USVI Governor Asks Disney Cruise Line To Consider St. Croix for Future Cruise Itineraries

A report from The Virgin Islands Consortium suggests possible expansion of Disney Cruise Line’s Eastern Caribbean calls to St. Croix. In 2015, Governor of United States Virgin Islands Kenneth Mapp asked Karl Holz to consider including St. Croix to future cruise itineraries.

After Governor Mapp outright asked Holz if Disney Cruise Line had any place for visiting St. Croix. Holz responded by telling Mapp that DCL “has tried St. Croix and there are some issues in terms if it getting ready and being a fully fledged cruise ship destination.”

According to the report, Governor Mapp asked Holz for help pledging his own support to bring cruise traffic to St. Croix. Last January, Holz offer to send a team from Disney to study St. Croix in terms of what the visitor experience is on the island and offer suggestion on what the could be done to improve the guest experience. In addition, the team would assess the viability of St. Croix as a cruise destination.

It was not until March 2015, when Governor Mapp revealed that the Walt Disney Company offered the Government of the Virgin Islands the full portfolio of Walt Disney’s technical support system to help create a destination experience on St. Croix.

On November 15, 2015, a team from Disney arrived in St. Croix. The trip included meetings with local government, private merchants, and taxi and tour operators. The team essentially spent their time in St. Croix as if they were cruise passengers to determine what experiences the island could offer to day visitors arriving via cruise ships. On November 17th the team from Disney promise a comprehensive written report of their findings by mid-February.

In 2009, the Disney Magic sailed a 7-Night Eastern Caribbean itinerary with a stop in St. Croix along with nearby St. Thomas and Castaway Cay.

Hopefully, portions of the St. Croix destination experience assessment will make it to The Virgin Islands Consortium as the results could determine if DCL will return to St. Croix.

Have you visited St. Croix? We’d love to collect your thoughts on the island and if you’d like to visit St. Croix on a future Disney Cruise.

21 Replies to “USVI Governor Asks Disney Cruise Line To Consider St. Croix for Future Cruise Itineraries”

  1. Laurie

    I’d love to go to St Croix. Getting there from St. Thomas is such a hassle. Any new port in the Caribbean is great!

    1. jack

      DCL ships are registered in The Bahamas. I am guessing there is some sort of contract which mandates a specific amount of calls to The Bahamas.

  2. David Oakland

    Is Disney committed to Nassau since the ships are based there? If not, I would tend to agree with the other comments – we’ve done 7 Disney cruises now and got off in Nassau the very first time and that’s it.

  3. Sue Powell

    We were on the Disney Magic when she docked in St Croix in 2009 – there we 4 adults (2 couples) in our group and we all LOVED the island. My husband did a diving package and said how good it was (he is an experienced diver with over 40 years diving) and he wants to return. The 3 other adults did a rum tour and loved it plus the very warm welcome we had from everybody made the trip very memorable. We can’t forget the leaving parade they put on for us. YES YES YES please go back…we are Platinum Cruisers and itineraries are getting a bit jaded now….so this would be a welcome change of port.

  4. Richard Hornbeak

    We are the couple that sailed with Sue Powell in 2009. We absolutely loved the St. Croix visit. The tour was fantastic and the people there were warm and welcoming. Please put this back in the line up of cruise destinations. As Platinum cruisers, we are always looking for the new and exciting itineraries. St. Croix would be a very welcome addition.

  5. David Oakland

    Should Disney entertain St. Croix what would be the timeframe since early part of 2017 already planned? Would 2017 be considered, or pushed back to 2018? Any thoughts?

  6. Suzanne Rychlik

    St. Croix would be a great spot. Some of the best diving and snorkeling in the Caribbean. The island is so different than St. Thomas with the hustle and bustle. There are lots of day activities to do and am excited that this is something they are thinking about!

  7. Chris

    I have been to STX twice, neither time as a cruise passenger. It’s a great island with lovely locals and a great vibe. Snorkeling off of Buck Island is a must-do, and a trip to Point Udall is also quite cool.

    For those of you that may not know, at the end of Shawshank Redemption, St. Croix was the filming location for what was supposed to be Mexico. Those windy cliffs overlooking the Caribbean Sea offer great vistas.

    I hope DCL gives them another chance.

    1. Scott Sanders Post author

      Chris, I recently caught Shawshank on TV and as usual, I ended up watching the rest. I’ve visited the prison, but I had no idea where the final scene was shot.

      1. Chris

        Yes, the final scene was filmed in a wildlife refuge on the island called Sandy Point. It’s only open to the public for a few hours on the weekends and there are many rules regarding visiting there as it is a nesting area for turtles. The scene in which Tim Robbins drives a convertible along the coast was filmed on North Shore Rd between Salt River and Cane Bay on the island.

        St. Croix is a beautiful, tranquil place!

        1. jack

          DCL partnered with the British Virgin Islands Ports Authority (BVIPA) and the expansion of the port at Tortola. I’m guessing Karl Holz smells “money to be made” at St. Croix. That aside, with a limited fleet of just four ships, it can’t hurt to source new ports for its loyal guests who are already stone faced at returning to the same ports time after time after time. Then again, if additional ports are developed, I can see room for another DCL ship or two.

  8. Randomiam79

    We were on that cruise that went to St croix. It was our first DCL cruise and we are platinum now. We visited the beach close to where the ship docked it was nice but we didn’t really swim there. The parade was a nice touch you could tell they were excited to have a cruise ship there.

    Since then we’ve heard about the terrible crime on st croix and how dangerous a destination it is for tourists. Not getting mugged robbed, but more serious and violent acts. Like murder according to our conversation with a maritime officer who has worked on the island. I’ll pass on returning there. There’s a good reason the cruise ships don’t normally stop there.

  9. lenfishman

    There is very little to do within walking distance from the pier if you are not a scuba diver. It literally took us an hour to see the entire town of Fredericksted… Or at least the areas with businesses and looked safe. (Two blocks away from Strand Street looks abandoned and unsafe).

    The kids wanted to return to the ship.

    I did hear from other passengers about a rum tour that was interesting… But, that’s not something I would enjoy doing with my children.

  10. Michelle

    I just returned yesterday from a Royal Caribbean cruise in the Southern Caribbean with the last stop in St. Croix, USVI. It was my favorite stop of the cruise, and reminded me of a laid back coastal town in rural Florida or the Cape Cod area. There are three National Parks to visit, and a near perfect beach right at the end the of cruise pier. On the last night of our cruise everyone at our dinner tabled agreed St. Croix was their favorite island (out of Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Maartin, St. Croix, and Puerto Rico).

    We did an excursion to Christiansted that took us out on a National Parks approved snorkel guide of the underwater coral reef “hiking” trail at Buck Island. This is one of the major coral reefs in the world, and unlike the Great Barrier Reef is nearly empty of other tourists. Our tour was run through Caribbean Sea Adventures, and included a marine biologist who could answer any questions someone asked. It was a 40 minute taxi ride to and from Christiansted, but the area is a sleepy seaside village with historic buildings that will make you think you are in Magic Kingdom’s Pirates of the Caribbean. Best of all, unlike many of our other stops we were not once hassled with hard sells, and people kept thanking us for visiting. Everyone we met was friendly and open and excited to share their island with us.

    Currently St. Croix gets very few cruise ships, and only one is in dock at a time. It is a great, secluded stop and felt like being on a cruise line’s private island. The port town of Frederiksted is another sleepy village (it was a Sunday, and our driver said most places close up on Sundays like many American small towns). Right at the end of the pier locals gathered to simply greet us and say thank you for choosing their island, no hard sells. There was a few booths of local crafts and art like you would find at a farmers market. The beach is crystal clear and just two steps in the water is a coal reef with good snorkeling. I even just went out with my goggles and could see for yards, though you could see all sorts of colorful fish just by looking out at the clear water. This was our favorite beach of the six islands we stopped at, and was at our ships doorstep.

    Some of the other folks on our ship did tours of Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge, which you could do as an hour hike from the ship. Others did biking or kayak tours of Salt River Bay National Park. I would love to see on of Disney’s smaller ships make a stop at St. Croix. It is less commercial or built up than other U.S.V.I., and a secret gem. It is for someone looking for natural beauty, history, or peacefulness.

    1. jack

      Michelle – If I remember correctly, when DCL bailed out of the remainder of their St. Croix cruises, the story was that the island could not adequately accommodate more than one ship at a time. If my memory is correct, when pressed further, I believe it had to do with an inability to service the guests … whether it be at restaurants … shoppes … taxi’s … or excursions (something along that line).

      Having someone thank YOU for selecting their island reminds me of when we sailed to Nassau shortly after 9/11. The locals were very grateful for the tourism, and were appreciative of our visit. Perhaps Nassau has slipped back into a time when they expect their share of cruise ships. Perhaps that may be why DCL “may” be in a position to consider other options.

  11. Kelly

    I think St.Croix would be a nice stop. I just wish they’d swap St.Thomas for it rather than Tortola or St.Maarten.

    Bring on fresh ports!


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