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US Virgin Islands Seeks Cruise Pier Expansion



The US Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) is seeking to dredge St. Thomas’ Crown Bay Harbor, one of the Caribbean’s busiest cruise ship ports, to create navigational space for Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum-class and Oasis-class sized cruise ships to berth at the dock at the same time.

VIPA must modify its Coastal Zone Management permit with the US Virgin Islands’ Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) to allow the dredging, according to local press reports.

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If approved, the dredging would allow Royal Caribbean’s Quantum-class ships, which accommodate 4,180 passengers and measure 166,668 gross tons, to dock at the north side of the Crown Bay dock, while Oasis-size ships (the industry’s largest vessels 5,400 passengers and 225,282 gross tons) moored at the southern side simultaneously.

Two Quantum-class ships calling each week at Crown Bay Harbor during the territory’s the six-month cruise season would generate an additional 27,820 passengers, according to a St. John Source report. and those tourists would, on average, spend $224 per passenger – totaling more than $6 million flowing into the territory per year.

The project would impact 2.7 acres, while rock removed from dredging sites will be relocated at the notch of Crown Bay’s pier, extending the pier’s length.

DPNR members did not vote during a September 11 public meeting with officials from Bioimpact Inc., a private company contracted by DPNR to monitor the dredging process. The DPNR officials asked VIPA personnel to provide them with additional information from cruise lines that want to port in St. Thomas, according to the report.

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Cruise Companies Should Continue to Invest in Sustainable Technology



Research from GlobalData shows that travelers remain committed to seeking out sustainable options when traveling and suggests that cruise companies keep their eye on the ball.

More than one-third (34 percent) of respondents to GlobalData’s Coronavirus Consumer Survey have said they are still interested in news about a brand’s sustainability initiatives, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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“The main priority for cruise companies at this moment is survival. This will rightly be the main focus until a sense of normality returns to the industry,” Ben Cordwell, travel and tourism analyst at GlobalData, said. “However, companies need to be aware that throwing all their resources at this challenge could have serious repercussions in the long term.”

Cruise companies have increasingly relied on technological advances to operate in more environmentally friendly ways, including using cleaner fuels to curb emissions and reducing the cost of fuel. Cruises are also using digital capabilities that allow for analysis of weather conditions and the optimization of propulsion rate and speed.

Hurtigruten is one cruise line that is leading the way with sustainable practices. Last year, the line introduced its first hybrid vessel, the MS Roald Amundsen, and it has announced that it is converting three more of its existing ships to hybrid power, too.

After a reset to the travel industry as a whole due to the coronavirus pandemic, many consumers may look to move forward with vacations that put less stress on the environment.

“As the general public’s awareness of environmental damage increases, some travelers are likely to be reluctant to go on a holiday with a large carbon footprint,” added Cordwell. “Therefore, it is essential that cruise companies continue to invest in sustainable technology to ensure they continue to attract customers in the years to come.”

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