The Virgin Islands Port Authority and Royal Caribbean Group have partnered in a effort aimed at revitalizing the U.S. Virgin Islands’ cruise industry.

Wednesday at the Seatrade Cruise Global event held at the Miami Beach Convention Center, VIPA Executive Director Carlton Dowe and Royal Caribbean Group’s Vice President of Destination Development Joshua Carroll signed a memorandum of understanding between the two organizations, a recommitment from Royal Caribbean Group to extend its existing 10-year, pier-use agreement for preferential berthing at VIPA’s cruise facilities in Crown Bay, St. Thomas, and Frederiksted, St. Croix. The existing agreement was executed in June 2016, and by signing the agreement, VIPA and Royal Caribbean Group agree to collaborate on an extension of that agreement for an additional number of years.

Dowe also announced that in addition to guaranteed minimum revenues to VIPA and increased cruise visits to both St. Thomas and St. Croix, Royal Caribbean Group has expressed an interest in developing enhancements to the cruise facility in Crown Bay and making improvements in the Crown Bay area and St. Croix to enhance the island’s tourism product.

Dowe stated that this development signals an important boost for the territory’s economy and increased opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs in the tourism sector in the territory.

“Royal Caribbean is the leading cruise company in the industry, and it has committed to a major infusion of capital as well as guaranteed cruise visits to our islands. In this currently strained economic climate, this substantial commitment indicates Royal Caribbean Group’s dedication to the people of this territory and our economy,” he said.

VIPA will align with Royal Caribbean Group to expand the Austin “Babe” Monsanto Marine Facility in Crown Bay to allow the berthing that includes Icon- and Quantum-class ships and the development of a third berth.

Royal Caribbean Group has also committed to partner with VIPA and the government of the Virgin Islands to develop and enhance the overall visitor experience in St. Croix.

“The U.S. Virgin Islands is one of our best destination partners and the opportunity to continue innovating on ways to refine the guest experience helps guide our decision to expand our already strong relationship with the U.S. Virgin Islands,” said Carroll.