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Island News

Disney Cruises to Return in January

Cruise Ship Disney Fantasy will return to St. Maarten next month.  The ship will also make several calls here in February and March.  Tourism and Economic Affairs Minister Mellisa Arrindell-Doncher hailed Disney’s expected to return as “a major accomplishment for the destination” last week.  “This shows great confidence in the destination,” she said.  She thanked Disney Cruise Line for being “a great partner” as the country continues to rebound from the hard hit of Hurricane Irma.  “Despite what we recently went through with Hurricane Irma, we aim to maintain St. Maarten as a premier destination of choice for cruise visitors through meticulous planning, new experiences and a commitment.  

 

News courtesy of Caribbean Gems

Pan in Paradise Show in Festival Village this Year

This annual Steel Pan Christmas Concert organized by Ebony Steel Orchestra is still going strong after 26 years with the announcement last week that the show will take place in the Festival Village in Philipsburg this year.  The red carpet affair is organized by Dow’s Musical Foundation and is set for December 26.   The Foundation moved its pan school into the Festival Village recently and saw it fitting to have the show at the Village later this month.  The show will showcase steel pan talents of primary and high school talents. 

 

 

News courtesy of Caribbean Gems

Brown Pelicans Back After Irma

brownpelicanThe country’s national symbol – the brown pelican is personifying the post-Hurricane Irma tagline “St. Maarten Strong.”  A number of breeding pairs are re-establishing their nests below Fort Amsterdam.  Nature Foundation has recorded the re-establishment of breeding colonies after a check of the site a week after Irma revealed that the some 40 breeding were absent.  “We were very disappointed to note that the complete breeding site had been decimated, especially since we have been monitoring that area since 2010.  Last week, we returned to the site and to our surprise we found that the majority of breeding pairs had re-established themselves, with numerous nests being laid and eggs being brooded,” said Nature Foundation Manager Tadzio Bervoets.  The brown pelican is a key indicator species for the health of the marine environment.

St. Maarten Becomes First Partner of 'The Caribbean is Open' Campaing

The Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), the trade association representing the mutual interest of the cruise industry, destinations and stakeholders in the Caribbean and Latin America, has announced that St. Maarten has become the first destination partner of the Associations multi-faceted, million-dollar campaign “The Caribbean is Open.” 

“We could not be any prouder to partner with St. Maarten in this imperative initiative,” said FCCA president Michele Paige.  “They have worked around the clock to reopen for tourism and we look forward to showcasing those actions, along with the amazing products and friendly smiles awaiting visitors, to help inject a needed economic boost.” 

The destination’s perseverance has led to it already being open for tourism, with Princess Juliana International Airport SXM accepting commercial flights, replenished beaches, most shops, restaurants and bars open in Philipsburg and tour operators ready to deliver unforgettable experiences, cruise tourism will also resume port calls in December.   

 

News Courtesy of Caribbean Gems

SXM Airport is Back in Business

julianaairportPrincess Minister William Marlin and Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication Melissa Arrindell-Doncher welcomed the first commercial flights to St. Maarten on October 10th, 2017, marking the re-opening of Princess Juliana International Airport SXM.  The two ministers were present at 7:50am to welcome the first flight.  A festive welcome ceremony was organized that included live music, women in beautiful Carnival costumes, giveaway items, finger-food snacks and cold beverages.  The special welcome was put together by the airport, the Tourism Bureau and Topper’s Restaurant for the arrival of Delta Airlines, American Airlines and the remaining flights for the day.  “We are very grateful and thankful for the support and your arrival is a sign of confidence in the recovery of St. Maarten,” Marlin said.

 

News courtesy of Caribbean Gems

Cruise Partners Announce Return of Cruise Ships in December

39010 144358652247489 4980615 nSt. Maarten’s cruise partners at the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) conference in Merida, Mexico have identified mid-December as a better date to resume port calls to the destination according to a press release from the Ministry of Tourism last week.  Both Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean International committed to returning their vessels in close collaboration with the Port Authority and Ministry of Tourism.  Various cruise executives have been highly impressed by the progress St. Maarten has made thus far in preparing to welcome its first cruise tourists.  In a panel discussion including the top executives of Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Holland America and MSC Cruises, St. Maarten was lauded as being a very resilient island and having made remarkable progress.  

St.Maarteners have Fun at USC Tropical Bonanza

sunrise at the beachSt. Maarteners and others with Caribbean roots residing in different cities in the Netherlands enjoyed the first Tropical Bonanza of the Unified St. Maarten Connection (USC) at Lindo Beach in  Scheveningen, Holland last week. 

The fundraising event, which aimed at bringing the Caribbean to the Netherlands, was a combination of USC’s flagship event Eats N’ Treats, combined with sporting activities.  In the past year, USC has regularly organized highly successful sports events in The Hague which served as a get together for mainly St. Maarteners and other Windward Islands. 

Indoor beach location stirred up a true Caribbean feeling, especially for the persons who are not able to return home for the summer, said USC Netherlands Chapter Director Christella Garand.