Arvia will be first of several cruise vessels to homeport in Antigua this year

Temporary terminal at the fifth berth
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By Samantha Simon

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Antigua and Barbuda is making final preparations ahead of Saturday’s arrival of the largest cruise ship ever to visit the country.

The Excel class cruise ship, Arvia, will also be the first to homeport here during 2023.

According to Jessica Russell, the Leasing and Marketing Officer for the Antigua Cruise Port, this is only the start of what proves to be a healthy homeporting venture.

The P&O Cruises vessel is set to return to the port’s fifth berth in St John’s every two weeks until March, carrying between 700 and its max capacity of 5,200 passengers, as well as 1,800 crew.

Once the winter cruise season comes to an end, the temporary terminal structure at the fifth berth will be dismantled to make room for the development of a new homeporting terminal to house a permanent home for Arvia once it returns in November.

This Saturday, over 700 of the approximately 750 cruise passengers who will be boarding the vessel will be arriving on island via Virgin Atlantic airlines, while approximately 40 persons will be from Antigua.

Russell further spoke to the opportunities that have positioned residents to be able to enjoy the country’s expanding cruise industry, as they will not have to book flights to homeports in the US and other countries to access routes travelling through the Caribbean.

Meanwhile, Arvia will not be the only vessel homeporting during the 2023 cruise season, as the Emerald Sakara — a luxury mega yacht from Emerald Cruises — will also be docking, alongside a turnaround of the Royal Clipper, a steel-hulled five-masted tall ship used as a cruise ship by Star Clipper, in December.

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