Montserrat, here we come!

According to USA Today, Windstar Cruises will begin offering Caribbean cruises starting and ending in Montseratt later this year.

The small-ship line says its 208-passenger Star Legend will operate seven-night voyages that include stops at Montserrat as well as St. Barts, St. Maarten and the British Virgin Islands starting on Dec. 8.

Tourism to Montserrat plunged to almost nothing in the wake of the 1995 eruption of the island’s Soufrière Hills volcano, which destroyed the Georgian era capital city of Plymouth and forced two-thirds of the island’s population to flee. But a new town and port is being developed at Little Bay, on the island’s northwest coast, and tourists have been trickling back. With its new deployment, Windstar will become the only major cruise operator sailing regularly to the destination.

“It’s a neat new stop,” Windstar CEO Hans Birkholz told cruise writers Wednesday at the annual Cruise Shipping Miami conference in Miami Beach, Fla. “People are coming back. Montserrat is back alive.”

Birkholz noted that Windstar ships had sailed past the island in the past to let passengers see the lava flows from the Soufriere Hills volcano and the destruction that it was causing. Now, “we’re going to stop there for the day, and people can see what’s going on.”

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