In an exceptional milestone for its cruise tourism sector, the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis became the prestigious first stop for the world’s largest cruise ship, Icon of the Seas, on Tuesday, January 30, 2024. Part of the esteemed Royal Caribbean Fleet, the Icon of the Seas chose St. Kitts and Nevis as its initial destination after setting sail on its maiden voyage from Miami on January 27.
The arrival of Icon of the Seas at Port Zante in Basseterre signifies not only a new chapter in the nation’s thriving tourism industry but also underscores the global recognition and appeal of St. Kitts and Nevis as a premier cruise destination. This momentous occasion is a testament to the government’s commitment in partnership with stakeholders to enhancing the tourism infrastructure and services, ensuring a warm and memorable experience for all visitors.
In response to this significant event, Ellison “Tommy” Thompson, CEO of St. Kitts Tourism Authority, expressed his enthusiasm and optimism about the significant milestone.
“We are just really pleased that St. Kitts and Nevis is the first port of call on its inaugural revenue sailing, and we really value our relationship with Royal Caribbean and we will just grow from strength to strength,” CEO Thompson said while underscoring the strong partnership between the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis and Royal Caribbean. He highlighted a shared vision for continued growth and collaboration in the cruise tourism industry.
CEO Thompson said it is an absolute delight to have this magnificent vessel docked in our port today, and the prospect of it making regular visits to St. Kitts and Nevis is truly exciting for us.
Russell Benford, Vice President of Government Relations for the Royal Caribbean Group, shared his excitement and appreciation during the inaugural call of the Icon of the Seas to St. Kitts and Nevis. He reflected on the journey that led to this moment.
“This ship, the Icon of the Seas, represents seven years of dreaming, innovation, design and construction just to get her here today and I am so happy to be here in St. Kitts and Nevis to celebrate her inaugural call. We are super excited and we appreciate the hospitality,” he said, highlighting the long-term vision and effort behind the Icon of the Seas, and the significance of its arrival in St. Kitts and Nevis.
In celebration of this historic event, a series of cultural performances and festivities were held, showcasing the rich heritage and vibrant culture of St. Kitts and Nevis. These events provided an opportunity for cruise passengers to experience the unique charm and hospitality that the islands are renowned for.
The Icon of the Seas, spanning an impressive 365 meters (1,197 feet) in length, boasts 20 decks and has the capacity to accommodate up to 7,600 passengers and 2,350 crew members.