Martinique Making Cruise Improvements

Martinique

Martinique saw a drop off in its passenger calls as homeporting figures in 2019. But cruise officials in the French Caribbean island are using the lull to complete several safety and traffic flow upgrades important to future growth.

Martinique saw 285,423 passengers on 193 calls at Port Simon in the heart of Fort-De-France in 2019. That’s down from 393,157 in 2018. Homeporting also declined at the nearby Tourelles terminal, with 119,077 passengers embarking or disembarking in 2019 as opposed to 134,244 in 2018.

“We anticipate 203 calls in 2020 (prior to the COVID-19 outbreak) with about 400,000 guests, and about 110,000 homeporting passengers embarking and disembarking,” said Jacques Bajal, the recently-retired long time cruise development director.

The island plans 32 million euro in upgrades over the next 10 years, said Bruno Mence, operations director. The plans include security cameras, updated X-ray machines, improvements to the Tourelles homeporting facility, and a new building at Port Simon.

At Port Simon, lighting and signage are in the process of being upgraded, as well as landscaping work to level the ground and secure gutters.

On the nautical side, Port Simon will add a mooring dolphin and an additional docking dolphin, as well as expand the disembarkation bridge for ships 272 meters long and 140,000 tons.

At Tourelles, plans call for two additional mooring dolphins, three bollards, and the expansion of the disembarkation bridge for ships 350 meters long and 160,000 tons.

One of the grand gentlemen of the cruise industry has retired. After 40 years in cruise, Martinique iconoclast Jacques Bajal is “sailing towards the destination of leisure activities and total freedom.” Between his ever-present smile, iconic blowtie, and love of a joke, it is impossible for him to walk the streets of Fort-De-France without people calling out with a friendly word.

Also a famed drummer and singer, his leisure years will certainly continue to bring joy to others.

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