After an absence of almost a decade, Royal Caribbean Cruises has put Trinidad and Tobago back on its itinerary.
Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas will return to the ports of Port of Spain and Scarborough as part of the Southern Caribbean itinerary for the 2021/2022 cruise season.
The world’s second-largest cruise firm’s decision to add this country’s ports to its itinerary follows discussions between the Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts Senator Randall Mitchell; Charles Carvalho, shipping agent; and principals of Royal Caribbean held at the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association’s (FCCA) Conference and Trade Show in November 2018.
“We’re excited our destination is once again on the itinerary of Royal Caribbean International. These itineraries are planned years in advance. Both our islands are beautiful, warm and welcoming with a few undiscovered gems along the way. Now, passengers using Royal Caribbean International will experience them once again, and we will prepare to heavily incorporate our distinct and rich culture in our offerings to distinguish our destination from our Caribbean neighbours,” said Minister Mitchell.
“This development is certainly an encouraging one, and while it remains conditional on the re-opening of our borders and the decision to recommence receiving cruise ships, it shows continued interest in destinations Trinidad and Tobago,” he added.
Globally, cruises have been halted on account of the COVID-19 pandemic and the cruise industry is collectively hopeful and preparing for the restart of cruising, and for the Caribbean-wide re-opening of borders with the concomitant health protocols.
In preparation for the border re-opening, Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts is developing health protocols for the tourism industry, which will be in place when visitors return to the twin-island republic.
Over 91,000 cruise passengers came to Trinidad and Tobago in 2019. That figure reflects an increase over the previous years, except for 2018 during which there was the closure of several regional ports because of the hurricane season.
Prior to COVID-19, the cruise industry was the fastest-growing segment of the worldwide leisure travel market and demand had increased by close to 21 percent in the past five years. According to industry data, cruise passengers are willing to spend more on activities such as beach tours, off-road/scenic tours, or in duty-free shopping on many island nations.