St John’s Port in Antigua is set to become the home of P&O Cruises’ newest mega-ship, Arvia, when construction of the vessel is completed in December 2022.
Antigua Cruise Port last Tuesday announced the finalisation of a deal with P&O Cruises, a subsidiary of Carnival Cruise Line, to homeport the cruise ship, which is now under construction in Germany.
“We are thrilled to partner with P&O and the Antigua Ministry of Tourism in the return to cruise tourism in Antigua,” noted Dona Regis-Prosper, Global Ports Holdings (GPH) PLC general manager for Antigua, which manages Antigua Cruise Port.
In 2019, GPH entered into a concession agreement with the Government of Antigua and Barbuda for the development and management of Antigua’s cruise port.
“Our booking rates for the second half of 2021 and for 2022 remain steady, so we are truly looking forward to resuming cruising and helping our Heritage Quay tenants, downtown stakeholders, and other port partners return to a sense of normalcy”— Dona Regis-Prosper, general manager, Global Ports Holdings (GPH) PLC Antigua
As part of this agreement, GPH recently completed the construction of the fifth terminal at St John’s Port, which now has the capacity to berth Oasis-class and Excellence-class vessels that bring tens of thousands of additional passengers to Antigua annually.
Upon its completion, Arvia will be among the first ships to berth at the new pier in Antigua.
Now, with the expectation of the resumption of cruise tourism in Antigua, Regis-Prosper is beaming at the prospects for St John’s Port.
Not only is St John Port a major transit port, but can now offer homeporting to the world’s largest cruise vessels. In addition, the country is strategically located to offer airlift to major cities in North America and Europe.
“The anticipation of more cruise ships coming into Antigua faster than originally projected means that we will push the start of the $2-million uplift of the Heritage Quay Shopping Mall and the $25-million
commercial development at Pointe to begin as quickly as possible,” she pointed out.
“Our booking rates for the second half of 2021 and for 2022 remain
steady, so we are truly looking forward to resuming cruising and helping our Heritage Quay tenants, downtown stakeholders, and other port partners return to a sense of normalcy. We know that our tourism partners are very anxious to return to work, as are we, so we are doing everything we can to help resume cruising to and from Antigua safely,” Regis-Prosper added.
To address safety matters, the port management company has so far engaged in discussions with cruise lines that have never before called on the St John’s Port.
In a bid to prepare the island for new cruise tourism opportunities, GPH is working with the Government of Antigua and Barbuda and other key stakeholders to position the island as a cruise destination in the competitive Caribbean market.