Cruise Lines Return to St. Thomas, Other Islands

October 16, 2017
Cruise ships docked in St. Thomas on a hazy day

(2:55 p.m. EDT) -- The countdown is on for cruisers looking to get back to popular Caribbean destinations like St. Thomas and St. Maarten. After a lull of two months following Hurricane Irma, Royal Caribbean has revealed it will return to St. Thomas November 10 aboard Adventure of the Seas.

A statement issued by Royal Caribbean said: "In partnership with the government of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Royal Caribbean also has committed to undertaking the complete restoration of Magens Bay, one of St. Thomas' most popular tourist attractions...

"With power and water to the island fully restored and most downtown shops, restaurants and bars and tour operators fully operational, guests will be able to experience a diverse and extensive array of dining, shopping and activities."

Royal Caribbean added that as of now, downtown shops are open and have full power, the majority of restaurants and bars are also open, and the boats and catamarans that are used to enjoy the waters of the Caribbean are ready for cruise passengers.

In addition to returning to St. Thomas, Royal Caribbean plans to return to St. Maarten and San Juan, as a port of call, by the end of November. Adventure of the Seas already had returned to San Juan as a homeport October 7.

At the State of the Tourism Industry Conference held in Grenada October 12, Director of Tourism Rolando Brison reported that despite sustaining extensive damage, the port at Philipsburg, St. Maarten (one of the Caribbean's busiest, welcoming more than a million passengers a year) should re-open November 11 (St. Maarten Day) and that they expect to receive "at least one or two ships" a day throughout the winter 2017/18 tourist season.

A statement on the Facebook page of the Port of St. Maarten said in preliminary talks, the cruise port expects to re-open to Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas November 5.

Meanwhile, Celebrity Cruises has stated that its October 28 Celebrity Summit sailing would be the first to return to St. Thomas.

MSC Cruises' MSC Divina is scheduled to call at St. Thomas, Antigua and Nassau on a cruise departing November 11.

For the latest on which Caribbean cruise ports are open, refer to our regularly updated list.

--By Brittany Chrusciel, Associate Editor