By Makeida Antonio
For the first time since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, three cruise ships were docked at the port of St John’s yesterday.
Cruise tourism officials held a plaque exchange ceremony to welcome the Sky Princess on her maiden voyage to Antigua and Barbuda, and the Silver Whisper which has added the twin island nation to its itinerary since returning to Caribbean waters. The third ship that has spent Sunday in port is the British ship Britannia.
Tourism Minister Charles Fernandez expressed his joy at seeing almost normal activity in St John’s as ships chose the country as their destination of choice.
âDriving through St John’s and coming here was really amazing to see so many people getting off the ship and entering St John’s. We have the nicest people in the Caribbean, that’s a great thing, but I think on top of that we do a lot of work at the port and the news got out, âhe told the media. yesterday.
Fernandez explained that the technical aspects of the industry have been positively taken into account, making it a more refined cruise tourism product.
âFor example, the captains themselves have told me that the widening of the inbound channel has been a great improvement for them. Traditionally, in strong winds, some boats have to turn around. This is not happening now, they are very confident to enter. On top of that, the fact that Global Ports Holding manages the port has set a new level of management. As you know, they are the largest port operators in the world, so they bring enormous expertise. “
Antigua Cruise Port General Manager Dona Regis-Prosper said about 2,600 passengers in total were on board the three ships that docked at the Nevis Street and Heritage Quay piers. She thanked all stakeholders for their hard work to ensure the safety and security of residents and visitors.
âWe have our joint efforts of the Department of Health, Welfare and Environment where every passenger who comes to Antigua has to go through this process. We have a team from the Ministry of Health to ensure that passengers go through this additional control before disembarking at their destination, âshe said yesterday.
Antigua Cruise Port Operations Director Rawle Reynolds reiterated that the low number of Covid-19 cases along with an increase in the vaccination rate makes Antigua and Barbuda a more attractive destination for tourists wishing to travel to the Caribbean.