Antigua and Barbuda to see best Cruise Season since 2010 following attendance at 22nd Annual FCCA Cruise Convention in Cozumel
Antigua and Barbuda continues to make significant gains in its efforts to attract more cruise ship calls and passengers to the destination. The destination has set its sights on increasing its presence in strategically making the case for more business to the cruise industry’s itinerary planners.
Presentations were made by the country’s tourism officials showcasing the plans for developing the St John’s Harbour with extension of the piers to accommodate the larger vessels along with the construction of an additional pier to enable up to six (6) ships to be berthed simultaneously. The development comes with the added benefits of new high- end shopping and facilities such as a cruise passenger terminal to position the destination to take advantage of home porting opportunities.
Antigua and Barbuda is actively pursuing opportunities to be a home port with several European based cruise lines in an effort to diversify it cruise ship offering. With the country’s new International Airport capable of handling up to 2 million passengers a year, the enhanced port facilities would see the destination poised to become a home port where cruise ships can start and end their itineraries in Antigua.
Following a meeting with Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL), Antigua will see cruise calls grow from single digits last season to 15 calls for the last quarter of 2015 as well as 13 calls in 2016. The Destination has also now secured calls from the Norwegian Breakaway, which is NCL’s second largest cruise ship. She will be making an inaugural call to Antigua on January 13th 2016 with 4,500 passengers. This newest inaugural calls means the destination is expecting at least five (5) ships so far from various cruise lines that will be bringing thousands of passengers for the upcoming season.
(RCCL) Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines will see the return of the Azamara to Antigua and Barbuda after an absence of five years. Antigua and Barbuda will have the best cruise season ever for 2015/16 from RCCL with passenger arrivals hitting a record at 216,314. This is an increase of 18% from 183,748 passengers last year. RCCL will be delivering a total of 83 calls for the upcoming season with larger ships calling at our port. The destination continues to score above the regional average in appeal and customer satisfaction with RCCL customers, which is a positive trend that helps to secure additional ship calls.
The signature cruise marketing allowed Antigua and Barbuda to present a renewed focus on the country’s brand and image with a vibrant booth, which was the talk of the tradeshow and was the most prominent display among the English-speaking Caribbean countries.
The FCCA’s Annual Convention has again yielded more cruise business for the country in direct support of the Government’s vision to put the cruise industry firmly on the front burner. The recent port upgrades and planned investment in the industry will all contribute towards transforming the economy and yielding tangible results to the thousands of stakeholders who depend on the cruise industry for their livelihood.