It’s already been a long wait for Carnival Cruise Line to return to Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos, and that wait was to come to an end in December 2021. However, it now seems the much-anticipated return will have to wait a little longer.
Update on Carnival’s Grand Turk Return
The Miami-based cruise line was set to make a much-anticipated return to the popular port of Grand Turk this month. Mardi Gras was to become the first ship in the fleet to return to the Grand Turk Cruise Center on December 7, 2021, after 21 months of no cruise visitors, but that call was removed from the ship’s planned itinerary.
Some itineraries through December 2021 have already removed the port of call as the island is not yet ready to welcome back ships. There are already two cruises for Mardi Gras that won’t be visiting Grand Turk, including the departure on December 7 and December 18, 2021. Carnival Magic’s December 4 voyage from Port Canaveral also removed the call.
Even though Carnival Cruise Line has not given a specific return date, the cruise line’s brand ambassador John Heald did provide a reason why ships have not yet returned:
“The port has been closed for two years. There are many checks that need to be done including dredging, making sure that the infrastructure is as you would expect and that the beaches etc are ready for thousands of people to have fun. And we also have to listen and adhere to the Covid policies of all the places we sail to and that in itself is an important undertaking.”
Heald continued to say, “So I am here to ask for your understanding and to assure you that you will have the very, very best of times on board and in port and we cannot wait to be able to sail safely into Grand Turk again as soon as possible.”
Cruise Ships Could Still Return in December
With the cruise center being closed for such a long time, work has been ongoing to prepare to welcome back guests, including setting up protocols to keep everyone protected, including local vendors, retailers, and tours. Despite the rapid pace of preparations, the Turks and Caicos government now plan to reopen on the week of December 13, 2021. The exact date the first vessel will return is not yet known.
One of the significant aspects is making sure the island’s residents remain protected from thousands of cruise ship visitors to Grand Turk.
Recently, Health Minister Jamell Ribsion said before Mardi Gras was previously expected on December 7, “So there’s a measure of safety, even before we get to the portion of the actual health protocols that will enhance and ensure that we have enough layers of safety to ensure that given that there are 6000 persons, additional persons coming on the island, that we minimize those risks overall.”
This comes as parent company Carnival Corporation agreed to more than $73 million in investments with the Turks and Caicos Islands. $25 million will go into the Grand Turk Cruise Center, including several upgrades to offer the best experience possible, not just for Carnival Cruise Line guests but those from sister lines such as Princess Cruises and Holland America Line.