POINTE BLANCHE--Port St. Maarten will welcome five new cruise ships this month.
The forecast for November is 67 calls and an estimated 178,953 cruise passengers. November 2015 had 70 calls and 184,338 passengers.
November also will see two days with six ships in port (November 16 and 30) and two days with seven ships in port (November 24 and 26), the Port announced on Thursday.
Eleven cruise ships calling this month will also remain in port until midnight, a plus for restaurants in and around Philipsburg.
Cruise season 2016-2017 for the destination kicked off last week with the inaugural call of Viking Ocean Cruises ship Viking Star.
The forecast puts cruise ship calls in December at 93 with an estimated 219,089 passengers. December 2015 had 94 calls and 226,817 passengers.
October saw 25 cruise ship calls and 89,367 cruise passengers; October 2015 had 28 calls and 91,783 passengers.
Port St. Maarten management calls on the tourism and hospitality sector “to once again, as they always do, provide a memorable destination experience for the country’s cruise passengers while they explore what the island has to offer.”
The cruise industry is very important for the economy of St. Maarten, contributing one-third of the country’s gross domestic product, which in turn provides thousands of jobs and generates foreign exchange for Government and businesses, said Port management.