Tourism and port authorities are making final preparations to welcome P&O cruise lines’ Arvia come January.
The Arvia is one of the vessels that will begin home porting from Antigua and Barbuda in the new year.
A notice issued by St. Maarten’s tourism office last week indicated that the Arvia is due to make its inaugural call to that country on 17th January.
This confirms the statements made by Antigua and Barbuda’s tourism minister, Charles Fernandez in July that final arrangements were being made to seal the home porting deal with P&O which is part of the Carnival Corporation & PLC.
This was to have been finalised when executives of the cruise line visited Antigua and Barbuda in October.
“This means the cruise will start and end in Antigua. Passengers will have to come in by air so there is an obvious benefit already. Taxi operators will make money by transporting them from the airport to the quay. It opens the opportunity for us to benefit in so many areas – in fuel, removal of garbage …,” Fernandez said in an interview at the time.
Antigua and Barbuda has been keen to the lucrative home porting arrangement ahead of St. Maarten which also had intentions of courting the ocean liner.
Antigua Cruise Port’s general manager, Dona Regis-Prosper, confirmed Antigua and Barbuda’s success when she indicated in an interview with an online cruise industry website in October that the Arvia would home port in Antigua and Barbuda from January to March 2023.
The Arvia is one of the world’s largest cruise ships.
Built by the German shipbuilding company Meyer Werft, Arvia measures more than 180,000 gross tonnes, is 344.5 metres long, 42 metres wide, has 2,614 cabins for 5,200 passengers and is identical in construction to her sister ship Iona, which was delivered in 2020. Both ships are equipped with the cleanest propulsion system currently available to the shipping industry, a liquefied natural gas (LNG) propulsion system.
According to the St. Maarten Herald, “Dutch independent fuel supplier Titan concluded the first LNG delivery to cruise ship Arvia last week. The gassing up and LNG bunker operation to the Arvia was executed in Eemshaven in the Netherlands.
According to P&O Cruises’ promotion, Arvia will offer new and exciting shore experiences.
The cruise line has planned many “top-secret” entertainment partnerships and activities for its passengers’ enjoyment. It also offers a “new unique, immersive experience” called Mission Walk, consisting of an altitude skywalk and miniature golf.
The ship will also feature a sushi and plant-based restaurant.