Published on : Monday, January 2, 2017
The Harmony of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship, docked in Puerto Rico on Wednesday. Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla, who leaves office next month, led the reception committee at Pier 3 in San Juan Harbor, hailing the arrival of Royal Caribbean’s newest vessel ship as a boost to Puerto Rico’s ailing economy.
“This new cruiser is capable of transporting nearly 6,300 passengers and some 2,400 crew members, which makes it literally the new king of the seas,” the governor said.
Notably, the Harmony of the Seas is scheduled to make 24 voyages to Puerto Rico between now and April 2018.
Puerto Rico invested $8 million in modernizing Pier 3 to accommodate Royal Caribbean’s new class of giant cruise ships. Garcia Padilla said the money spent on improving the port will generate much larger sums from the increase in tourism.
“Everyone benefits, from the area merchants to the taxi drivers, craftspeople, restaurants, shopping malls and the complete line of tourist services,” he said.
Puerto Rican officials have also forecast that a record 1.7 million cruise ship passengers will visit the island in 2017.
Puerto Rican lawmakers recently voted to extend to 2018 a package of incentives for the cruise industry and official announced in October that Viking Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Lines were planning to add Puerto Rico to their itineraries.
Tourism accounts for more than 7 percent of Puerto Rico’s gross domestic product, according to the island’s government.