World’s largest cruise ships could soon be able to dock at St. Thomas and St. Croix

Oct 1, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

More of the largest Royal Caribbean International ships could soon call on the U.S. Virgin Islands. Royal Caribbean Group on Wednesday entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Caribbean island chain, allowing the two entities to begin planning pier expansion in St. Thomas and, eventually, St. Croix.

The two parties signed the MOU at a press conference during Seatrade Cruise Global, the cruise industry’s annual conference, which took place in Miami this week.

For more cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG’s cruise newsletter.

View of the cruise port in St. Thomas. (Photo by sorincolac/iStock/Getty Images)

“If you think of how many tourists we’ve brought to the Virgin Islands over 50 years, it’s in the tens of millions of tourists and, of course, many, many crew members, and it’s always been one of the most popular and iconic destinations Royal Caribbean visits,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International. I am delighted today that we’re entering into this MOU.”

“The USVI has been there for us, and it’s a mutual partnership….” said Joshua Carroll, Royal Caribbean Group’s vice president of destination development. “We’re the largest guest deliverer to St. Croix. We’re here because … we want to help grow the product in St. Croix and make it an even greater destination and … in St. Thomas, where we’re also the largest customer. This, again, is an opportunity for a win-win and mutual growth for both of us.”

Under the development plan, which is still preliminary, Jayne Halcomb, Royal Caribbean Group’s director of destination development in the Caribbean and the Americas, said Royal Caribbean will partner with the USVI to increase the number of calls on the islands and to, over time, further increase capacity by adding new berths that will accommodate more of the cruise line’s largest ships.

According to Halcomb, tentative plans include adding two new pier areas to the Crown Bay port facility in St. Thomas — one that will have two berths large enough to welcome vessels that include the line’s new Icon Class, which will hold about 5,000 passengers, and another with one berth that will offer enough space for the line’s 4,200-passenger Quantum Class.

Carambola Beach, St.Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. (Photo by cdwheatley/Getty Images)

“This project is very exciting because as we grow, we are going to see Crown Bay grow, and we’re going to see a total of three berths, two of them Icon [Class]-capable” Halcomb said. “We’re going to be looking at the area surrounding it and developing that … adding more attractions and enriching it even more than it is [enriched] today…. Additionally, at St. Croix, we’re going to be focusing on some of the community projects that they have in pipeline…. We’re working with the chamber of commerce on how we can add more guest attractions … and ultimately bring more guest volume to St. Croix, as well.”

During the conference, USVI officials said there will also be work done at St. Croix’s Frederiksted port area, including dredging, which will allow Royal Caribbean’s largest ships — those in the 5,600-passenger Oasis Class — to visit the island.

There is currently no official plan, which means details about the projects’ size, cost and timeline haven’t yet been decided. However, Halcomb said part of Royal Caribbean’s overall commitment will involve coming up with ways to ensure that local businesses benefit from visiting cruise passengers.

“We were thrilled when Governor Bryan’s cabinet reached out and asked us to co-sponsor and host a series of community business forums over the past 18 months. This was a platform that gave us the opportunity to reach out to existing, new and aspiring business owners in St. Croix and St. Thomas on how they’re going to be able to connect with our cruise ship passengers in this new COVID world…. Ultimately, our goal is to help stimulate the tourism economy.”

Featured photo by Buena Vista Images/Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.