing with several cruise partners that aim to see more vessels schedule their call into Port Castries in the near future.
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