Zuider­dam Makes In­au­gu­ral Call at Port Cas­tries

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

On Sun­day, De­cem­ber 30, 2018 Saint Lu­cia wel­comed the in­au­gu­ral call of the Zuider­dam at Port Cas­tries. The Zuider­dam is the first of the Hol­land Amer­ica Line Vista-class ships, which started sail­ing some sev­en­teen years ago. Of­fi­cials of the Saint Lu­cia Tourism Author­ity (SLTA), along with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Min­istry of Tourism, the Saint Lu­cia Air and Sea Ports Author­ity (SLASPA), and Cox and Com­pany Limited, greeted the ar­rival of the ves­sel with an ex­change of plaques and pleasantries on­board.

SLTA Se­nior Mar­ket­ing Man­ager, Ms. Jackie Mathurin wel­comed the cap­tain and his crew with a cham­pagne toast and pointed to re­cent up­grades at Port Cas­tries for al­low­ing the ves­sel to berth here.

“We're so happy to have [the Zuider­dam] here on our is­land,” said Ms. Mathurin. “We're happy that with the im­prove­ments [to the port] you can come, and we look for­ward to hav­ing a longer re­la­tion­ship with you, hope­fully in 2019,” she added.

Cap­tain of the Zuider­dam, Bart Vaart­jes was ex­cited to ex­plore a new port in the Caribbean and is look­ing for­ward to re­turn­ing to Saint Lu­cia. “When we were plan­ning this port we were look­ing at where we were go­ing to put our gang­ways and, com­ing along­side, we found three beau­ti­ful dol­phins and an extension to the pier which was re­ally good to see,” Cap­tain Vaart­jes raved.

The Zuider­dam is 936 feet long with a ca­pac­ity of 1,964 guests and fit­ted with mod­ern ameni­ties and a “spec­tac­u­lar art and an­tique col­lec­tion”.

Mar­ket­ing and Cus­tomer Ex­pe­ri­ence Ex­ec­u­tive at SLASPA, Marva Greenidge thanked Cap­tain Vaart­jes for ref­er­enc­ing the im­prove­ments to the port. “We are happy that you ap­pre­ci­ate the ease of seam­less ma­noeu­ver­ing into our port and we hope that as the year comes to an end you re­mem­ber Saint Lu­cia as one of the best ports of call,” Ms. Greenidge stated.

Usu­ally, the Zuider­dam sails to Eu­rope or to the Panama Canal re­gion from Port Ever­glades in Florida. How­ever, slightly dif­fer­ent cruises are al­ways sched­uled around the hol­i­day sea­son.

Saint Lu­cia wel­comed a record-break­ing 800,000 cruise pas­sen­gers to its shores for 2018. Last week­end, the Cas­tries har­bour was abuzz with five ships in port on Fri­day and an­other three mega cruise ves­sels berthed there on Satur­day.

In ad­di­tion to the Zuider­dam, Port Cas­tries also wel­comed in­au­gu­ral calls of MSC Preziosa, Nor­we­gian Jade and Nor­we­gian Es­cape in 2018.

SLTA ex­ec­u­tive wel­comed the cap­tain and crew of Zuider­dam, part of the Hol­land-Amer­ica cruise­line, to Saint Lu­cia.

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