ST. LUCIA – Well known in the region and once a staple of the Eastern Caribbean cruise sector, the Carnival Destiny sailed out of the sub region last year. Carnival Cruise Lines had booked another destination onto its itinerary, opting for the Dominican Republic.
It was seemingly the final farewell to the ship’s calls to the Castries Harbour until government and other stakeholders engaged the cruise line in a fresh round of negotiations in order to encourage its return to Saint Lucia.
On Wednesday, November 7th officials, via a press conference announced those negotiations were successful and had given birth to a new commitment that will extend to 2011. Minister for Communications, Works, Transport and Public Utility Honourable Guy Joseph who has responsibility for the Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority SLASPA, broke the good news.
“ It is indeed a joyous moment to stand here to announce that Carnival Cruise Lines have indicated that Carnival Destiny is going to remain in Saint Lucia and starting March 02nd 2008, we would have everything formally organized and they would be calling on port here.”
Minister for Tourism Senator the Honourable Allen Chastanet was recognized for being instrumental in the successful return of the cruise line, but said he it was a collective effort, not a one man job.
“So many other people are behind the scenes making this happen, first of all I want to really congratulate the private sector that stepped up to the plate in terms of financially helping support this effort – the duty free shoppers, and also in particular the national taxi association and other associations that were involved in keeping this thing here; in terms of the government , there was the Ministry of Tourism, SLASPA itself and also NDC also participated very heavily.”
The major cruise season in the Caribbean runs from October through May annually.