(7:45 a.m. EST) -- A new $48 million pier capable of handling ships the size of Royal Caribbean's Oasis-class vessels and Carnival's new Excel Class (Mardi Gras) has just opened at Port Zante on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts.
The addition of this second pier allows St. Kitts to accommodate up to three of the world's largest cruise ships at once. The island, which holds a population of 55,000, welcomed more than 1 million cruisers each of the last two seasons -- a number that could dramatically rise for the 2019-2020 season with an increase of larger vessels expected to call on the port.
Located in Basseterre, the multimillion-dollar project was financed by four different sources, including the island's Citizenship by Investment program.
Representatives from the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association met with officials in St. Kitts and Nevis to discuss the country's burgeoning cruise tourism, remarking that the islands stand to benefit from increased passenger spending ashore.
St Kitts and Nevis' Tourism Minister, Lindsey Grant, remarked that, "Our meetings ensure that we understand the needs of the cruise lines and their passengers, receive feedback on our service standards and guest experience, and provide insight into cruise industry trends such as new ships and itineraries for upcoming seasons, all of which will help us to remain competitive as a premier cruise destination moving forward."
St. Kitts and Nevis is ideally positioned on Eastern Caribbean itineraries, situated not far from the U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda.