Cruise ship calls soar for U.S.V.I.

CHARLOTTE AMALIE -- Scheduled winter season cruise ship calls in the U.S. Virgin Islands are up substantially over the same period a year ago, according to a recent Virgin Islands Port Authority listing.

St. Croix's schedule, which runs from Nov. 1 through April 30, calls for 114 cruise ship visits, up from 61 calls last winter.

In St. Thomas, 786 ships are scheduled to call from Oct. 14 through May 17. This figure compares with 716 during the same period last year.

St. Croix's geographic location as the first U.S. site in the Western Hemisphere to greet the millennium accounts for 10 ship calls between Dec. 26 and Jan. 1, with four slated on Dec. 30. Norwegian Cruise Line's Norway will visit on Jan. 1.

At least five vessels visiting St. Thomas this season are scheduled to call eight or more times from November through April.

Through June, 463 ships called in St. Thomas, down from 522 in the same period a year ago; St. Croix figures are 49 and 58, respectively.

Cruise passengers to St. Croix last year numbered 154,300, an 85.5% jump in the past five years, while St. Thomas cruise visitors totaled 1.54 million last year, a 6% increase in the same time period.

A complete schedule of cruise ship calls is available from the West Indian Co., which administers the cruise docks, at (340) 774-1780.

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