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Monday,  July 22, 2024   5:16 PM
Puerto Rico & Saint-Martin: Carnival's Justin French recounts his experience

Carnival Cruise Line's regional vice president, Canada & U.S., Justin C. French, had an exclusive interview with PAXnouvelles.com about a cruise he took last week in the Caribbean.

The route stopped at three of the most damaged areas in the region since Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria hit- Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and St. Martin- and the question arose: are these ports of call really ready to welcome cruise passengers?

This was one of Carnival Fascination's first trips since autumn, knowing that it was used as accommodation by FEMA volunteers in St. Thomas. It has since received several improvements after a brief stay in dry dock.

In summary, French encourages all cruisers to visit the region, contrary to some press reports.

"They [passengers] will still see six ports in seven days, enjoy very pleasant sunny temperatures, and low prices since the Caribbean is trying to entice travellers. Really, I do not hesitate to recommend this route. It would be different if it was an all-land trip to one destination, but going on a cruise and seeing a bit of everything is a good compromise."

Departure from Puerto Rico

"We embarked on Carnival Fascination in Puerto Rico, which was scheduled to depart at 10 p.m, leaving us all day to explore the city. I would say that the old part of San Juan, at least the tourist portion, is in very good condition. There was indeed some visible damage but nothing major, nothing that prevented us from doing what tempted us. The streets were very clean, the shops were open, the docks were fully renovated," French told PAXnouvelles.

Stopover at St. Thomas

"There is visible damage to St. Thomas, especially on the roofs around the harbor. But beyond a few ground excursions cancelled, everything seemed to be working normally, and none of this had a negative effect on the stopover. Coki Beach has been cleaned and is beautiful. The locals are working hard to get everything back in order," French said.

St. Martin: two sides of the coin

"All was well with Phillipsburg. Many businesses were rebuilt near the docks, which had suffered minor damage. Again, some shore excursions were not available, but that did not affect our on-site experience," French concluded.

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