Puerto Rico is on its way to break cruise passenger records for the second time in three years, according to Puerto Rico Tourism Company.
The island’s port of San Juan posted record passenger numbers in 2015 with the arrival of 1.5 million passengers. The port now expects to break that record in the 2017-18 season with an expected 1.6 million visitors, with increased calls from Oasis-class ships, which are a part of the Miami-based cruise line Royal Caribbean International’s fleet, plus the maiden season of MSC Cruises’ new vessel MSC Seaside.
Homeport passengers are also expected to grow, as Norwegian Cruise Line returns to homeport in San Juan, joined by other cruise companies Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity Cruises, and several luxury cruise lines.
“Puerto Rico is welcoming the arrival of Quantum-class vessels and will be a port of call for the 2016 winter season for several new ships such as the Carnival Vista and the world’s largest cruise ship, Harmony of the Seas which is scheduled to arrive in San Juan on December 28,” the Puerto Rico Tourism Company said, adding that that San Juan will also be the first Caribbean home port for the Viking Cruises, with Viking Star sailing from October to April.
The cruise business “has posted 22% growth over the previous four fiscal years,” Ingrid Rivera Rocafort, Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, said.
She added that the expansion of Pier 3 in Old San Juan was “a key factor in luring mega cruise ships to Puerto Rico,” including the Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, the Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, and soon to arrive the Harmony of the Seas.