Martinique to promote Port facilities at Seatrade Cruise Virtual
View from the bay at the cruise ship, small water taxi ferry and modern buildings in Fort de France, Martinique. Photo: iStock
The French Caribbean Island of Martinique will particpate in this year's Seatrade Cruise Virtual carded for October 5 to 8.
The island will be represented by a group of key partners from Martinique’s cruising industry, among them: The Grand Port de Martinique—a finalist in Seatrade’s 2018 Port of the Year Award, Aimé Césaire International Airport, Martinique ship sgents in charge of welcoming ships and passengers, incoming agencies, privately-owned excursionists and union taxi representatives.
“Cruise tourism has become an important segment of our tourism product. Seatrade Virtual will be an excellent opportunity for the Grand Port de la Martinique to join with other stakeholders in valuable discussions on how to safely bring cruise ships back to Martinique," said Jean-Rémy Villageois, CEO of the Martinique Port Authority.
In the past decade, the French Caribbean island of Martinique has heavily invested to improve, expand and upgrade its cruise facilities.
The “Grand Port” of Fort-de-France—the island’s capital, features the passenger cruise terminals of Pointe-Simon Cruise Terminal and nearby Les Tourelles.
These modern facilities are located in the capital’s magnificent bay which was named among the “Most Beautiful Bays in the World.”
“We are very proud that our substantial efforts have led to significant results, not only for our own cruise industry and for the cruise lines whose ships come to call or to homeport from Martinique, but perhaps more importantly for our guests. We have developed and improved accessibility, modern amenities and resources for passengers to offer them a safe and memorable experience,” said Karine Mousseau, Martinique Tourism Commissioner.
The Pointe Simon Cruise Terminal in Fort-de-France’s is now the island’s most frequented and state-of-the-art cruise facility. It is attached to a promenade, Le Malecon, along the seaside that leads directly into the heart of the capital city. The inauguration of the Plazza shopping center has also enhanced the appeal of this terminal.
The Tourelles Cruise Terminal in Fort-de-France also received an upgrade, with expanded facilities, additional security lines and new VIP room for larger home ported vessels.
To illustrate the success of Martinique’s dedication to its cruise sector, a success that has attracted the most prominent cruise lines, the Martinique Tourism Authority has recently reported that Martinique welcomed in the 2019/2020 season 360,761 passengers—21 percent of which were American via 174 port calls.
In addition to the Ports of Martinique, the island boasts various and unique anchorages from North to South to welcome luxury/boutique vessels: at Anses d’Arlet, Le Marin, St. Pierre and Trois-Ilets, that have a huge appeal.
Another key player—especially for homeporting—is the Aimé Césaire International Airport. Since its reopening in March for specially authorised flights and in May for commercial flights between the island and mainland France, everything has been put in place to ensure socially distant measures.
Among other protocols, are safe and secure paths for passengers, crew and staff within its terminal. To grow its role in homeporting, the SAMAC—the airport’s authority—has also embarked on major improvements that will be ready in 2022.
The projects include a new short-haul terminal, three additional security check-points and an enlarged boarding area. The airport will also welcome in 2022 a new 100 plus room hotel—an added convenience and option for arriving and departing cruise passengers, a convention center with offices and nearby restaurants and boutiques.
Mousseau said: “Our goals are to continue to improve the synergy and passenger welcome between the Aimé Césaire International airport and the Port of Martinique. Another is to continue to develop and provide our guests with new, safe and exciting excursions; that includes guided tours for turtle discovery, snorkeling in a bat cave, diving, tricycling in Fort-de-France, and culinary discoveries. These will be alongside the ever popular tours to Saint Pierre, the Little Pompeii of the Caribbean, the rain forest, botanical gardens and historic rum distilleries to name a few.
In agreement with the cruise companies, the national health authorities have established a reinforced health security system for each disembarking passenger in collaboration with the Grand Port of Martinique, to ensure the protection of both cruise passengers and local population.
Martinique’s stakeholders have already implementing sanitary protocols for its stay-over visitors and its local population.
European and Caribbean guidelines and protocols will be followed upon resumption of the cruise season.