"A very positive meeting" is the comment made by Minister of Tourism & International Transport, Senator Ricky Skerritt, to describe the visit by himself and Tourism Authority CEO, Rosecita Jeffers, to the Port of Miami offices of Royal Caribbean International & Celebrity Cruises last Friday.

Senator Skerritt said the face-to-face meeting with top Celebrity officials enabled him to apologise in person on behalf of the Government and citizens of St Kitts & Nevis for the unprecedented November 14 robbery of a tour bus carrying passengers from the Celebrity Mercury. The Tourism Minister also took the opportunity to discuss measures being taken locally to strengthen cruise passenger safety and security, and to minimise the risk of a similar incident recurring.

Celebrity’s Head of Security, Gary Bald, also confirmed that, since the incident, security officials from the cruise line were in ongoing contact with the St. Kitts & Nevis Police High Command on matters related to the police investigation. During the meeting, the good news was also revealed by Federico Gonzalez-Denton, RCI/Celebrity’s Director for Government Relations, that the Celebrity Solstice will make two unscheduled calls to St Kitts on February 2 and March 3 next year. According to Skerritt, the addition of these two calls is a clear vote of confidence in the viability of St. Kitts as a port-of-call for Celebrity Cruises. Five other Celebrity ships are already making 47 scheduled calls to St Kitts, but this season’s schedule did not previously include calls from the ‘Solstice’.