St. Croix cruise pier holds up to hurricane; update on USVI hotels

St Croix cruise pier
A cruise ship in St. Croix last winter. Photo Credit: Darryl Brooks/Shutterstock

The Ann E. Abramson Marine Facility pier in Frederiksted, St. Croix’s deepwater cruise ship facility, withstood the barrage of wind and storm surge from Hurricane Maria, according to U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp.

The runway at Henry Rohlsen Airport has been cleared but relief flights have not yet begun.

The government is working with the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association to coordinate humanitarian missions to evacuate residents, primarily those with medical conditions. The hospital and medical center on St. Croix were breached by Maria.

The governor conducted a flyover of St. Croix on Thursday and reported that the western and southwestern portions of the island received the greatest damage from Maria’s winds and water.

Until further notice, a 24-hour curfew remains in place for St. Croix, although the curfew is suspended today between noon and 4 p.m. to allow for essential tasks such as refueling or picking up supplies from the four distribution centers on the island.

Curfew hours for St. Thomas and St. John are 6 p.m. to 10 a.m.

FEMA urban search and rescue teams arrived on St. Croix Thursday night.

“It’s going to be a long road to recovery. It ain’t gonna happen overnight. We have to manage our expectations realistically and we will get through this,” Mapp said in a media briefing on Thursday.

He called for “all hands on deck” as the USVI expands its recovery efforts. Maria significantly impacted St. Croix and worsened conditions in hurricane-affected St. Thomas and St. John.

Hotel updates on St. Croix:

• Divi Carina Bay Beach Resort & Casino reported that the grounds sustained damage and assessment is underway.

• Caravelle Hotel & Casino is operational and will accommodate relief workers.

• Hotel on the Cay survived the storm and will house first responders and the Air National Guard.

• The Buccaneer was spared major damage and guests and staff are safe.

St. John:

• Caneel Bay is closed. Further updates for 2018 will become available in due course.

• Westin St. John is closed until further notice.

St. Thomas:

• Point Pleasant sustained some damage. Guests should cancel all reservations through Nov. 15.

• Sugar Bay Resort & Spa is closed.

• Windward Passage is closed.

• Club Wyndham Reservations advises that all four St. Thomas resorts are closed until Oct. 10, including Margaritaville Vacation Club, Bluebeard’s Beach Club, WorldMark St. Thomas and Elysian Beach Resort.

• Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas is closed.

• Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort is closed.

• Bolongo Bay Beach Resort is housing relief workers and people in need. It hopes to reopen in the second or third week of December.

Cunard announces plans for its first new ship in 12 years

Cunard announces plans for its first new ship in 12 years

Cunard has announced plans to add a fourth ship to its fleet – its first new ship in 12 years.

The new 3,000 passenger ship, which will be built at the Fincantieri shipyard, was announced as Cunard marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of the legendary QE2.

The new ship will join the fleet in 2022, joining Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth.

It will be the first time since 1998 that the brand has had four ships in service at the same time. The new build will be the 249th ship to fly the Cunard flag, according to the line.

Simon Palethorpe, senior vice president of Cunard, said: “We have only recently marked the 50th anniversary of one of Cunard’s much-loved ocean liners, the legendary QE2.

“What better way to celebrate her important role in Cunard’s past than by announcing our commitment to Cunard’s future with the commissioning of a new ship. Cunard offers unrivalled luxury ocean experiences and the new ship firmly underpins our plans to continue our growth across international markets.”

The news of Cunard’s expansion comes just a week after Silversea announced a new ship order.

Silversea said the move signalled buoyancy in the market. These two announcements are the latest sign of the strength of the luxury cruise sector, with Ritz-Carlton recently announcing its plans to enter the cruise sector with three yachts. Meanwhile, Celebrity Cruises has three ships on order, Ponant has four, and Crystal Cruises, Scenic, Seabourn and Star Clippers also have new vessels set to launch.

Norwegian is still “a plus” on it!

Norwegian Star in Cabo san Lucas, Photo by Dave Jones

After the great success of Premium All Inclusive, Norwegian Cruise Line is now a step further and presents new Premium All Inclusive Plus. In addition to the existing inclusive services, guests of the international shipping company now benefit from five additional extras per cabin which are valid for selected cruises of nine days or longer:

  • 120 minutes telephone package
  • 250 minutes internet package
  • 50 USD credit for land excursions per port
  • Hotel vouchers of up to 80 EUR in selected ports
  • Flight vouchers up to 150 EUR

“We receive very positive feedback from Premium All Inclusive from our customers as well as from our sales partners. With the offer our guests always keep their costs in view and can concentrate on board so completely on their cruising experience. With Premium All Inclusive Plus, we are now creating further incentives for our long journeys, “said Christian Böll, Managing Director EMEA at Norwegian Cruise Line.

Premium All Inclusive Plus applies to numerous cruises in the Baltic Sea, the Mediterranean, the Canaries, South America, along the Panama Canal and the Asia-Pacific region.

Premium All Inclusive
In addition to a varied dining experience and the spectacular entertainment program, Premium All Inclusive includes a wide selection of spirits, barrels and bottled beers, wines in the glass, various cocktails (each up to US $ 15) and coffee specialties in the restaurants as well soft drinks. Also the crew tip as well as drinking charges for inclusive services are included. There is also a bottle of water per person and day on the cabin.