Antigua has made a leap forward to becoming a homeport for cruise lines, as St John’s will be one of four homes for the Spanish cruise line, Pullmantur.
From December, passengers can pick up the cruise from Antigua.
“The cruise line has been associated with Antigua, but it will be the first time its going to offer an opportunity for us to embark cruise passengers from Antigua and Barbuda directly,” President of the Antigua Tourism Cruise Association Nathan Dundas noted.
He said the new venture is an opportunity for Antiguans who do not hold an American Visa to board the cruise.
“Some Antiguans are not able to go on cruises, because most times the ships are docked in San Juan and Miami, but now this is no more. They can dock right here,” he said.
He said the new initiative will also create employment for nationals.
“It will be easy to access the cruise, because we will have local tour operators selling the cruise right here. We will have the cooperation of the Immigration Department and involvement of customs and private security” he said.
Where affordability is concerned, Dundas did not want to give specifics, but, he said, “it will be cheaper than going to Puerto Rico or Miami”.
According to Dundas, the move will benefit the cruise lines by creating a wider basket to increase Caribbean passengers.
The cruise line will be serving seven islands in the Eastern Caribbean, to include St Kitts, Dominica, Barbados, Martinique, Dominican Republic, St Maarten and back to Antigua.
The cruise, which has a capacity of close to 3000, can also be picked up from St Maarten, the Dominica Republic and Barbados.