By Pointe Xpress: Antigua and Barbuda is anticipating a bumper cruise tourism 2022-23 season, another clear signal that the world is moving on from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The prediction comes from the General Manager of Antigua Cruise Port Ltd. (ACP), Dona Regis-Prosper. According to her, for the first three months of the season – October to December 2022 – more than a quarter of a million visitors will arrive in the country.
Four cruise calls are booked for this month beginning on October 18 with Celebrity Millennium which makes a second stop on the 25.
Another Celebrity vessel – Equinox – will arrive on the 27, while Britannia of P&O Cruise Lines arrives on the 31st October.
In October, just over nine thousand visitors will arrive in the country. In November, 36 calls will produce 62,000 visitors.
In December, 69 scheduled calls will bring 163,000 visitors to Antigua and Barbuda. By the end of 2022, 234,000 cruise passengers will be welcomed.
According to Regis-Prosper, a key development this season is that Antigua and Barbuda will become a homeport.
This will benefit Antigua and Barbuda positively in a big way.
From December, the luxury yacht – Star Clipper – will begin home porting in the St John’s Harbour.
Home-porting will move to the next level in January 2023, when Carnival Cruise Lines’ biggest vessel – Arvia – accepts passengers from St. John’s on the 28th.
“This vessel has a capacity of 5000 passengers but one thousand of them will board the vessel here in St. John’s. They will arrive at the V. C. Bird International Airport on chartered flights and transported to the St. John’s Harbour using local transportation. This is a huge development because it means residents here may board the vessel and the vessel may also use the opportunity to stock up on supplies while here,” the ACP General Manager stated.
She said this move will help to cement Antigua and Barbuda’s status in the industry as many destinations seek to become a home port, a feature which benefits every facet of the economy.
The ACP boss added that she is pleased with the outlook for the 2022-23 season as on some days, there will be as many as five cruise ships in the port, a sign that Antigua and Barbuda’s cruise tourism sector is on a promising recovery from the fall out of the COVID-19 pandemic.