After an eight year hiatus, and ten months post Hurricane Maria, Carnival Cruise Lines made its first call to Dominica on Tuesday 10 July 2018.
The cruise ship docked on at the Roseau Cruise Ship Berth carrying over two thousand passengers.
“This is very significant for us particularly post Maria, and we all know what the state of tourism was in September 19,” Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Careen Prevost told the media.
“So today, Carnival being here after an eight year absence, is very significant to us in the Ministry of Tourism, it is very significant to the tourism sector,” Prevost added.
She noted that the call is a result negotiation and numerous discussions between the Dominica Government, through the Ministry of Tourism, and Caribbean Cruise Lines.
The cruise line also conducted various inspections of the country’s sites as part of safety precautions to ascertain the country’s readiness after the passage of Hurricane Maria.
“So far we have ten scheduled calls for the summer, and we are hoping that if everything goes well for those calls that we will see the return of Carnival full time,” Prevost noted.
She informed that these summer calls are “very critical” to the industry because without them “there is a lull, leaving employees unemployment during that period.
The Ministry of Tourism, Prevost revealed, has included many features, live cultural performances at the Roseau Cruise Ship Berth and attraction sites, to ensure that guests enjoy their visit here.
Live entertainment from Kalinago dancers, and cultural music greeted the visitors with live entertainment stationed at the sites.
A live mural painting was also done by the Waitukubuli Artists Association as a way to engage the tourists, who remained in the City.
Additionally, increased security measures were implemented, Prevost indicated.
“We have the police on board, we also have private security that is contracted by the Ministry of Tourism, and of course the port security. We have our officers on the ground so we are trying to see if we can ensure the safety and security of our guests,” Prevost said.
Vendors on the Dame Mary Eugenia Charles Boulevard were also very pleased with the ship’s return.
One vendor, Seraphine Joseph told Dominica Vibes the ship’s return is a “good thing” as it will “benefit Dominica and us the vendors”.
Another vendor, who withheld her identity, added that the arrival of visitors “will be good for the vendors” as many of them haven’t been able to sell anything, or even set up their stalls since the passage of Hurricane Maria.
“This is my first time back here since Maria passed ten months ago, so we as vendors are happy because this is a good thing for us,” she said.
Carnival Cruise Line removed Dominica from its itinerary in 2010 citing fuel costs and passenger feedback. In November 2013, Carnival Conquest visited Dominica but the destination was not re-added to Carnival’s itinerary.