CASTRIES, Saint Lucia (February 21, 2011) - New cruise ship calls will be made to Saint Lucia in the 2012-2013 season when Norwegian Cruise Line makes regular visits to the island.

Saint Lucia's Tourism Minister Senator Allen Chastanet announced the top cruise company has added Saint Lucia to its itinerary for the new season. "This is incredibly exciting news for our tourism sector. Saint Lucians are thrilled to welcome Norwegian," exclaimed Senator Chastanet.

The decision to embed regular stops to Saint Lucia in its Southern Caribbean itinerary was made after the company sampled the island's offerings with limited calls in 2009. "Their commitment to Saint Lucia," asserted the Senator "is no doubt due to our natural beauty, the new attractions and the licensing regime we have introduced, improved facilities for our guests - including those in the town of Anse La Rae - and uncompromising standards of safety and security."   

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Norwegian Sun will visit Saint Lucia next year.

Senator Chastanet reported Saint Lucia had welcomed major investments in its attractions, including a new zip line in Soufrière. The southern town will also feature a new world class spa and wellness facility as residents of the former French capital embrace village tourism.

"There is no question Saint Lucia is quickly emerging as a preferred travel destination for our member cruise lines," said Michele Paige, President of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), an organization which has a track record of giving back to the region.

Norwegian and other FCCA member lines have partnered with New York's Monroe College to recruit graduates from the College's hospitality and marine academy program at the Saint Lucia campus. The program helps sharpen the skills of island nationals, reduce unemployment, and boosts the number of Caribbean people who are employed in the cruise sector.

Senator Chastanet believes the real education will begin on board as future employees earn a living while being trained by "some of the best business people on the planet."

Norwegian Cruise Line is an innovator in cruise travel with a 44-year history of breaking the boundaries of traditional cruising, most notably with the introduction of Freestyle Cruising which has revolutionized the industry by allowing guests more freedom and flexibility. Today, Norwegian has 11 purpose-built Freestyle Cruising ships, providing guests the opportunity to enjoy a relaxed cruise vacation on some of the newest and most contemporary ships at sea.

For further information about Saint Lucia, contact the nearest Saint Lucia Tourist Board office: Head Office: 1 758 452-4094; UK: 207 341-7002; USA: 1 800 456-3984; and Canada: 1 800 869-0377.