In a space of just five days, Antigua and Barbuda has welcomed a second cruise ship making its inaugural visit to the St. John’s Harbour.
The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority and the Antigua Cruise Port arranged a welcome reception for the captain and crew of Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas.
The ABTA’s Chief Executive Officer, Colin C. James, extended a warm welcome to Captain Carl Graucob.
He described Royal Caribbean as a “strong” partner of Antigua and Barbuda in the cruise industry and pointed out that approximately a third of the passengers who arrive at the St. John’s Harbour do so aboard Royal Caribbean vessels.
James said the cruise sector brings direct benefits to the country as visitors stimulate the economy when they conduct business with taxi operators, vendors and restaurants.
“I can tell you that our vendors, taxi drivers and store operators are smiling today because of the potential to do brisk business while the vessel is docked in the harbour,” James stated.
Wednesday was Captain Graucob’s first time visiting Antigua and Barbuda and he said he was impressed with what he had seen.
He also congratulated the country on its decision to expand its berthing facilities to accommodate the larger ships.
“It’s a smart move to expand your facilities as the ships being built now are getting bigger and it is those countries where they can be accommodated that they will add to their itineraries,” he said.
According to Graucob, bigger ships are the way of the future for all cruise lines.
Royal Caribbean, MSC Cruise Lines and Carnival, which features the world’s largest oasis class ships, have all moved to commission increasingly larger vessels.
The Voyager of the Seas is slated to make several more calls to the St. John’s Harbour over the course of the cruise season.
3,800 passengers arrived aboard the vessel when it docked at the Heritage Quay Port.