Antigua and Barbuda is poised to receive 907,172 cruise ship visitors for this year. The Tourism Minister Asot Michael made the disclosure in a release to the media.
The minister said the anticipated record-breaking achievement was fostered by a series of vital meetings, held last week, with major cruise line partners at which Antigua and Barbuda successfully reassured them of the destination’s readiness to receive additional calls for the winter season.
According to the statement, Antigua and Barbuda is expected to receive a projected 459,138 cruise guests from calls by 226 ships between October and December 31, this year.
Of these calls, 57 are recent additions to the schedule and 12 will be calls from ships that have not previously visited Antigua.
The total estimate of cruise ship visitors to Antigua and Barbuda for the entire year will be the highest ever with some 907,172 visitors.
“This great milestone would not have been possible without the hard work and investment done by the government in upgrading our cruise facilities. In record-breaking time, we lengthened the Heritage Quay pier and completed the dredging of our harbour and turning basin to safely accommodate the visiting ships,” the tourism minister said.
There will be multiple calls on several days in December. The largest number of cruise passengers ever to visit the island on one day is scheduled to arrive on December 26, Boxing Day, with some 20,000 passengers and crew members from eight ships.
It is also predicted that this trend of increased cruise ship calls will continue into the first quarter of 2018 as several of Antigua and Barbuda’s cruise competitors were severely impacted by hurricanes in recent week, forcing diversions.