Royal Caribbean Cruises and St. Lucia strike port deal

CASTRIES, St. Lucia, April 24, 2008 – The Florida-based Royal Caribbean Cruise Limited has entered a deal with St. Lucia that will see government making the capital a dedicated cruise port.

Prime Minister Stephenson King said the agreement which will give effect to this initiative, which includes development and expansion plans for both the north and the south of the island, will be signed in the coming weeks.

“During this financial year, government in collaboration with Royal Caribbean Cruise Limited will commence the development and expansion  of the waterfront  area of Castries to make the city a major cruise port and  duty free shopping centre that will cater of cruise tourists, hotel visitors and the local public alike,” he said during his budget presentation.

He said the development is also expected to substantially increase the amount of airlift into St Lucia as cruise passengers will be flying in connect to with Royal Caribbean and other cruise ships.

Prime Minister King said a project in the south will also unfold shortly in order to expand and develop the Vieux-Fort Port.

“In the coming weeks, Dubai Ports World, one of the world’s largest port operators is expected to conclude a public/private partnership with the government of St. Lucia through the air and sea ports authority to develop and expand port operations of Vieux-Fort,” he revealed.

Under this arrangement, all commercial cargo coming into to St. Lucia will be landed at Port Vieux-Fort, freeing port Castries to become a dedicated cruise port.