Officials in St. Kitts and the U.S. Virgin Islands welcomed the recent decision by Royal Caribbean to reintroduce summer cruising to the region after indicating that no new ship tonnage is slated for deployment in the Caribbean before 2014.

Ricky Skerritt, minister of tourism for St. Kitts and Nevis, told the House of Assembly in St. Kitts that Royal Caribbean's decision to redeploy the Jewel of the Seas to the Caribbean from May to October 2013 with 25 sailings out of San Juan will result in 16 additional calls to Port Zante in St. Kitts next summer, bringing in more than 33,800 passengers.

He added that the Adventure of the Seas will return for winter 2013-14, alternating between two southern Caribbean itineraries from San Juan, and that Carnival Cruise Lines will continue its weekly year-round schedule to Port Zante, which has been in effect since 2008.

In the USVI, Gov. John de Jongh Jr. said that Royal Caribbean's new 2013-14 deployment "demonstrates the cruise line's continued commitment to the Virgin Islands, and to the re-emergence of St. Croix as a port of call."

The Jewel of the Seas will visit St. Thomas several times during the 2013-14 season, and Adventure of the Seas will call on both St. Thomas and St. Croix on various sailings.

USVI Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty said that the itineraries "reflect Royal Caribbean's belief that the ports here are desired by its passengers and will remain so in the coming years."

Follow Gay Nagle Myers on Twitter @gnmtravelweekly.

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