Barbados Port Inc. (BPI) yesterday officially welcomed Viking Sea, from Viking Ocean Cruises, at the Bridgetown Port during an inaugural ceremony onboard the vessel.

This vessel’s visit will no doubt be a boost for the local cruise industry, which has for the last few years been seeing record numbers of cruise arrivals year-on-year. Leading the team which greeted Captain Bent Gangdal and Hotel General Manager, Florian Kibgilka, were Deputy Chairman of BPI, Captain George Fergusson; Manager, Terminal Operations, Ian Stewart and Chairman of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., Alvin Jemmott.

The vessel, which can accommodate 930 passengers and 462 crew, sailed into the Bridgetown Port carrying approximately 500 passengers.

Captain Gangdal said that he was pleased to be visiting Barbados. He explained that Viking Sea will be based in San Juan over the winter season, and will head back to Europe for the summer season.

“Viking Sea is delighted to be here in Barbados and many of our guests are looking forward to exploring the island. This is really one of the highlights on the Caribbean islands cruise, and as part of our winter itinerary we are guaranteed to bring many more guests to these shores,” Gangdal said.

Meanwhile, Stewart expressed that the Bridgetown Port was honoured to be part of Viking Sea’s itinerary and of the future plans of the cruise line.

“Viking has one of the largest projects I have heard about for the building of cruise vessels and their decision to include Barbados in their itinerary, certainly speaks to the strength of our brand and our reputation as a premier destination. We are proud of the trust they have put in Barbados, and going forward we are desirous of forming part of their homeporting exercise, where we would see Viking Sea cruises starting from here. Indeed, we are keen on being part of any expansion of their service, especially into the Eastern Caribbean,” Stewart said.

The ship is on a 12-night Caribbean Cruise. Viking Sea made calls to Bermuda, Antigua, Guadeloupe and St. Lucia, before coming to Barbados, and is set to go to St. Kitts and Puerto Rico.

Viking Sea, which made its maiden voyage last year, has nine-decks and boasts of spacious quarters for guests to better enjoy their cruise experience. Onboard there are numerous places for relaxing, several options to enjoy tasty cuisine, a spa, fitness center, salon, theatre, cinemas, pools and shops.

Caption 2: (Third from left) Deputy Chairman of Barbados Port Inc. Captain George Fergusson; Chairman of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. Alvin Jemmott and Captain of Viking Sea, Bent Gangdal join other persons onboard the ship for the inaugural ceremony to take a photo in the atrium.

Did You Know?

The first ship to officially enter the newly constructed Bridgetown Harbour was the S S Diplomat?