October 11th Update
U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS GETTING BACK TO BUSINESS FOLLOWING SEPTEMBER STORMS
The Buccaneer Hotel on St. Croix to welcome vacationers starting November 1
U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS (October 11, 2017) – The U.S. Virgin Islands is getting back to the business of welcoming visitors to its shores following Hurricanes Irma and Maria, which struck the Territory last month.
Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty reported that the airports on St. Croix and St. Thomas are now open to commercial flights, and one of the flagship hotels on the island of St. Croix, The Buccaneer, has announced it is accepting reservations for leisure guests arriving on or after November 1, 2017.
The historic property received minimal damage to its infrastructure and has remained open to accommodate relief personnel. The resort team reports that while availability is limited due to many rooms being occupied by federal relief teams, the hotel will be fully operational and ready to welcome vacationers starting November 1. Key facilities and amenities, including Mermaid Beach, the golf course, tennis courts, pool, the spa and Mermaid Restaurant will be available for guests.
Additionally, the resort will host the annual St. Croix Coral Reef Swim on November 5. Now in its 22nd year, the race attracts fitness swimmers and world-class athletes who compete in various swim courses, culminating at The Buccaneer’s Mermaid Beach.
As discussions with transportation partners continue, the Department of Tourism reports JetBlue Airways has resumed commercial service to the Territory. This service is in addition to American Airlines operations at both the Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas and the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix, as well as Delta Air Lines and Spirit Airlines service to and from St. Thomas. Inter-island flights by Air Sunshine, Cape Air and Seaborne Airlines are also operational. As conditions improve, airline schedules are likely to normalize. In the interim, passengers are encouraged to check with their airlines for flight times.
“We are working closely with our airline partners to ensure there are commercial flight services to meet the needs of our residents, businesses, visitors and the numerous professionals who are supporting the hurricane recovery,” said Commissioner Nicholson-Doty. “We will continue to advocate for expanded service as more of our hotel properties reopen and demand begins to grow in the marketplace,” she said.
In order to assess overall readiness of the destination to welcome visitors, the Department of Tourism has met with business leaders in the St. Croix and St. Thomas/St. John districts, and is in the process of conducting an assessment of hotels, attractions and other visitor-related businesses to determine the extent of damage, availability of power and water, and anticipated reopening dates.
The storms’ impact to the Territory’s hotel inventory was not as extensive in St. Croix as it was in St. Thomas and St. John. In addition to The Buccaneer, Caravelle Hotel & Casino and Tamarind Reef Resort in St. Croix are currently housing relief workers.
Seaport facilities are open, and businesses and attractions are looking forward to welcoming cruise visitors in November.
While the clean-up process is underway in the town of Frederiksted on St. Croix, many dining establishments, stores and activities are up and running in Christiansted on the eastern side of the island. Similarly, shops, restaurants and attractions are ready to welcome customers in St. Thomas. The downtown Charlotte Amalie shopping area, including businesses on Main Street and at Havensight Mall, is ready to open, with power and water already restored. On St. John, efforts are ongoing to clear debris, restore infrastructure and reopen the Virgin Islands National Park.
Many of the Territory’s beaches are getting set to reopen in the weeks ahead, pending the completion of water quality testing by the Department of Planning and Natural Resources.
For further information, visit www.usviupdate.com.
The official website to donate to the U.S. Virgin Islands recovery effort is www.usvirecovery.org.
September 30th Update
Governor Kenneth E. Mapp reported that St. Thomas’ Cyril E. King Airport opened to commercial flights as planned on Thursday, with both American Airlines and Delta Air Lines operating services to the mainland United States.
The restoration of power, he added, was “inching its way forward”, while the Federal Emergency Management Agency, working with local counterparts, was progressing with its provision of water to homes.
The governor said cruise ships would like to return to St. Thomas and St. Croix as soon as 15 October, but that late October is a more realistic target. A formal announcement from the cruise lines and the U.S. Virgin Islands Government is expected next week.
Several businesses that serve cruise ship passengers are prepared to welcome visitors. Pash Daswani, President of the India Association, stated that association members who own Charlotte Amalie businesses are fully operational.
Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty said the cruise lines have requested a status report on beaches and other attractions in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and that representatives would soon visit to assess sites in the territory so they can start scheduling cruise calls.
The West Indian Company Limited (WICO), which manages St. Thomas’ main cruise pier, was largely undamaged by the storm, according to WICO CEO Clifford Graham.
The official website to donate to the U.S. Virgin Islands recovery effort is usvirecovery.org. Department of Tourism updates are available via www.usviupdate.com.
Source: CTO POST HURRICANES CARIBBEAN UPDATE #1, Sept 30th
(Sept 26) Business Community Optimistic About USVI Recovery And Governement Response – View Release
September 27th Update – St Croix
Club Comanche Hotel – 9/25 – Facebook Post: “Power was restored late Saturday, once curfew is lifted, I’ll get the Comanche Team going so we can reopen asap!” “We can report that the Club Comanche Hotel St. Croix has survived Hurricane Maria. Soon we will be accommodating First Responders as they assist in the entire islands recovery. We will be updating this page as time permits to keep everyone
Cottages by the Sea – 9/27 -Our property is doing great, although the power and cell service is still on and off. We are accepting reservations at this time. We are asking that everyone please go to our website to book your reservations at: www.caribbeancottages.com. Our reservation number is 800-323-7252. For questions, please email us at: email@example.com
Divi Carina Bay Beach Resort & Casino – 9/27: After a more extensive review of the damage to Divi Carina Bay, resort management has made the decision to close the resort until the end of the year. Please contact the resort via email at EC@divicarina.com for reservations booked directly on the website or by phone. Divi will reach out to travelers with the earliest arrival dates first. For reservations booked through a third-party provider, please contact them directly to cancel the reservation and determine their cancellation policy.
Frederiksted Hotel – 9/27 – Opening September 13 at 4:00 p.m. and accepting guests
Hotel Caravelle – 9/21 FB post: “We are happy to report that the hotel did relatively ok through Category 5 Hurricane Maria. We will be accommodating FEMA teams shortly and will keep everyone posted on when we will be accepting additional guests.”
Hotel on the Cay 9/22 – “Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers over these past few days. Hotel on the Cay has survived Hurricane Maria and will be housing relief workers. If you are contacting us for stays scheduled outside of the next 30 days, we respectfully ask that you contact us at a later date.”
Sand Castle On The Beach – 9/27 – We are up and running again and will start serving brunch as usual at 10am today and Sunday. Call 340-772-1205 to reserve a table.
Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort & Spa – 9/27: The resort is open and ready to welcome guests.
The Palms At Pelican Cove – 9/27 – We are so very thankful to have been spared the heaviest of devastation of Hurricane IRMA. We were so very fortunate on St Croix. Although there was sporadic damage over the island, it could have been so much worse. Our thoughts and prayers are with our sister islands to the North and East. We wanted to let you know that although we sustained a bit of ocean debris and sand into the common areas (restaurant/bar/lobby/courtyard areas), we are in the process of clean-up and the bar is open. Drinks and Full Menu are available! Note that only one credit card machine is operating at this time, so please bear with us as we get back up and running.
The Buccaneer – 9/21 FB post: “We are so happy to report that The Buccaneer has been spared of major damage after Hurricane Maria passed by St. Croix. Our guests and staff are safe and are currently enjoying lunch in the Brass Parrot.”
September 27th Update – St John
Caneel Bay – 9/27 – Caneel Bay will be closed for the remainder of 2017. Further updates for 2018 will become available in due course.
Estate Lindholm – 9/25 – Facebook Post: “We are looking far better than the Weather Channel says we are! The green is back in the garden. Fortunately, Maria did almost no additional damage to us, though it did cause extensive damage to St. Crook and PR. What a year for hurricanes! Gordon is in Cape Cod for a couple of weeks. He is fielding all reservation information from there, by both email and telephone, so please feel free to be in touch with him. We will reopen on Dec 1, 2017. Mother Nature heals herself quickly, and St. John’s beaches and trails will be looking great in no time. New green leaves are already coming out on the trees, though there will be many visual reminders of Irma for some time to come. We are champing at the bit to begin making our repairs, just as soon as our shipment of building supplies arrives from Ft. Lauderdale. Until then, we are staying busy cleaning and pruning. “
The Westin St. John, USVI – 9/27 – Due to Hurricane Irma, we are assessing the overall impact to The Westin St. John Resort Villas. Our immediate priority is the continued safety and well-being of our Associates and the St. John community. As a result, The Westin St. John Resort Villas will remain closed throughout 2017. In the meantime, we are working diligently to reopen as quickly as possible and we will provide updates as they become available. Thank you for your continued support, patience and understanding.
VIVA! Villas – 9/25 – Facebook Post: “We have survived Hurricane Irma and will make it through Maria . Thank you to all of our loyal customers who keep checking on us!”
September 27th Update – St Thomas
Bluebeard’s Castle Resort: – 9/27 – Property will be closed until October 10, 2017
Bolongo Bay Beach Resort – 9/27 – Resort is housing people in need and a multitude of workers trying to help others on the Island. Resort looking at opening the 2nd to 3rd week of December.
Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, Marriott International has advised the resort is closed until further notice. Those planning to visit the hotel should check the news for the most current information. The resort is waiving hotel cancellation and change fees for specific arrival dates. Customers should call 1-800-228-9290 (US) for more information about their reservations. Those in countries outside of the United States seeking information about their reservations should call the Marriott toll-free number in their country. (Source: CTO Update 3, Sept 21)
Elysian Beach Resort – 9/27 – Property will be closed until October 10, 2017
Lindbergh Bay Hotel & Villas – 9/25 Facebook Post: “We have made it through Hurricane Maria and
have been assessing our property. We will give an update as soon as we can! Until then, we’d like to
thank everyone who’s been keeping us in their thoughts. It’s much appreciated”
Margaritaville St. Thomas – 9/27 – Property will be closed until October 10, 2017
Marriott’s Frenchman’s Cove – 9/25 – Facebook Post: “Marriott’s Frenchman’s Cove remains closed. Reservations have been cancelled through November 10. At this time, we encourage you to consider delaying travel plans to Marriott’s Frenchman’s Cove until further information becomes available.”
Point Pleasant Resort – 9/21 FB post: “Our staff is safe but our resort sustained some damage. The resort and a large portion of the island are still without power and water. The utility companies are working to restore these necessities as quickly as possible, but the second storm and its aftermath could delay the initial assessment. We feel it is in the best interest of our guests to cancel all reservations due to arrive through November 15, and impacted guests have already been notified. If you are in this group,
please contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for further assistance.”
The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas – 9/27 – Resort is currently closed. There are no reported injuries. We encourage those planning to visit the hotel to check the news for the most current information and amend their travel plans accordingly. We are waiving hotel cancellation and change fees for specific arrival dates and suggest our customers call 1-800-228-9290 for more information about their reservations. Those in countries outside of the United States seeking information about their reservations should call the Marriott toll-free number in their country.
Sugar Bay Resort Club & Resort – 9/27 – Due to Hurricane Irma, Sugar Bay is currently closed. We are working hard to reopen soon–for any hotel inquiries or other information please contact David Krech at Dkrech@sugarbayresortandspa.com or 305-608-4803. Thank you and we look forward to hosting our wonderful guests again soon!
Windward Passage Hotel – 9/21 – FB post: “Windward Passage Hotel will be closed until further notice.”
(Sept 22) Readout of President Donald J. Trump’s Phone Calls with the Governors of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands Regarding Hurricane Maria – View Release
September 22nd Update
U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas)
Speaking to reporters Thursday evening, Governor Kenneth E. Mapp called for a united community effort to help rebuild the Territory following Wednesday morning’s arrival of Hurricane Maria, which significantly impacted St. Croix and worsened conditions in the hurricane-affected district of St. Thomas-St. John, which includes Water Island.
Based on the Governor’s aerial flyover of St. Croix earlier in the day, the western and southwestern portion of the island received the greatest damage from Maria’s forceful winds and water. Much of the island’s power distribution has been compromised.
The Governor reported that the Virgin Islands Port Authority believes the Ann E. Abramson Marine Facility pier in Frederiksted, St. Croix’s deep water, cruise ship facility, withstood the barrage of wind and storm surge. The condition of the island’s Henry E. Rohlsen Airport is still being assessed, but the runway has been cleared.
Governor Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center in St. Croix has been breached, and efforts are underway to evacuate all patients from the facility to the U.S. mainland. Persons with special needs in shelters will be similarly evacuated. Approximately 600 individuals are currently being housed in shelters across the Territory.
The Department of Tourism continues to encourage travellers to postpone trips to the islands at this time as it further evaluates the damage caused by the hurricanes and coordinates evacuation efforts.
Communication throughout the Territory is limited, and the Department of Tourism is in the process of collecting information from tourism stakeholders.
To assist with the recovery and reconstruction of the U.S. Virgin Islands, please visit www.usvirecovery.org.
Source: CTO Update 3, Sept 21
(Sept 20) The White House – President Donald J. Trump Approves U.S. Virgin Islands Disaster Declaration – View Release