The British Virgin Islands’ cruise pier expansion project has officially broken ground and is now set to begin marine works, according to the British Virgin Islands Ports Authority.
For now, one side of the pier, including dredging works, along with the southern boardwalk and revetment are anticipated to be completed in January 2015, according to project manager Dion Stoutt.
The expansion is part of a major cruise push for the British Virgin Islands.
“The marine works are in line with the expectations by both Norwegian Cruise Line and Disney Cruise Line that signed berthing agreements with the Authority earlier this year,” said Claude Skelton Cline, managing director of the BVI Ports Authority.
The British Overseas Territory signed an agreement with Disney and Norwegian at the beginning of this year that reportedly guaranteed 425,000 annual cruise visitors to the territory by 2015, according to Premier Dr Orlando Smith.
Of that number, Norwegian will guarantee 350,000. while Disney will guarantee 75,000.
Cline said that one side of the pier has to be completed for Disney’s Fantasy ship on Jan. 7, with the other side needing to be complete for NCL’s Breakaway on April 29, 2015.
Both ships are 4,000-passenger vessels which cannot currently call to the territory’s existing cruise pier in Tortola.
In a statement, the Ports Authority said the project, which is being done by the government of the British Virgin Islands, was “expected to create a unique and modern cruise pier facility that is environmentally compatible and sustainable, that delivers a memorable and world-class experience.”