More cruise liners expected to dock in Antigua

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The country’s tourism minister is predicting a rise in cruise arrivals at the St. John’s port due to many re-routed vessels.
Asot Michael, minister of Tourism, Economic Development, Investment and Energy, said Antigua has confirmed 25 new calls for the upcoming tourist season. This development comes one week after the ships’ intended port of call, Sint Maarten, was ravaged by Category 5 Irma.
 “We have been advising all the cruise lines that Antigua was spared and we are open for business.” Minister Michael explained that the Cruise Tourism Association and Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority (ABTA) have been “in direct contact
with all the major cruise lines.”
 Carnival Cruises is expected to dock in the harbour every Friday for the remainder of the season according to Michael who also said the ministry “needs to make sure they handle this well.”
Michael said the twin-island was represented at Seatrade Europe last week, an international convention for cruise line stakeholders. His attendance was disrupted by the “havoc Irma left”, which interrupted flights to and from the island.
He named the Royal Caribbean and Norwegian cruise liners as two of the vessels which have been rerouted to Antigua for the September to December season.
The tourism minister was speaking to OBSERVER media after welcoming  Captain Candelero Donato of the Carnival Fascination as the first vessel to make contact with this destination and offer assistance.
The ship’s captain said that they will return next week to bring supplies to help with the rebuilding of Barbuda, a gesture for which he was thanked by minister Asot Michael, C.E.O of the port authority, Darwin Telemaque, and CEO of the ABTA, Colin C. James.
Carnival Fascination originated in Puerto Rico, and docked yesterday in Antigua with over 1700 cruise passengers and 800 crew members.
Meanwhile, the popular board walk at the Heritage Quay is still damaged, but the authorities have listed it as priority. The incoming tourists will frequent the passageway that connects Heritage and Redcliffe quays and so the ministry has already cordoned off the boardwalk area for repairs.

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