Luxury yacht operator eyes Barbados for winter

One of the world’s leading luxury mega yacht operators, SeaDream is planning a new week-long Barbados itinerary that could replace its planned Caribbean programme later this yea

This was revealed in Seatrade Cruise News, an online publication that focuses on the cruise sector, and which is the trading name of Informa Markets (UK) Limited.

According to the publication, if the plan is approved, it would represent a major development for the international cruising sector and for the Barbados economy.

SeaDream, a family-owned business, operates twin mega-yachts, SeaDream I and SeaDream II, and was founded by Atle Brynestad, the former chairman of Cunard Line Ltd. The company is said to be mulling a new itinerary for its super wealthy clients that would start in Barbados on November 8 and include St Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada – all islands regarded as low-risk for COVID-19.

Emilio Freeman, SeaDream’s vice-president of itineraries and destinations, said the proposal is a cruise that would embark at Bridgetown on Sunday, call at Kingston, St Vincent (Monday), Port Elizabeth, Bequia (Tuesday and overnight), Canouan Island (Wednesday), Mayreau (Thursday), St George’s, Grenada (Friday), Tobago Cays and Union Island (Saturday), and disembark in Barbados (Sunday).

Freeman said these stops offered friendly people, great beaches and were places where the rich go to get away, or “where billionaires go to get away from millionaires”.

SeaDream said it was trying to reach out to booked guests to get their thoughts about the Caribbean this winter.

Importantly, the company said, travellers would most likely be tested for COVID-19 three times before embarking and the mega yacht operators noted that Barbados required a negative test taken within 72 hours before arriving at the airport and likely would test travellers from high-risk countries like the United States upon arrival.

In any event, all passengers would be tested by the company when they embark in Barbados. SeaDream said it will have PCR testing with quick results and up to 50 people an hour would be able to be tested.

According to the company’s officials, guests will undergo temperature and oxygen saturation checks. Temperature checks will take place every time people come aboard from shore visits, and crew temperatures will be taken daily.

It was noted that while the SeaDream was doing routine antibody testing in Europe, it would be using the PCR test in the Caribbean, which was recognised as the gold standard.

The company explained that planning with individual countries was still underway.

Among the vessels’ COVID-19 onboard protocols are electrostatic fogging of luggage and public areas, no self-service, and UV-C treatment of accommodations after nightly turndown service.

The traditional cruise sector has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic since the outbreak in March, leaving most workers in the tourism sector without jobs. (IMC1)



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