Cruise Lines Happy With Barbados Port Developments

Barbados’ top cruise line partners are looking forward to the developments being undertaken by the Barbados Port Inc. (BPI) to enhance the destination’s cruise experience.

This comes as Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Ian Gooding-Edghill, led a delegation of BPI and Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) officials to present tourism development plans to the destination’s main cruise business partners headquartered in Miami, Florida.

Over the days, Minister Gooding-Edghill met with senior executives from MSC Cruises, Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise Lines, and the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA).

During these meetings, he presented a number of developments already in train at the destination’s sole cruise port of entry, including Berth 6 construction which began in January 2023 and has a July 2024 completion date; expanded marina facilities with leisure, recreational and dining amenities to be completed by February 2024; the commercialization of lighthouses as visitor attractions; the completion of two mooring points for small cruise vessels at Speightstown; and the construction of four mooring points for super yachts on West Coast.

Minister Gooding-Edghill stated: “The Government of Barbados has invested over USD $100 million towards a series of critical developments to improve operational efficiencies at the Bridgetown Port and enhance the visitor experience. We aren’t just making improvements for now; we are looking ahead to where we want our cruise business to grow. In order to maintain and advance Barbados’ profile as a marquee port in the Southern Caribbean, it is important for us to continue to relook and improve upon the elements that contribute to the overall experience for both our cruise line partners doing business with us, and of course their passengers – our visitors.”

He added: “I am pleased to report that after presenting both our current and future plans, the enhancements have been well received by our cruise partners in Miami. They’ve disclosed to us that they are seeing positive recovery trends to their business post-pandemic, so our Port developments come at an important time when cruise globally is bouncing back. In our Master Plan 2020-2030 which we presented, we are making sure that our Port is safer; environmentally-friendly; attractive to visitors; and really a Port for the future that can handle the expansion of our cruise business five, 10 years down the line.”

According to the cruise lines, Barbados remains a primary port of call on many Southern Caribbean cruise itineraries, attracting ships with American, British and European voyagers.

During the presentation to Norwegian Cruise Lines, they shared that one of their newest ships will make 15 calls on Barbados during the 2024/25 upcoming winter season. The formal announcement will be made shortly.

Recently, the Minister gave a review of the performance of Barbados’ cruise tourism, where he stated that there has been some encouraging improvement in the post pandemic operations.

“In keeping with the recovery strategy, and shown by the statistics, December 2022 exceeded December 2018 and 2019 for the number of disembarking passengers,” he said.

“For December 2022, the number of passengers disembarking was 29,552 compared to 29,138 in December 2018,” the Tourism Minister reported.

This 2022/23 winter season, the Barbados Port Inc. will welcome a total of 15 inaugural vessels which include P&O’s newest and largest ship, Arvia. This vessel is one of the 21 homeporting vessels with a total number of homeporting calls of 183. Overall, the number of calls scheduled for the season is 364.