The Chief Executive Officer of Barbados Port Inc. David Jean-Marie has revealed that the 2013 summer cruise season is set to receive a boost. Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCCL) is expected to announce the assignment of the Jewel of the Seas, one of their flagship vessels, to make an additional 17 calls to Barbados during the summer of 2013.
The decision to deploy a Radiance class ship in the Caribbean comes after an earlier announcement that the current summer vessel Serenade of the Seas, would be repositioned to the Mediterranean from the summer of 2012. At that time RCCL was not certain that a summer vessel would be positioned in the Caribbean in the near future.
Jean-Marie disclosed that following that announcement, Barbados Port Inc. along with the Barbados Tourism Authority initiated discussions with RCCL with a view to having a vessel remain in the Caribbean during the summer. Parallel discussions were also held between RCCL and several regional government representatives.
These discussions have resulted in RCCL taking the decision to redeploy the Jewel of the Seas in the Caribbean from May to October 2013 and offer 25 sailings out of San Juan, Puerto Rico. This summer itinerary will result in 17 additional calls to the Bridgetown Port, bringing over 36,000 guests during the period.
The Jewel of the Seas will be scheduled over three itineraries, two of which include a Barbados call.
RCCL, along with its associated brands, including TUI, Celebrity, and Azamara, typically brings close to 150,000 passengers to Barbados each year.
Divisional Manager, Corporate Development and Strategy, Kenneth Atherley, indicated that the decision reaffirms the commitment that RCCL has to Barbados, and indeed the region. “This is evidence that the Line is listening to the partners in the destinations it serves, many of whom were concerned about the impact that reduced summer calls would have on their ability to continue to service the cruise industry”, he remarked. “This decision is also a testimony to the confidence that RCCL as a brand, has in the Barbados product, which has produced fairly high customer ratings based on the regular on-board surveys taken by vessels calling here”, he added.
Jean-Marie reiterated the commitment of Barbados Port Inc. towards enhancing the customer experience within the Port, and further indicated that “formal announcements will come shortly with respect to its cruise expansion plans”. He also revealed that there are other cruise-related initiatives which the Port is pursuing in conjunction with local partners, particularly with the Barbados Tourism Authority.