Caribbean cruise ports are making a comeback now that most cruise ships are fully back sailing with guests. Ports in the region owned by Global Ports Holding Plc are boasting impressive numbers of ship calls and passengers in the first few months of 2022.
Cruising Rebound at Ports
After two years of a gradual return to service across the Caribbean and The Bahamas, the majority of cruise ships are now back sailing, resulting in impressive rebound numbers for ports in the region.
Antigua Cruise Port
Included in the rebound is Antigua Cruise Port, which received 156,000 passengers during the first quarter of 2022. Star Breeze became the first cruise ship to visit the port with passengers in July 2021 since the industry-wide suspension started in March 2020.
Antigua has received more than 220 cruise ship calls between January 1, 2022, and April 30, 2022. A sign that the Global Ports Holding operated port is putting the pandemic behind. There are big plans for Antigua, with a new $25 million development underway at the port, including over 80,000 sq. ft. of relaxation pools, retail offerings, restaurants, and more.
Dona Regis Prosper, General Manager of Antigua Cruise Port, “We are working feverishly in collaboration with the Antigua Tourism Authority and other local tourism partners to position Antigua Cruise Port as the Southern Caribbean hub of choice for our cruise line partners.”
By April 2023, Antigua will have a new LNG plant, allowing the port to fuel the new generation of LNG-powered mega-ships such as Carnival’s Excel-class and the new ships coming from Royal Caribbean.
Prosper continued to say, “In fact, we’ve specifically designated a new terminal at our airport for homeporting to expedite passenger processing and to create opportunities for cruise lines to take advantage of the benefits of homeporting in Antigua. By April 2023, we will have a state-of-the-art LNG plant in operation in Antigua to fuel LNG-powered vessels. We are also looking at the possibility of providing shore power.”
“These enhancements, along with huge new investments coming onstream in Barbuda, will certainly set Antigua Cruise Port apart from other destinations and position us as the one of the top Southern Caribbean ports of the future.”
Nassau Cruise Port
Another major cruise port in the region owned by Global Ports Holding is Nassau, in The Bahamas. The port welcomed over 603,000 passengers during the first quarter of 2022, compared to 1,076,000 in the golden year of 2019. There were also 826,000 cruise ship visits in 2020, showing the port is on its way to making a comeback.
Mike Maura, Jr., Regional Director of GPH Americas and CEO of Nassau Cruise Port Ltd., celebrated the recent success of both teams. “We’re experiencing fantastic levels of recovery in Nassau and Antigua, for which we are extremely grateful to all stakeholders. The cruise lines have placed great confidence in our destinations and in our teams to protect their passengers and crew.”
“Passengers are extremely excited to travel post-COVID, and we’re working successfully with our tourism partners in both ports to maximize the attractiveness and potential returns for the destinations.”
Big things are happening in Nassau, which many cruise visitors over the past year have likely already noticed. Global Ports Holding is re-developing the entire port, including a new terminal facility. Construction is set to be completed in 2023, and despite that, cruise ships have still managed to visit, including the world’s largest cruise ship, Wonder of the Seas, on March 9, 2022.
Through May 22, there will be 86 cruise ship calls to Nassau, putting the port back to recovery as one of the world’s most popular cruise destinations.