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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.

“This news is the biggest blow yet to Gov. Albert Bryan Jr’s fledgling first term in office as VIPA is currently promoting ‘progress’ on its website while at the same time it is losing port calls for the territory,” one source said. “It is the ultimate in hypocrisy — even by rudimentary governmental standards.”

Bryan’s predecessor, Gov. Kenneth E. Mapp, was a one-term governor.

According to our sources, Disney Cruise Lines is most likely to jump off the USVI tourism bandwagon next. Disney Cruise Lines currently calls on St. Thomas only.

Some sources said that St. Croix was only losing two ports of call from RCCL.

Well-placed sources in the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) say it is also disappointed in Bryan’s tourism choices so far.

“When other cruises lines join Royal Caribbean, the message will become known to Boschulte and Bryan — if it isn’t already known to their deaf ears,” the source said. “The cruise ship industry is going to ‘change course now’ when it comes to U.S. Virgin Islands tourism. They feel Boschulte and Bryan are going in the wrong direction.”

Cruise lines sent 28 cruise ships to St. Thomas in June.

Royal Caribbean canceled eight scheduled cruise ship calls to the Austin “Babe” Monsanto Marine Terminal in Crown Bay in May.

At the time, RCCL blamed issues with the cruise ship Allure of the Seas’ propulsion system.

The following scheduled calls to Crown Bay by the Allure of the Seas were canceled:

  • May 16, 2019
  • June 6, 2019
  • June 27, 2019
  • July 18, 2019
  • August 8, 2019
  • August 29, 2019
  • September 19, 2019
  • October 10, 2019

VIPA said in May that the Oasis-class vessel is sailing at reduced speeds with only one of three “propulsion pods” working properly.

The cruise line said it has had to adjust its itineraries to eliminate destinations throughout the Caribbean that require high travel speeds.

RCCL has reportedly adjusted a total of 25 cruises – impacting eastern and western Caribbean itineraries from Fort Lauderdale from May 5 through October 27. 

Dowe was re-hired by VIPA after being fired by Governor Mapp.

Kenneth Mapp hired his brother David Mapp to replace Dowe as the VIPA executive director in 2015

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I would be LIVID if my itinerary were changed due in order to put political pressure on the port. 

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So according to this report if this continues my port stop in St Thomas is changing to San Juan because of Politics?  I specifically chose this cruise because of St. Thomas.  I could care less about going to San Juan or even the scheduled St. Martin's.  This is ridiculous and if this wasn't such an important 2 year in the planning family cruise,  I would cancel my cruise on Allure in December.  

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We are sailing in August on the Harmony.  I wonder if our stop will be changed?

 

 

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St Thomas is one of our favorite ports San Juan is one of our least favorite. I would  be highly annoyed if this happens on one of my cruises. Lots of other cruise lines.

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So the VI group is claiming that the propulsion issues are made up, and the real reason is politics?  🤣🤣🤣

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11 minutes ago, George C said:

St Thomas is one of our favorite ports San Juan is one of our least favorite. I would  be highly annoyed if this happens on one of my cruises. Lots of other cruise lines.

Did you not notice the part of the article stating many other cruise lines were joining the “boycott”?

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3 minutes ago, not-enough-cruising said:

Did you not notice the part of the article stating many other cruise lines were joining the “boycott”?

Doubt all will ,  would love to visit St Thomas if there were only a couple of ships docked there. Only other mentioned was Disney would we would never book. Much preferred St Thomas 40 years ago when it wasn’t that crowded. 

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, kruzerci said:

I would be LIVID if my itinerary were changed due in order to put political pressure on the port. 

 

Well, that's what happened to the 800,000 people who lost their booked Cuba cruises as of a few months back...

It happens. 

Edited by EatonDoolittle

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17 minutes ago, brillohead said:

So the VI group is claiming that the propulsion issues are made up, and the real reason is politics?  🤣🤣🤣

Really hard to determine who is lying more.....👎🙄

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Sure would like to know which three port stops are being cancelled for each Island.

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Consider the possibility that the threat of port stop cancellations is the pressure that Royal Caribbean is using to effect change.

 

It may not happen, if the desired change occurs.

 

Thus, no announcement yet about specific cruises.

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8 hours 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.

You are absolutely correct.  Build it and they will come. That's their motto. Build it bigger, charge higher prices and make everyone believe they MUST have it.   And they just keep spending and spending.  It's like this hypnotic effect.  "Lets make them all believe they must spend every last penny they have or their lives will be meaningless."   And people go for it. 

Disney is masterful at this. 
And I am a Disney fanatic. 

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26 minutes ago, Merion_Mom said:

Consider the possibility that the threat of port stop cancellations is the pressure that Royal Caribbean is using to effect change.

 

It may not happen, if the desired change occurs.

 

Thus, no announcement yet about specific cruises.

Just keep your customers in limbo as long as possible. There is nothing like it to dampen the anticipation of an upcoming cruise. And we all know that the anticipation is a huge part of the cruise experience. Well, maybe unless you are on one every month.

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1 hour ago, EatonDoolittle said:

 

Well, that's what happened to the 800,000 people who lost their booked Cuba cruises as of a few months back...

It happens. 

Right, our government uses us as political pawns also. We can travel to some of the most dangerous places in the world as well as places where human rights are trampled on to an incredible degree but Cuba is the forbidden land.

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I'm still waiting just to hear if allure will change our cruise in Nov from st Thomas to San Juan... I don't understand why they only changed until end of Oct.  It would be nice to know how to plan our trip

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Posted (edited)

Everyone decries making decisions based on politics, but it is really based on economics. Cruise lines have to ensure adequate facilities and infrastructure to be viable choices for anyone. These decisions appear to be based more on the rehiring of the official whose planning, or lack thereof, has been inadequate for years, which has resulted in stalled projects the lines have wanted. Do people really think that cruise lines should operate without awareness of how local politics influences everything in a port? 

 

As to people complaining about the heavy handed influence ships have over vendors, etc, I don't get the whining mentioned here. Those excursion operators are benefitting from being advertised precruise and the jewelers are recommended on board (each portday's daily has a slew of ads showing "approved" shops with maps, etc), and the cruise line acts as a middleman both in bookings and in customer service (such as it is). Any vendor who doesn't like it doesn't need to participate. You give up something to get a captive group of passengers informed of your product and guided to you. Do they think Royal should do that for free?  

Edited by mayleeman
clarification

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, Thorben-Hendrik said:

Really hard to determine who is lying more.....👎🙄

No it’s not😉🤥

Edited by ATC cruiser

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Very interesting to read this, right after Royal made the announcement that Empress would be cruising to the British Virgin Islands (Tortola) in 2020.  

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3 minutes ago, sandebeach said:

Very interesting to read this, right after Royal made the announcement that Empress would be cruising to the British Virgin Islands (Tortola) in 2020.  

Indeed.  Not everyone would be disappointed if they added some new destination ports to Caribbean itineraries...

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5 minutes ago, sandebeach said:

Very interesting to read this, right after Royal made the announcement that Empress would be cruising to the British Virgin Islands (Tortola) in 2020.  

Actually, Tortola is a stop on my 8 night Empress cruise next month.

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On 7/14/2019 at 9:55 AM, awestover89 said:

 

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.

After viewing some of the pictures of that project, I can understand why locals would be against it.  It would eat up the mooring area, right in the middle of Long Bay.   A lot of dredging and filling of the bay as well.

 

Clearly, RCCL wants their big ships over there instead of the Crown Bay Dock.

 

 

pier1.jpg

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On 7/14/2019 at 3:03 PM, GTO-Girl said:

We are sailing in August on the Harmony.  I wonder if our stop will be changed?

 

 

We are on a September HM cruise that is scheduled for STT.  Hope there are no port changes.

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On 7/13/2019 at 7:50 PM, 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.

So two ports canceled where are you going? Coco Cay and Labadee?

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I just called and spoke w/ a rep at RC and they said they were aware of the article but at this time could not confirm they were diverting any ships away from St. Thomas in the near or immediate future (including my specific sailing on HS in October). So either their reps don't have the latest info or the article may be tweaking the truth a little bit. Time will tell...

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