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USVI working with cruise lines as ships move from Cuba

Published:Wednesday | June 26, 2019 | 12:19 AM

Following the US government’s renewed restrictions on travel to Cuba, the US Virgin Islands government is working closely with the cruise lines to help them as they race to rework their itineraries.

The State Department announced this week that the United States would no longer permit visits to Cuba via passenger and recreational vessels, including cruise ships and yachts, or on private and corporate aircraft.

Joseph Boschulte, commissioner of tourism designee, said that since news of the policy shift, the Ports of the Virgin Islands has reached out to the cruise lines to offer inconvenienced passengers the opportunity to visit the Territory, including the less busy cruise ­destination of St Croix.

“We have been in contact with the lines about making calls to both St Croix and St Thomas,” said Boschulte, who let executives know that the territory’s ports could accommodate diverted vessels on short notice.

“We have the capacity and are encouraging the lines to experience St Croix, especially – an ­emerging tourism destination steeped in rich culture and heritage and whose stakeholders are prepared to ­provide a welcoming experience for cruise ship passengers,” he said.

Boschulte said the Ports of the Virgin Islands will closely monitor the impact of the new policy and explore solutions with cruise lines at next week’s Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association’s Platinum Associate Member Advisory Council Conference, taking place in St Maarten.