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The Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Ingrid Arrindell, is pleased with St. Maarten being awarded 'Best Eastern Caribbean Destination' by Cruise Critic

ingridarrindell24062016PHILIPSBURG:--- St Maarten has been named the 'Best Eastern Caribbean Island' in the first ever Cruise Critic 'Cruisers Choice Destination Awards Other islands vying for the number 1 spot were Grand Turk that placed 2nd, St. Thomas that placed 3rd,St. Kitts that placed 4th and Kings Wharf, Bermuda that placed 5th.

Cruise Critic, the world's largest online cruise community features more than 160,000 cruise reviews, covering approximately 500 cruise ships and over 300 ports worldwide. They were the first consumer cruise site on the Internet, launched in October 1995 by The Independent Traveler,Inc., a subsidiary of TripAdvisor,Inc.

The top-rated destinations were specifically chosen based on first-hand feedback from cruisers themselves. In order to be able to ensure that the awards offer the best reflection of customer satisfaction, all rankings were based entirely on ratings of ports from sailings taken on August 1, 2015, to July 31, 2016, that were submitted with reviews published on CruiseCritic.com. "Cruising offers the unique opportunity to sample a number of destinations at once. Because of that, it's important to carefully select your itinerary so that you're able to make the most of your time in port. With so many available options, this list of destinations personally recommended by cruisers themselves provides invaluable insight into the cruise destinations across the world to help cruisers choose the best options." stated Colleen McDaniel, Senior Executive Editor of CruiseCritic.com

In addition, Port St. Maarten was voted the #1 Cruise Port in the Caribbean for the second year in a row by readers of CruiseFever.net who were asked to vote on the best cruise ports in the Caribbean for the 2015 Cruise Fever Fan Awards which was previously announced early this year. With these accolades, St Maarten remains a top destination in the Caribbean by cruise lovers.

"It is essential that we continue to focus on the overall cruise visitors' experience and satisfaction. There is no room for complacency if we want to remain in the top position, as cruise lines and visitors alike strive to look for unique experiences. Thus, it is imperative that we continuously deliver an optimum level of customer service as well as develop and diversify our tourism product in order to remain competitive with other emerging Caribbean destinations. " stated Minister of Tourism, Hon. Ingrid Arrindell

The minister further stated, "To be able to remain competitive as well as to keep pace with global travel trends within the cruising industry, new projects and strategic partnerships are being developed to boost cruise arrivals to the Island. One in particular is the home porting of the Zenith ship from the Pullmantur Group, which is scheduled to commence service in the latter part of 2016."

Pullmantur home porting is expected to have a positive economic impact on the Island in terms of generating more airlift in and out of St. Maarten, as well as providing business for those that offer ancillary services in the tourism sector. Additionally, this service will also serve part of the diversification of the type of visitors to the Island as these cruise passengers will be from Latin America and Europe. These passengers will be short-term stayover visitors as they will spend approximately 2-3 days on the Island prior to,as well as after, their cruise trip.

The Caribbean continues to be the most preferred cruise destination, accounting for more than a third (35.5%) of the global deployment capacity market share according to Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) - State of the Cruise Industry report of
2015. A total of 1,901,617 cruise passengers visited St. Maarten in 2015, with 683 port calls made by cruise vessels. Cruise passengers are hereby able to experience St. Maarten,alongside a number of other destinations at once,enticing visitors to return as stayover visitors on their preferred Island.

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