Mélange Caribbean Travel & Lifestyle Magazine

BVI Open for Cruise Business with First Cruise Ship Calls
for 2017/2018 Season

 Tortola Pier Park was a hive of activity on December 6th and December 7th as the British Virgin Islands received their first 2 official cruise ship calls of the season with the visits of the Marella Discovery and Marella Celebration, respectively.  The ships brought a combined total of about 2,800 passengers to the Territory. 

A welcoming committee was on hand to greet and provide information for cruise passengers as they disembarked and entered the port facility.  Many of the visitors remarked that, although they were aware that the BVI was impacted by the recent hurricanes, they wanted to disembark to support the local community.  This was their way of helping the community to recover.  Visitors browsed the 25 or so retail outlets at the Tortola Pier Park which enthusiastically received them.  Additionally, destination hosts from the BVI Tourist Board and ambassadors from the BVI Ports Authority and Tortola Pier Park provided information to the guests on the sites and attractions that were open for their enjoyment during their visit.  Several of the guests went to the Long Bay beach on Beef Island and the Baths National Park on Virgin Gorda, which recently reopened for the tourism season.

The ships were formally welcomed by a Government delegation led by the Premier, Honourable Dr. D. Orlando Smith, OBE and Minister of Communications & Works, Honourable Mark Vanterpool.  The Government leader expressed his appreciation for the calls by the sister ships to the Territory as they would lead the way for the larger ships to visit later in the season as more sites and attractions reopen.  In a brief welcome ceremony aboard the Marella Discovery, the leader assured the Captain and other ship officials that the Territory would continue to rebuild for greater sustainability and reaffirmed his Government’s commitment to enhancing the BVI’s offerings to cruise visitors.

While this is the first formal call to the Territory for the cruise season and the first at the Tortola Pier Park, the smaller luxury ship, the Sea Dream, made a call on the sister islands of Jost Van Dyke and Anegada on November 30th and December 1st respectively. 

Director of Tourism, Mrs. Sharon Flax-Brutus, commenting on the calls noted, “It is exciting to welcome the cruise business back to the Territory and even more encouraging was the positive feedback which we have received from visitors.  They stated their admiration for the resilience of our residents and our commitment to rebuilding our tourism industry and Territory.  The guests were only directed to the locations and establishments that were open and had the facilities to safely host them.  We know that there is still a lot of work to be done but this is ongoing and we expect more places to be ready to welcome guests on the next cruise ship calls to the Territory.  The Tourist Board continues to work along with our industry partners and global agencies in communicating our progress to the global tourism marketplace.”