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Officials from Antigua and Barbuda's tourism and health ministries welcome crew from Windstar Cruises' Star Breeze at the Port of St Johnon Saturday July 16, 2021. (Photo: Cruise Industry News)

Port of St John welcomes call from first vessel after COVID year

Officials from Antigua and Barbuda's tourism and health ministries welcome crew from Windstar Cruises' Star Breeze at the Port of St Johnon Saturday July 16, 2021. (Photo: Cruise Industry News)

The Port of St John in Antigua last Friday welcomed the first arrival of cruise ship passengers on the Star Breeze to the island’s shores after restricting entry to vessels over a year ago.

According to a release from Antigua Cruise Port, the Windstar Cruises vessel made calls on St John and Falmouth in St Paul 250 passengers along with crew members — all fully vaccinated.

Dona Regis-Prosper, general manager at Antigua Cruise Port, shared the significance of the occasion and its importance to rebooting the country’s cruise tourism industry.

General manager at Antigua Cruise Port Dona Regis-Prosper (File photo)

“In recent weeks, we have been in many discussions with the Windstar Cruises team and the Government to determine how to make this trip, and voyages to come, as safe and successful as possible for everyone involved. Given the fact that the threat of COVID-19 is still very real, the cruise line has advised that as a precautionary measure, only passengers taking organised tours will be allowed to disembark,” she noted.

All hands on deck

Regis-Prosper explained that the tours took several weeks of planning and consultation to receive approval. With this in mind, she thanked Minister of Tourism & Investment Charles Fernandez, and his team, as well as Chief Medical Officer Dr Rhonda Sealey-Thomas and the entire staff at the Ministry of Health for their constant support and collaboration.

Charles Fernandez, minister of tourism and investment, Antigua and Barbuda (Photo: antiguabarbuda.the-report.com)

She added that the return of cruise ships to the destination was testament of the hard work that many have put into this process over the last year and a half.

“This momentous occasion has truly been a long time coming, and it would not have been possible without the collaboration and involvement of so many partners. We are grateful for the confidence that the Windstar Cruises team has demonstrated in our port and our destination by choosing Antigua & Barbuda as one of the exclusive destinations
for this sailing,” she said.

In this file, cruise ships berth in St John’s Port in Antigua and Barbuda (Photo: LinkedIn)

“In addition to our government partners, I would like to thank our taxi association, tour operators, the entire business community, and all sectors who came together to make this day a success,” the Antigua Cruise Port general manager continued.

As the port anticipated the arrival of Seabourn Odyssey today, Regis-Prosper underscored the need to adhere to safety protocols to ensure the viability of the sector. To this end, she appealed to everyone to collectively and individually support efforts that encourage cruise ships to return to the shores of Antigua and Barbuda.