Puerto Rico Governor Welcomes World’s Largest Cruise Ship
SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro García Padilla welcomed the arrival of Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas, billed as the world’s largest mega-cruise, Wednesday at Pier 3 in Old San Juan. From December of this year until April 2018, the Harmony will make a total of 24 trips to the island.
Harmony’s arrival is the latest in a series of high-profile arrivals of mega-cruiseships to local ports. Since December 2014, Puerto Rico started to receive mega cruise ships, beginning with the arrival of Quantum of the Seas, also from Royal Caribbean. In November 2015, the island welcomed the Anthem of the Seas, and in March and June of this year, San Juan received the Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, respectively.
“With the arrival of the Harmony today, the family of mega cruises is complete. All of them already have a new home in Puerto Rico. The arrival of mega cruises to the port of San Juan was made possible by the extension of Pier 3, the result of our vision of accessing to the future of the cruise industry,” the governor said.
The governor added that the extension of the pier was made with an investment of $8 million, but that the benefit to the island’s economy will surpass many times that number. The economic impact of only three of the aforementioned vessels—Oasis, Allure and Harmony—totals $ 6.3 million in 2016.
“Everybody benefits from this, from the area’s merchants to our tour operators, taxi drivers, artisans, restaurants, shopping centers, in short, the full line of tourist services. Anyone who takes a walk around Old San Juan will be able to see the new life that has been injected, with hundreds of tourists strolling and new businesses that open their doors. It is not an illusion, it is a reality,” García Padilla said.
The governor also mentioned that in fiscal year 2017-2018 a new record will be established, with 1.7 million passengers arriving on cruise ships to San Juan.
“This will be the last time I will have the privilege, as governor, to announce an event of crucial importance for our tourism and economic development. But you know what? I do it with the peace of mind that comes from knowing that we did what we set out to do. We are leaving the country with a stronger tourism industry than ever before, with many more visitors, cruise ships, airlines and hotel rooms than when we arrived four years ago,” the governor added.