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Over 13 000 cruise in

GERCINE CARTER, [email protected]

Over 13 000 cruise in

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Thousands of visitors descended on Barbados yesterday with the arrival of five cruise ships at the Bridgetown Port.

The Royal Princess, Mein Schiff 3, Norwegian Dawn, Celebrity Reflection and Zenith, with a combined passenger capacity of over 13 000 people and total crew compliment of over 4 000, made for a hectic day in the Bridgetown Port and heightened visitor activity on the island.

Tourism and port officials, as well as representatives from Platinum Port Agency were there to welcome one of the ships, the Celebrity Reflection, which was on its first visit to Barbados.

The newest ship in the Celebrity line has a passenger capacity of more than 3 000. It arrived from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and will be making other calls during the winter season. Passengers were treated to performances by the Daryll Jordan School Steel Orchestra.

There was the customary exchange of plaques between the ship’s captain Dimitris Kafetzis and chairman of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. Alvin Jemmott, Captain Karl Branch of Barbados Port Inc. and  Martin Ince, chief executive officer of Foster and Ince Group of Companies, agents for all five ships in port.

Jemmott said Barbados was seeing a rebound in the cruise arrivals this year with just over 800 000 cruise visitors projected to come to the island. He added that things were back on track after earlier concerns about the impact of hurricanes Irma and Maria on the region’s cruise business.

Barbados has seen an increase in the number of cruise ships as a direct result of the two hurricanes which severely damaged ports in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and others in the northern and eastern Caribbean.

Some cruise lines were forced to reschedule itineraries and divert ships to Barbados and ports in other Caribbean islands not affected by the weather systems. However, most of the damaged ports were scheduled to reopen this month and the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association mounted a campaign to advise the cruise world the region was open for business.

The Port of San Juan, which is the hub for nearly all the cruise lines operating in the region, has partially reopened.

Meanwhile, the Bridgetown Port is preparing for one of the busiest days in this year’s cruise season on Friday, when seven cruise ships are expected to dock. (GC)