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HomeNewsArchivesDisney Cruise Lines Announces Seven Stops on St. Croix for 2009

Disney Cruise Lines Announces Seven Stops on St. Croix for 2009

Dec. 3, 2007 — The St. Croix cruise industry may be on the upswing: Gov. John deJongh Jr. announced Tuesday that Disney Cruise Lines will make seven visits to St. Croix as part of its 2009 itinerary.
The governor made the announcement in a news release issued from Miami, Fla., where he is participating in the annual Conference on the Caribbean.
"My administration's efforts in negotiating with the cruise lines to include St. Croix on Eastern Caribbean cruises have begun to yield favorable results," deJongh said in the release. Beginning in 2009, St. Croix will be a featured stop on one new seven-night itinerary the line is introducing, Disney representatives said. The ship will visit twice in January and once each in February, March, October, November and December.
Cruise-ship calls — or the lack of them — on St. Croix have been a major topic for residents and shipping lines for several years.
In October, Steve Vasaturo, president of the St. Thomas shipping agency Deliver It, said, "Cruise ships to St. Croix is one of those very hot topics … several of the lines … have shown an interest in St. Croix and have asked me for pro-forma invoices for services in St. Croix." (See "Big Ships Cruising Slowly Back Toward St. Croix.")
Bunkering calls by Royal Caribbean's cruise lines were abruptly canceled in November 2006 with no explanation. (See "Frederiksted Cruise Ship Plans Canceled.") The ships began bunkering on St. Croix in 2004 to take advantage of the lower cost of fuel there.
The MS Columbus called on St. Croix last month; it was the first cruise ship to make a daytime visit to the island in several years. (See "Cruise Ship Gets Elaborate Welcome in Frederiksted.")
DeJongh expressed pleasure that, after months of discussion, Disney "stepped forward with a solid commitment." The chief executive said other cruise lines will soon follow suit, adding that St. Croix offers cruise tourists a unique experience.
"St. Croix is poised to become a port of call for other cruise lines, as well," deJongh said. "My administration is committed to branding St. Croix as its own destination with a completely different appeal and offering when compared to St. Thomas. St. Croix has a unique mix of colonial-style architecture (and) natural wonders to include marine habitats."
The news is generating outside interest. The website Cruise Critic remarked on the new addition to the Disney cruise line-up.
"St. Croix, which as a cruise port lies in the shadow of St. Thomas and St. John, its other U.S. Virgin Islands siblings, got a huge boost today when Disney Cruise Line announced that it will send Disney Magic there on select special itineraries in 2009," Cruise Critic announced.
The article went on the say that St. Croix is an "intriguing choice," and highlighted the island's popular landmarks, including the Buck Island Reef National Monument, "one of the Caribbean's most popular snorkeling destinations"; the rain forest; "fantastic scuba diving"; Danish colonial architecture; the Cruzan Rum Distillery; Divi Carina Bay Casino; the Carambola golf course; and the historic plantations and sugar mills.
Saying Disney's commitment to St. Croix is "symbolic," the website cited issues of safety that "prompted lines to change course and bypass the island."
A Disney spokesman countered, "Concerns about crime there are no longer an issue."
"From what we've seen of St. Croix, we feel it is a perfectly safe destination for our passengers," said Disney spokesman Jason Lasecki. "It's beautiful. When you look at it from the pier and the shopping district they've set up, everything is in place to create a wonderful experience for our guests."
Representatives from Disney were on St. Croix this past weekend filming scenes on Buck Island, at Cruzan Rum, in Estate Whim, at the Ann E. Abramson Marine Terminal and at other sites. The material will be used in promoting the port calls to St. Croix, the governor's news release said.
While in Florida, deJongh has scheduled meetings with representatives of other major cruise lines, including Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean International, to increase summer traffic to the Virgin Islands and add St. Croix as a port call on Eastern or Western Caribbean itineraries.
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