PORT ST. MAARTEN – Port St. Maarten Group received the 2021 Seatrade Cruise Award in the category #WeAreBack – Onshore at the 35th annual Seatrade Cruise Global that took place on September 27-30 in Miami Beach, Florida. The Seatrade Cruise Awards is the global cruise industry’s most distinguished award programme.

Winners were selected from more than 100 nominees evaluated by a panel of independent judges, featuring 14 leading industry professionals. The 2021 Seatrade Cruise Awards were presented in partnership with Oracle Hospitality, eCruises, V.Ships Leisure and Cruise Baltic.

Port St. Maarten Group was one of three finalists for the category with the other two being, Solent Stevedores, UK and Global Port Holding- Valletta Cruise Port. The award was accepted by Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunications (Minister TEATT) Hon. Roger Lawrence.

“Winning such an award takes tremendous dedication and commitment to the industry. Port St. Maarten has tirelessly worked to position themselves as a top port of choice and as a trusted partner to the cruise lines. This award demonstrates what can be achieved and signifies who we are as people. This award celebrates everyone in St. Maarten. We are the friendly island and visitors always want to come back,” stated Honorable Minister Roger Lawrence.

Port Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Alexander Gumbs said that the award is a testimony to the relationship with our stakeholders. Being able to facilitate throughout the pandemic and also the collaboration in having the Port ready for business and alignment with stakeholders which help lead to us being the first Port in the region to host commercial ships.

Gumbs said that the team at Port St. Maarten Group (PSG) and direct stakeholders such as agents, taxi drivers, tour operators, health/immigration officials played a vital role in bringing this award home and to them I say thank you. The pandemic and business decisions internationally remain fluid however, we remain in constant direct contact with our customers. The forecast for quarter four in terms of vessel deployments looks great but we are assessing the occupancy of the vessels. We are hoping for occupancies above 65% for the high season.

Gary Sternitzke together with his wife are world travelers, they were on the Celebrity Millennium, the first ship to sail from North America since 2020, The couple traveled to St. Maarten to be among the first to sail. The couple nominated Port St. Maarten for this award and shared their love for St. Maarten and how the entire port experience was extremely smooth, noting the care the port took to make them feel safe and secure. “Kudos to Port St. Maarten on the win!” Shared Sternitzke. Several others including key industry leaders also nominated Port St. Maarten.

“As we continue to propel forward, the award is realization of the path forward that country St. Maarten will be taking as we start to reposition ourselves as a leading destination in the Caribbean,” stated Minister Lawrence.

“In times like these, it’s important to showcase exciting projects and initiatives generating a positive impact on the development of the sector. Our 2021 Seatrade Cruise Awards winners represent the best in the international cruise industry, setting new standards for innovation, creativity and technology,” stated Mary Bond, Group Director for Seatrade Cruise Global.

St. Maarten participated in several panels where the Port and destination were highlighted as examples in the form of case studies, commended for its approach with Port agreements in a COVID-19 world, and virtual sessions where best practices were shared on rebounding from the cruise suspension.

“This further emphasized the partnerships which we believe were in fact strengthened during the pandemic and the confidence from our partners and the industry in our ability to stimulate the return to business/of Cruise.

“These accomplishments give credit to the various stakeholders and efforts put forth where collaboration on all levels was essential. Various meetings have been held throughout the conference with the various lines where protocols and the ramp up of calls being key focus points.

“We are optimistic as we move forward with the resumption and continue to dialogue with our industry partners as we push towards safely returning to favorable capacities.

“In conclusion, we are very pleased at the port to have been recognized by Seatrade Cruise Awards, and we are very thankful to the staff, all stakeholders and the destination overall,” Port Management said.

Founded in 1970, the Seatrade brand is part of the events portfolio for Informa PLC – a leading international events, intelligence, and scholarly research group.

Seatrade Cruise Global took place at the Miami Beach Convention Center from September 27-30.

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