MIAMI — Royal Caribbean International is gearing up for its return to San Juan, Puerto Rico and Philipsburg, St. Maarten after both destinations were hit hard by recent hurricanes.
On Nov. 30, Freedom of the Seas will be the first ship in the fleet to call on San Juan, arriving with approximately 3,782 visitors. Grandeur of the Seas will follow suit on Dec. 17 as the first cruise ship to sail into St. Maarten since Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas arrived last month to provide humanitarian relief.
This announcement comes on the heels of Royal Caribbean’s recent news that Adventure of the Seas will be the first ship to call on St. Thomas on Nov. 10.
“Royal Caribbean is encouraged by the commendable progress that has been made by the governments of Puerto Rico and St. Maarten towards the recovery of these destinations and it means a lot to us that we are heading back home. We have been part of the Caribbean community for almost 50 years, and for all of us it has been paramount that we focus on supporting our long-standing partners – who feel more like family after so many years,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Supporting these destinations that are so reliant on tourism is key to the future of the islands and the best thing we – as travelers and businesses – can do for the islands.”
Power and transportation in San Juan are on track to be readily available by Nov. 30, which means cruise passengers can fully explore the island by foot, bike, Segway or bus. Similarly, the return of power and water to most of St. Maarten means that a majority of the shops, restaurants, bars and tour operators around Philipsburg will be fully operational for guests to experience.
As of Nov. 30, all scheduled calls to San Juan and St. Thomas across 10 ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet will operate as planned – including calls from the world’s largest cruise ships each sailing with nearly 6,000 new visitors each week – Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas. The scheduled visits to St. Maarten will operate as planned starting on Dec. 17 with the exception of Oasis of the Seas, which will make its first call to the island on Jan. 1 during her New Year’s Eve cruise.
Additionally, the global cruise line will return to St. Croix on Jan. 8 with the arrival of Jewel of the Seas, which will sail from San Juan. All calls to Dominica are cancelled through June 2018 and the cruise line is working closely with the local government on a return date to the destination.