Green shoots on the horizon for A&B’s cruise industry

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By Kadeem Joseph

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There is a promising development for the country’s cruise industry with plans in the works for another vessel to begin homeporting in Antigua and Barbuda during the next cruise season.

The welcomed news followed similar plans for luxury cruise ship, Crystal Symphony of Crystal Cruises, to homeport here as of last August. However, that never materialised.

General Manager of Antigua Cruise Port, Dona Regis-Prosper, said despite that development last year there are still positive developments to come since the attractions of the country continue to manifest into opportunities.

She explained that because of the “great product” that Antigua and Barbuda has to offer and its “unique position” in the region, the company continues to promote the destination as a viable option for cruises to begin their journeys.

“Next year in 2023, we will be doing homeporting with one of the Carnival UK brands – that is P&O Cruises – one of their newest vessels called Arvia will be doing just about 10 turns in Antigua,” she said, describing it as “fantastic news” for the country.

Last July, Crystal Cruises cancelled its announced Caribbean cruises from Antigua and St Maarten.

The departures, which were announced in early April, were cancelled due to “ongoing uncertainty regarding ports of call and availability of adequate airlift,” Crystal noted in a statement.

However, Crystal Cruises “unceremoniously shuttered its doors” in early February 2022 due to financial difficulties, according to a Bloomberg report, thereby lessening the chances of the country reaping future benefits through port calls.

Regis-Prosper said the company’s closure is a major blow to the entire industry.

“As announced by Crystal Cruises, their company had some challenges and is no longer in service and this is a great loss to the entire industry globally, not just Antigua and Barbuda and the rest of the Caribbean,” she said.

She explained that Crystal Cruises was “very high end” and will be greatly missed.

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