Royal Caribbean International and senior Vanuatu government representatives marked the completion of Mystery Island’s brand new tender pier yesterday with a maiden visit from the Explorer of the Seas.

The pier was officially opened by Acting Prime Minister, The Honourable Joe Natuman from the Vanuatu government at a ceremony attended by the Captain and senior executive team of Explorer of the Seas.

Undertaken by Royal Caribbean at a cost of $2.5 million, the new pier replaces an older, smaller pier which was frequently damaged during cyclones and now ensures that Mystery Island can continue to receive cruise tourists year-round.

The bigger pier also allows the island to handle increasingly larger cruise ships.

Acting Prime Minister, The Honorable Joe Natuman, said he welcomed the development. “Today is a very proud day for tourism in Vanuatu, and we are extremely grateful to Royal Caribbean for their assistance in ensuring the continued success of cruise ship visits to our country," said Natuman.

Adam Armstrong, managing director for Royal Caribbean in Australia & New Zealand, said the investments in Mystery Island and Port Vila are the first of several potential infrastructure projects in the South Pacific islands, where the cruise line is investing significantly to ensure the region continues to benefit from cruise tourism as the size of ships increase, and therefore the number of passengers grows.

“Cruises to the South Pacific are the most popular itineraries for Australian travellers – and Vanuatu is one of the highest rated destinations for our guests. Being able to guarantee calls to destinations like Mystery Island and Port Vila with our larger ships is vital to cruise tourism to Vanuatu and is an important economic driver for our island nation neighbour. Our investment here solidifies Royal Caribbean’s long-term commitment to cruising in the South Pacific,” Armstrong said.