By The Star Staff
Puerto Rico Tourism Company (CTPR by its Spanish initials) Executive Director Carlos Mercado Santiago and Puerto Rico Ports Authority Executive Director Joel Pizá Batiz announced on Wednesday the arrival of the Norwegian Prima cruise ship.
“Our island has a lot to offer the cruise market and from December 2 to 8 there will be quite active days for the tourist docks of Old San Juan, with a total of 16 visits by tourist boats,” Mercado Santiago said in a written statement. “This will generate a significant boost for the commercial sector and workers who benefit from cruise activity on the island.”
The Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) vessel, with a maximum capacity for 3,950 passengers and a crew of 1,506, has two visits scheduled during this fiscal year, thus contributing to the positioning of the island as one of the most attractive and competitive ports in the Caribbean.
Pizá Batiz said “it is an honor to welcome the Norwegian Prima of the Norwegian Cruise Line on its inaugural visit to our beautiful Port of San Juan.”
“This arrival marks a milestone in our strong business relationship with NCL, and reaffirms Puerto Rico’s commitment to being a leading destination for the cruise industry,” he said. “We thank Norwegian Cruise Line for their continued partnership and trust in Puerto Rico. We are determined to continue working together to ensure that our port infrastructure remains at the forefront and that Puerto Rico continues to be a destination of choice for the cruise industry.”
The Ports chief noted that “the presence of the Norwegian Prima is just the beginning of exciting events, as we enthusiastically anticipate that, later in December 2023, the Port of San Juan will become the home port of the Norwegian Viva , the sister ship of the Prima.”
“This achievement underscores NCL’s confidence in our ability to deliver exceptional guest experiences,” Pizá Batiz said.
The vessel arrived at Pier 4 of the Port of San Juan around noon. After her passengers disembarked and departed on their guided tours, the local delegation made up of Crystal Belle, the CTPR’s director of air and maritime access; Christian Trinidad, the deputy director of Ports; Elizabeth Cabrera, the Ports communications director; Stephanie Rodríguez, the CTPR’s special assistant for air and maritime access; Puerto Rico Shipping Association Executive Director Ramón Umpierre; and Cruise Plus Services President Bruno Calenda boarded the vessel to welcome Capt. Kevin Belindo and the crew of the Norwegian Prima and perform the traditional exchange of plaques commemorating the inaugural voyage.
The Prima set sail on Dec. 1 from New York Harbor on a 15-day voyage through the Caribbean. The itinerary includes stops in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Tortola, Curaçao, Bonaire, Aruba, Jamaica and Cozumel before ending its journey in the port of Galveston, Texas. The cruise ship is the first of six ships in Norwegian Cruise Line’s new Prima class, which is distinguished by its more sophisticated offerings and design than the brand’s other classes.
In addition to the NCL Prima, piers 3 and 4 of San Juan have received the vessels Sky Princess from Princess Cruises, Seven Seas Mariner from the luxury brand Regent Seven Seas, and Valiant Lady, the second ship in the Virgin Voyagers fleet, for a total of more than 10,000 visitors on Wednesday.