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MIAMI — Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines is canceling three port calls to St. Thomas and three port calls to St. Croix in retaliation for Tourism Commissioner Joseph Boschulte’s firing of WICO Executive Director Clifford Graham in June, the Virgin Islands Free Press has learned.

More cruise lines are likely to follow in lockstep, high-placed sources in Virgin Islands Tourism and the Virgin Islands Port Authority confirmed to the V.I. Free Presstoday, citing their disappointment in the re-hiring of embattled VIPA Executive Director Carlton Dowe June 26.

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Interesting. Scheduled to go to St Thomas next month on Empress. Refund of more port taxes? Already will be reduced due to not going to Cuba when the taxes were originally calculated.

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1 minute ago, coaster said:

Interesting. Scheduled to go to St Thomas next month on Empress. Refund of more port taxes? Already will be reduced due to not going to Cuba when the taxes were originally calculated.

I don’t believe it mentioned what ship(s) are being affected for the 3 missed stops.

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I  have a feeling that Empress will be used as a statement. Fares are pretty low and less passengers to upset compared to the 'big boys' in the fleet.

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2 hours ago, ssb said:

MIAMI — Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines is canceling three port calls to St. Thomas and three port calls to St. Croix in retaliation for Tourism Commissioner Joseph Boschulte’s firing of WICO Executive Director Clifford Graham in June, the Virgin Islands Free Press has learned.

More cruise lines are likely to follow in lockstep, high-placed sources in Virgin Islands Tourism and the Virgin Islands Port Authority confirmed to the V.I. Free Presstoday, citing their disappointment in the re-hiring of embattled VIPA Executive Director Carlton Dowe June 26.

 

They are cancelling just three port calls total to St. Thomas?  I have stops coming up on Oasis, Harmony, and Symphony.

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I don't know that they should really involve passengers in their port squabbles? It seems like that is something that the multiple cruise lines should work out behind the scenes with the tourist board. We know how disappointed people are when ports are cancelled. 

 

And I don't think it will go over very well, to tell guests that the port is cancelled in retaliation for the firing (of some person we never heard of) 

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11 minutes ago, coaster said:

I  have a feeling that Empress will be used as a statement. Fares are pretty low and less passengers to upset compared to the 'big boys' in the fleet.

I can agree with this.

 

I think RCCL has a contract to have x number of passengers utilizing Crown Bay.  I am guessing Empress would be considered "fluff"  and may not have even been utilizing Crown Bay.  So sending Empress somewhere else would make a statement but not endanger current contracts.

 

Having said this, and re-reading the article, it would be interesting to have someone on the island supply their take.  This sounds like a bit like he-said/she-said and the inside sources have their own agenda.  The truth is probably in between.

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Royal will try to put some spin on it and I bet the letter starts out with;

 

To further enhance your cruise we have.....

 

 

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5 minutes ago, time4u2go said:

They'll probably figure out a way to substitute a day at Coco Cay instead.

Sure, let's disrupt everyone's plans and bring them where we might be able to suck some more money out of their bank accounts.

 

I would not care to be a pawn in some political squabble that I don't have the slightest interest in. There are plenty of understandable reasons for itinerary changes. This is not one.

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Been to St Thomas 3 times, would not miss it.  Gotta wonder how they decided which 3 stops to cancel.  Would think it would all be on the same ship.

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10 hours ago, itsmeagain said:

Please don’t change them to San Juan.  

 

Better San Juan, than Nassau!

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10 hours ago, Coralc said:

I don't know that they should really involve passengers in their port squabbles? It seems like that is something that the multiple cruise lines should work out behind the scenes with the tourist board. We know how disappointed people are when ports are cancelled. 

 

And I don't think it will go over very well, to tell guests that the port is cancelled in retaliation for the firing (of some person we never heard of) 

Indeed. Port personnel drama overflow into cruise bookings is simply ridiculous.

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I still don't know why the change in Port Director upset the cruise lines. Anyone have any real information?

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Posted (edited)

Sadly,  years from now all ports will be owned by the cruise lines. They simply want to be able to get a cut of every dollar spent.  Disney theme park model being copied by the cruise industry.

Edited by coaster

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29 minutes ago, coaster said:

Sadly,  years from now all ports will be owned by the cruise lines. They simply want to be able to get a cut of every dollar spent.  Disney theme park model being copied by the cruise industry.

It isn't far from that now. The cruise lines may not own the ports but there are certain excursions that can only be sold through the cruise line. Those excursion owners are not allowed to sell to you directly. The cruise lines get a cut from every sale that certain jewelry stores make. There is one jeweler in St. Maarten that we have used for years. Every time we go in he wants to know which ship we are on. I say the same thing... the cruise line didn't send me, why should they get a cut? He says the same thing... if the cruise line found out he made a sale and they didn't get their cut they would cut him off. The various shop owners seem to be scared $hitless of the cruise lines.

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1 hour ago, coaster said:

Sadly,  years from now all ports will be owned by the cruise lines. They simply want to be able to get a cut of every dollar spent.  Disney theme park model being copied by the cruise industry.

Though adding Parks to Islands is new, Cruise Lines owning Islands been around Decades. Long as there are choices to go as my Kids/Grand's do, or not as mine I have no problem with them...

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2 hours ago, Sobro said:

I still don't know why the change in Port Director upset the cruise lines. Anyone have any real information?

 

The former Port Director signed letters of intent with a number of cruise lines agreeing to move forward with a port revitalization project called Long Bay Landing that has been on the plans for close to a decade now but kept getting stonewalled, cancelled, etc. 

 

Apparently the Port Director didn't have permission from the board to sign the letters of intent, so they fired him. It's more than just him being fired, though. The political issues stem from the entire project which the cruise lines have invested in and it hasn't gone anywhere.

 

Basically, they thought they were finally getting somewhere with it when the letters of intent came, and then the tourism board pulled the rug out from under the cruise lines yet again.

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Lived on St Thomas for a couple years.  I can totally see local politics in play.  St Thomas has a love-hate relationship with cruise ship passengers.  Love the money, hate the crowds.  

 

They better be careful what they wish for.  The primary industry of St Thomas is tourism.  Screwing around the cruise lines will impact jobs which are hard to come by.

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10 minutes ago, twangster said:

Lived on St Thomas for a couple years.  I can totally see local politics in play.  St Thomas has a love-hate relationship with cruise ship passengers.  Love the money, hate the crowds.  

 

They better be careful what they wish for.  The primary industry of St Thomas is tourism.  Screwing around the cruise lines will impact jobs which are hard to come by.

 

We have the same issue here in Key West, with many of the locals at least. Always complaining about the crowds and not wanting tourists, but whenever something happens to limit the number of tourists, a bunch of businesses end up closing/laying off workers. So much of the income generated for the island comes from tourists (hotels, bars, restaurants, etc) and when there's a lull in tourism their income dries up significantly.

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They are already changing port stops to St Thomas on Allure of the Seas because of the mechanical issues.  Rerouting the ship to San Juan.  I am very disappointed thinking I will go to San Juan instead of St Thomas in December.  Part of the reason I chose this itinerary was because of St Thomas.  Oh well, there will be lots to do on the ship if I decide not to even get off at San Juan.

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3 hours ago, Sobro said:

I still don't know why the change in Port Director upset the cruise lines.

Maybe he was easy to take care of?🙄

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