As the last ship of the 2022-2023 season, Disney Magic, left port, Dominica bids farewell to a successful 2023-2024 cruise season. With more than 40,000 additional guests compared to the 2019-2020 season, the tiny Caribbean island has enjoyed a substantial rise in cruise traffic.
The season began in November last year when the Mein Schiff 2 of TUI cruises, with its 2,417 passengers, arrived at the Roseau Cruise Ship Berth. The number of visiting ships and their passengers has grown exponentially since then, and the trend is expected to continue into the 2023-2024 season.
Disney Magic Last Cruise Ship of the Year
Disney Magic, at 84,000 gross tons and a maximum passenger capacity of 2,713, marked the end of Dominica’s prosperous cruise season on May 16. As the final vessel of the season, it symbolizes the island’s successful return to business, welcoming thousands of cruise ship passengers more than in previous years.
The Ministry of Tourism announced the end of the season: “The MV Disney Magic of Disney Cruise Line had its inaugural call in Dominica at the Roseau Cruise Ship Berth on Tuesday, May 16, 2023, marking the end of the cruise season in style! With over 2282 passengers on board, 1600 disembarked to experience the wonders of Dominica firsthand. What a magical way to conclude an incredible season!”
It is good to see Dominica rebounding as the small island has seen its share of challenges over the last couple of years, most notably with the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria in 2017.
The Caribbean cruise season typically starts towards the end of October and runs through May. Mein Schiff 2 of TUI Cruises was the first ship to visit this year. Since then, 190 cruise ship calls have been made by ships from Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, and more.
Dominica Sees Significant Growth in Cruise Ship Traffic
Following the global pause in operations, most cruise ports were forced to begin from scratch again, building up the number of cruise ship arrivals, while cruise lines needed to build up passenger numbers again. That process is over now. Many different cruise ports are reporting record-breaking arrivals over the past winter cruise season.
A local Ministry of Tourism report confirmed 190 cruise calls and 236,288 passengers for the season, compared to the previous record of 189,334 passengers and 143 calls in the 2019-2020 season. The numbers represent a solid 25 percent increase.
Dominica’s Tourism Minister Denise Charles announced on state-owned Radio DBS: “Dominica witnessed significant growth in the cruise industry during the 2022-2023 season with a 32 percent increase in calls to 189 and a remarkable rise of 44,749 passengers compared to the Pre-Covid 2019-2020 season.”
“As we look ahead, the 2023-2024 season promises continued growth with an estimated 18.5 percent increase in cruise calls to 224 and a 15.3 percent increase in passengers to 270,000.”
With an initial projection of 224 cruise calls and about 270,000 cruise guests for the 2023/2024 season, Dominica continues to establish itself as an attractive destination for major cruise lines.
Several major cruise lines are expected to return for increased visits to the island, underscoring the optimistic outlook for Dominica’s booming cruise industry.
For next season, Mein Schiff 4 will be the first ship to return to Dominica on October 30, 2023. From November, the season will be in full swing, with arrivals scheduled for cruise ships from AIDA, Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, TUI Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, and MSC’s luxury cruise brand Explora Journeys.