The Celebrity Equinox has docked at St. Kitts’ Port Zante with 1,147 passengers onboard. According to a press release, the ship arrived at 06:50 a.m. on Sept. 14, 2021.
“Today is a day of hope. It is my privilege to welcome the captain and crew of the Celebrity Equinox back to St. Kitts for the first commercial call to Port Zante since March 2020. This day has been anxiously anticipated, and a long time in coming, as we continued our phased approach to rebuilding the cruise sector. The Royal Caribbean Group is a valued partner and with calls from their three main brands, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea, were instrumental in the destination welcoming over 1 million passengers for two consecutive years, cementing our position in the marketplace as a marquee port,” said Minister of Tourism, Transport and Ports, Lindsay F.P. Grant.
“This is exciting – we have been waiting 17 months for this day! Seventeen months during which we experienced the negative impacts of COVID-19 and observed the collapse of economies globally. Tourism industries around the world suffered significant losses and the face of travel changed. However, we have made significant strides; this industry is resilient and has the power to sustain livelihoods. Today, on this momentous occasion, we continue our progressive journey to rebuild tourism safely in a manner that allows us to continue our tradition as a marquee port and reap economic benefits for all,” remarked CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, Racquel Brown.
According to the press release, all passengers onboard the ship have been fully vaccinated, with the exception of one person under the age of 12. The vaccination rate in St. Kitts and Nevis has set a benchmark as the highest in the OECS and the region, with 75.1 percent of the target population receiving one dose and 66.3 percent of the target population fully vaccinated as of Sept. 13, 2021.
Cruise ship passengers have explored the destination via bubble vaccinated tours and attraction sites, where the passengers interacted solely with fully vaccinated tour operators, seaport officials and any other cruise-related personnel. These sites included Brimstone Hill Fortress and National Park, Carambola Beach Club, Caribelle Batik, Fairview Great House, Palms Court Gardens, Port Zante including vendors from Amina Craft Market and Black Rocks, and St. Kitts Scenic Railway.
St. Kitts’ Port Zante said that it has provided cruise passengers with an experience to “shop freely” in the open port and enjoy the variety of crafts, jewelry, souvenirs, restaurants, bars and the casino.
To maintain the integrity of the bubble, the public has been asked not to venture into these designated areas while the ship is in port.