Another Caribbean nation is gearing up for a return to normalcy and it’s especially good news for cruisers! The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis announced in a press release that international visitors would be welcome beginning in October. The reopening applies to tourists traveling to the islands by air and by sea.
A Safe Reopening for St. Kitts & Nevis
Back in April, Porthole Cruise Magazine Editor-in-Chief Bill Panoff spoke with Lindsay Grant, the Federation’s Minister of Tourism, to discuss the island’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr. Grant expressed optimism that tourism would come back stronger than ever and the reopening of the islands is the first step in the recovery process. In the interview, Mr. Grant said he believed that cruising would be one of the first tourism industries to bring visitors back to the islands.
In order to reopen safely, local officials have partnered with hotels and resorts on the islands on a standard for health and safety protocols as they pertain to COVID-19. In order to qualify for reopening, each hotel and resort must earn a “Travel Approved” certification from the tourism authority signifying that they’ve passed all training requirements.
“The St Kitts Tourism Authority, the Nevis Tourism Authority, and the Ministry of Tourism, in conjunction with the ministries of health and civil aviation, is conducting […] training exercises for over 5,000 tourism industry stakeholders, including hotels at no cost to them,” said Grant.
All in all, St. Kitts & Nevis did well preventing the spread of the virus. There are currently no active cases and the nation recorded zero COVID-19 related deaths over the course of the pandemic so far.
A Growing Cruise Destination
The news that cruise ships would be allowed in port beginning in October was an important development for the islands. In recent years, St. Kitts & Nevis have seen record numbers of cruise passengers, even breaking the million passenger mark for 2018 and 2019. As a result, St. Kitts had to build a second cruise pier to accommodate the growing number of cruisers visiting the island.
The October reopening aligns with the expiration of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s no-sail order. However, there’s plenty of skepticism that cruises will be allowed to resume operation in October. Some cruise lines, like Princess Cruises, have already cancelled all cruises until mid-December with the speculation that the no-sail order will be extended.
Have you cruised to St. Kitts & Nevis? Let us know about your experience in the comments below!
Watch the full interview with Lindsay Grant from earlier this year: