Castries - On Sunday, December 30, 2018 Saint Lucia welcomed the inaugural call of the Zuiderdam at Port Castries. The Zuiderdam is the first of the Holland America Line Vista-class ships which started sailing some seventeen years ago.
Officials of the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA), along with representatives of the Ministry of Tourism, the Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA), and Cox and Company Limited greeted the arrival of the vessel with an exchange of plaques and pleasantries onboard.
SLTA Senior Marketing Manager, Ms. Jackie Mathurin welcomed the Captain and his crew with a champagne toast and pointed to recent upgrades at Port Castries for allowing the vessel to berth here.
“We’re so happy to have [the Zuiderdam] here on our island,” said Ms. Mathurin. “We’re happy that with the improvements [to the port] you can come, and we look forward to having a longer relationship with you, hopefully in 2019,” she added.
Captain of the Zuiderdam, Bart Vaartjes was excited to explore a new port in the Caribbean and is looking forward to returning to Saint Lucia.
“When we were planning this port we were looking at where we were going to put our gangways and, coming alongside, we found three beautiful dolphins and an extension to the pier which was really good to see,” Captain Vaartjes raved.
The Zuiderdam is 936 feet long with a capacity of 1964 guests and fitted with modern amenities and a ‘spectacular art and antique collection’.
Marketing and Customer Experience Executive at SLASPA, Marva Greenidge thanked Captain Vaartjes for referencing the improvements to the port.
“We are happy that you appreciate the ease of seamless maneuvering into our port and we hope that as the year comes to an end you remember Saint Lucia as one of the best ports of call,” Ms. Greenidge stated.
Usually, the Zuiderdam sails to Europe or to the Panama Canal region from Port Everglades in Florida. However, slightly different cruises are always scheduled around the holiday season.
Saint Lucia is on pace to welcome a record-breaking 800,000 cruise passengers to its shores for 2018. Last weekend, the Castries harbour was abuzz with five ships in port on Friday and another three mega cruise vessels berthed there on Saturday.
In addition to the Zuiderdam, Port Castries also welcomed inaugural calls of MSC Preziosa, Norwegian Jade and Norwegian Escape in 2018.