Royal Caribbean Signs 10-year Deal with US Virgin Islands

Royal Caribbean has released details on the newest addition to its fleet set to sail next year, the Quantum of the Seas, an 18-deck ship that can carry 4,180 guestsRoyal Caribbean, the world’s second largest cruise line, signed a 10-year deal with the U.S. Virgin Islands in order to boost tourism and generate revenue. The agreement was reached after several years of negotiation and begins in October 2016.

The deal between the Virgin Islands Port Authority and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line was finalized in December 2015. The agreement is for 10 years with a five-year option to renew and becomes effective on October 1, 2016, officials said in a statement.

According to Port Authority Executive Director Carlton Dowe, the contract benefits both parties. It requires Royal Caribbean to guarantee a certain amount of passengers and pay a fee to berth at the island of St. Croix which has been free for the last 13 years. Dowe said that the Ann E.Abramson Marine Facility on St. Croix has been a “tremendous financial burden” to the port since 2002 and “this practice could no longer be continued.” The port CEO added that the fees would allow the port to invest in improvement of its infrastructure. The executive director thanked the former board chair of the port, Robert O’Connor Jr and the current chair Robert Cintron for their leadership throughout the talks. Dowe also thanked the previous and current administration as well as Gov. Kenneth Mapp for his support throughout the negotiations. The executive director noted that the agreement is expected to benefit the entire territory, including the merchants, restaurants, taxis and tour operators.

Royal Caribbean is the second largest cruise line in the world and has a fleet of seven ship classes: Freedom, Voyager, Radiance, Vision, Sovereign, Quantum and Oasis. The Allure of the Seas and the Oasis of the Seas are the two largest ships in the world that already alternate weekly visits to Crown Bay. Both cruise ships can bring up to 6,300 passengers per visit.

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