Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Cruise Tourism to Increase During Winter Season

Aboard the P&O vessel Arcadia.After what was deemed a very slow summer season, the winter season is expected to pick up for stakeholders in the cruise business with over seven new ships calling on the port.

The first of the winter cruise vacations arrived in Antigua yesterday, the transatlantic voyage from the UK Cruise Line, P&O, with its vessel Arcadia.

President of the Antigua and Barbuda Cruise Tourism Association (ABCTA) Nathan Dundas said P&O will be making approximately 25 calls and it is expected that Antigua will receive calls from two other UK lines, Fred Olsen & Saga Cruises.

“If the bookings hold as we have received them and we are not hindered by any weather conditions we can still expect to have a good winter season,” Dundas told the Antigua Sun.

It is expected that the main American cruise lines Carnival Cruise Corporation and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines will maintain their calls to Antigua and Barbuda throughout the winter season.

According to Dundas, Antigua and Barbuda expects to receive at least seven new discount cruises calling in St. John’s for the first time with the most anticipated one being the Carnival Victory from Carnival Cruise Lines.

“The Carnival Victory is the cruise ship that will be replacing the Carnival Destiny that used to make weekly calls all year-round to Antigua,” he stated.

Carnival Victory’s first call will be on 7 Nov.

Antigua is said to be one of the destinations that is doing well in the winter season even though the island is at the same declining position as the rest of the Caribbean during the summer months.

“Cruise stakeholders will be looking forward to a good season as the summer was very slow for the past month having only one cruise- ship, the Adventure of the Seas making fortnightly calls to Antigua,” Dundas added.

The first new ship making its inaugural call to Antigua will be the French cruise ship Amadea from the V Ships Cruise Line on 27 Oct.

The cruise sector still expects to reach its target of over 620,000 passengers for the 2008/2009 season.

By: Afeefah Beharry
Antigua Sun; October 6, 2008