A cloud of disappointment hung over local tourism stakeholders whose expectations of earning some much needed income were dashed yesterday morning after three major cruise ships were forced to cancel plans to dock in Antigua.
The cancellation was due to high waves and strong winds that are currently impacting the island and the rest of the region, and according to the ships’ agents, The Crown Princess, The Norwegian Dawn, and The Anthem of the Seas made numerous unsuccessful attempts to dock at Heritage Quay in St John’s.
OBSERVER media spoke to several of souvenir vendors and taxi operators who shared their disappointment, while at the same time accepting the fact that the unusual weather conditions was the reason for the cancellations.
“We can’t do [anything] about the situation. The most important thing is [people’s lives are saved],” was the common sentiment of the vendors who ply their trade at Heritage Quay.
“We were really having high hopes today and we got kind of disappointed, but if it’s natural from the weather, so we just have to ‘make out’. We will try again next week because no more [ships are coming] until next week, but we are kinda disappointed,” a female vendor said.
However, another woman said that even with ships in the harbour, brisk business was not guaranteed.
“Like yesterday, three or four [ships were there]. It don’t really matter because boat come yesterday and we don’t sell nothing,” the woman explained
Some taxi operators also expressed their disappointment.
“I personally believe that a lot of people were affected in terms of like their business because a lot of people were supposed to come here today [Friday]. Yeah, a lot of people are feeling down but no hope is lost, tomorrow is another day,” one man told OBSERVER media.
“Well knowing that tourism affects basically the whole country, you could actually see it affecting everybody today — from the taxi drivers coming all the way down to the guys that wash down vehicles; it’s like nobody is getting anything today,” another disheartened taxi driver said.
The merchants and store operators in the Heritage Quay duty free shopping mall would have also missed out on the opportunity to market their wide variety of merchandise.
The Anthem of the Seas alone had 4,108 passengers.