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Martinique eyes large cruise ships with facilities upgrade

Martinique is upgrading its cruise facilities to enable mega-ships to dock at the two terminals in Fort-de-France.

Upgrades at the Pointe Simon wharf, where the cruise pier is being extended, are scheduled to be completed by late December or early 2013. Work on the nearby Tourelles cruise terminal will be completed by the end of 2013.

Martinique plans to ease passenger flow and improve overall operations.

Both cruise facilities are within walking distance of downtown. Visitors can access the shops, attractions and restaurants in Fort-de-France via the Malecon promenade, which recently completed a capital-improvement project.

Martinique welcomed 85 cruise calls in the 2011-2012 cruise season. From October 2012 to April 2013, cruise calls are slated to total 132.

"The opportunity for Martinique to grow its tourism receipts by further developing the cruise sector has never been greater," said Karine Roy-Camille, commissioner of the Martinique Tourism Authority.

Barbados made a similar announcement, unveiling plans to build a new terminal to accommodate the industry’s largest cruise ships.

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