The Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association confirmed Thursday the “momentous rebound” Puerto Rico has made following the back-to-back strikes by Hurricanes Irma and María, last year.
“Puerto Rico has made a momentous rebound because of the collaboration between the FCCA, our member lines, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company and other government entities,” said Michele Paige, president of the FCCA.
“From relief and repair to multifaceted media initiatives, all parties have worked tirelessly together to bring back tourism sooner than expected and, more importantly, assist the destination and its people in a time of need — serving as a true testament of our partnership and a model for future recovery efforts,” she said.
As a trade association representing the mutual interests of destinations and stakeholders in the Caribbean and Latin America and its member lines operating nearly 200 vessels in its partner destinations, the FCCA has built a cooperative relationship to enhance the experience for cruisers visiting Puerto Rico, which was on full display during the destination’s comeback after the storms.
“We have been in direct communication with our FCCA partners since day one, who have shown great commitment to Puerto Rico and proven the industry’s resiliency,” said Tourism Co. Acting Executive Director Carla Campos.
“Our cruise industry partners became strong allies in the implementation of our Destination Recovery Plan, a comprehensive strategy designed to secure a promising comeback for Puerto Rico,” she said.
San Juan Harbor resumed homeport operations two and a half weeks after Hurricane María, with the sailing of Royal Caribbean International’s Adventure of the Seas, on Oct. 7, 2017. Since then, more than 160,000 homeport passengers have embarked from San Juan.
Additionally, more than 250,000 cruise passengers have visited San Juan on transit calls since Hurricane María. As of today, close to 60 cruise shore excursions are fully operational.
These excursions were instrumental in San Juan’s ability to renew transit calls in November, proving once again the importance of Puerto Rico as a leading cruising hub in the Caribbean, tourism officials said.
Puerto Rico will host the annual FCCA Cruise Conference and Trade Show, the Association’s keynote event and the largest cruise conference and trade show in the region, Nov. 5–9, the first of four consecutive years.
Puerto Rico’s 2017-2018 cruise season will also mark the arrival of Royal Caribbean International’s Freedom of the Seas for weekly year-round sailings when it replaces Adventure of the Seas, on May 12, 2018.
With capacity of more than 4,500 passengers, Freedom of the Seas can accommodate 700 more passengers than Adventure of the Seas and will become the largest cruise ship to ever homeport in San Juan — a big reason why current cruise traffic for the 2018-2019 season in San Juan is projected to be a record-breaking 1.7 million passengers, with an economic impact of approximately $250 million, Tourism Co. officials said.