St. Maarten’s cruise traffic continues to grow. According to a Jan. 3 article in the Curacao Chronicle, the Port of St. Maarten welcomed nearly 1.8 million cruise passengers in 2013, an increase of roughly two percent from the prior year and a new record for the port.
The Port of St. Maarten reported the following statistics for the 2013 cruise season:
- 1,785,670 total cruise passengers, up from 1,753,215 in 2012 and 1,055,040 in 2002
- 631 ship calls, up from 622 in 2012
Cruise ship visits provided a significant economic boost to the local economy. According to the most recent report by the Business Research & Economic Advisors for the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association, total cruise tourism expenditures for the 2011-2012 cruise year were $356.2 million in St. Maarten, second among the 21 participant destinations. The Bahamas ranked first, with $339.8 million. Rounding out the top five were the United States Virgin Islands ($339.8 million), Puerto Rico ($186.6 million), and the Cayman Islands ($157.7 million).
The Port of St. Maarten will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2014.