The southern Caribbean cruise season has officially kicked off throughout the West Indies, and St. George’s, Grenada, welcomed its first mainstream cruise visitor with Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Summit on Friday, October 21, 2022.
The ship is just the first of more than 200 expected cruise ship visits in the coming months, each one offering guests a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the unique Caribbean destination.
First Ship Calls on Grenada
The Millennium-class Celebrity Summit brought an estimated 1,500 passengers to St. George’s, the capital of Grenada, on October 21 for the season’s first highly anticipated visit of a schedule that includes 202 cruise ship calls in the next few months.
Grenada Tourism Authority estimates that more than 375,000 cruise ship travelers will visit the tiny island nation – which has a population of just over 112,000 – in the next few months. The cruise season for Grenada traditionally runs from October through May.
Port Ready for Increased Visitors
The exceptional number of cruise visitors expected in Grenada is an 11% increase in cruise tourism from the pre-pandemic 2018-2019 season, and the nation is ready to welcome every guest.
“Grenada is ready for the 2022-23 cruise season. In preparation, the GTA has facilitated training and workshop sessions focused on professional development, hospitality and cultural engagement sessions, aimed at enhancing service excellence,” said Petra Roach, CEO of the Grenada Tourism Authority.
“This is part of an overall strategy to ensure our tourism stakeholders such as taxi operators, artisans and vendors are prepared for the season and will provide high quality, culturally sound and professional services that enhance our destination marketing.”
The island, known as “The Spice of the Caribbean,” is focusing particularly on amazing, unique experiences cruise travelers may not get elsewhere.
“Many cruise visitors are repeat visitors who choose to return to the destinations where they have had the best and most authentic experiences,” said Roach.
Traditional dancers and drummers are usually on hand to welcome cruise visitors, and a variety of excursions are available to visit the island’s historic sites, beautiful natural features, explore culinary tastes, and more. Local crafts and spices are available for sale, and there are many options for cruise guests to enjoy, no matter what their preferences.
The island features 40 amazing beaches, six chocolate factories, four rum distilleries, and more than 30 outstanding dive sites, including the largest shipwreck in the Caribbean and the World’s First Underwater Sculpture Park.
Island officials and stakeholders have worked well together to further develop cruise tourism, and are looking forward to additional collaboration and economic opportunities.
“Over the years, our team at the Grenada Tourism Authority has established an excellent network of industry partners as well as various public and private stakeholders,” said Minister of Tourism Lennox Andrews. “Together they have all collaborated to take full advantage of the benefits of the cruise industry.”
Cruising to Grenada
Along with Celebrity Cruises, additional cruise lines that have scheduled port visits to Grenada this season include AIDA Cruises, P&O Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Princess Cruises, MSC Cruises, Silversea Cruises, Oceania Cruises, and more.
Because of the island’s extreme southern location – it is at the southern end of the Grenadines island chain, less than 100 miles north of mainland South America (Venezuela) – Grenada is usually only featured on longer Southern Caribbean or exotic Caribbean itineraries, or else as part of voyages that also call on South American ports.
Many smaller ships and luxury lines feature Grenada and other less mainstream ports of call on their itineraries, offering more unique experiences and authentic opportunities for guests to enjoy.