It’s not just the cruise lines that are busy starting up these days. The ports of call are equally busy making sure that they are ready to start receiving cruise ships once again. One of these is Grand Turk which plans to start receiving cruise ships again at the end of summer.
Premier Confirms Royal Caribbean Interest
Carnival Cruise Line had committed to sailing to the islands earlier this year, and now Royal Caribbean is bound for Grand Turk as well. The possible arrival of Royal Caribbean ships to the islands is surprising given the exclusivity deal in place with Carnival Corporation for Grand Turk.
Turks & Caicos Premier Washington Misick:
“It may be a little early but I can say to you that we are having negotiations with Royal Caribbean and it looks very positive that between now and the end of the summer that we will also have them calling into the town area of Grand Turk.
The possible arrival of Royal Caribbean ships to the island could be a hindrance, something that the local government is negotiating over with the cruise company:
“We’re still working out some details with Carnival because most people would remember that part of Carnival’s arrangement was exclusivity on Grand Turk. I am very hopeful that we will work those details out and by the end of the summer and early fall, we will see both cruise lines calling into Grand Turk.”
Cruise Hive has contacted Royal Caribbean about the possibility of cruises to Grand Turk and will update this post once we get a response.
Turks & Caicos Cruise Future is Bright
According to the Turks & Caicos Premier, the future of cruising is bright for the islands. Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise operator, and Royal Caribbean both sending ships to Grand Turk this year will be a massive boost for the local economy, which has been virtually shut down since March of last year.
According to the Carnival Cruise Line website, the cruise line plans to start sailing to Grand Turk again from September 2021. The newest addition to the fleet Mardi Gras will sail to the island on a 7-day voyage, while Carnival Sunrise and Carnival Pride also have Grand Turk in their itineraries in September. Royal Caribbean has the island listed in its shore excursions, but not yet in any cruises.
Grand Turk is one of the most popular cruise destinations in the Caribbean for Carnival and the company is investing anywhere between 16 to 18 million US dollars in the downtown area to build a larger dock area to accommodate larger ships to Grand Turk.
“I can report to you that over the last four weeks we’ve had three meetings with Carnival and we have another virtual meeting and those negotiations are going well and we expect between now and the end of the summer certainly not later than October that Carnival will be back in Grand Turk.”
The cruise company even performed a site inspection this week as part of the Carnival Infrastructure Fund, which is seeking to invest a further $8.5 million in the local infrastructure.
Worth Reading: Grand Turk Closed to Cruise Ships Until September
Cruise ship tourism from Carnival Corporation ships has always been a huge boost for the local economy. In 2019, the Carnival ships were responsible for $85 million in expenditures in the islands, something that will increase significantly with both cruise companies calling here.
While opponents often downplay it, the pandemic has made clear once again what an impact the cruise industry has on the local economies. For small island groups like Turks and Caicos, cruise ships remain a vital part of daily life.