Antigua and Barbuda could become the home porting port of the region, as several other cruise lines have expressed their interest in using the port for that purpose.
P&O’s Arvia just completed what has been described as a successful home porting activity in Antigua. The vessel made four calls to the island.
General Manager of the Antigua and Barbuda Cruise Port Donna Regis Prosper said while there were minor “teething” issues, the entire process went well.
“The feedback has been encouraging. When you do those things for the first time, there are teething problems. They’re things that you need to work on. But certainly, we were able to represent Antigua very well”, she said.
She said passengers had a very positive experience with four turnaround calls.
“We had an average of 800 passengers getting on the vessel and another 800 disembarking, including residents who took the opportunity to take a cruise. The cruise line was so pleased that they increased the number of not only the Homeporting operations but also the number of passengers who would be embarking in Antigua,” she said.
Meanwhile, prosper said there are plans in developing the area around the fifth pier, to make it more accommodating for home porting.
“The new designs for the terminal building are completed and we’re starting construction during this summer period, it will not be completed, unfortunately, by the next season, but the following season it will be completed. But we will continue to focus on the experience and getting stakeholders together to ensure that this is not only about Antigua cruise port, but it’s about everybody coming together,” she said
Meanwhile, Aida Cruises has partnered with various schools on the island to host students when they are in port.
“In addition to the cruise lines coming and the passengers enjoying the destination, we thought as a company that we should also do some social programs. And we thought what better place to start than with our youth? So, we partnered with them so that they could host schoolchildren every time a vessel is in port. And this has gone down very, very well. We’ve hosted over 2000 students so far, and this is continuing”, she said
The aim is to also expose youngsters to cruise ships at an early age.