Minister for Tourism and Culture, Senator Robert Tonge has said a lot of work went into meeting the standards required for Carnival Cruise Lines’ to re-include Dominica on its itinerary.
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.
The cruise line made the first call of its sustained series to Dominica on Tuesday 10 July 2018. The MV Carnival Fascination is scheduled to make ten (10) calls and will call in fortnightly until November 6, 2018.
Speaking with Dominica Vibes on Friday 13 July 2018 at the official opening of the York Valley Bridge in Layou, Senator Tonge explained that Carnival had pointed out a number of things which needed to either be put in place or rectified before it returned to destination Dominica.
“Obviously, they have very, very high standards in terms of what they expect but over the years we’ve been trying to tick off as many of those issues as possible and continue to work on them,” Senator Tonge said.
He added that Carnival’s return is not only significant following the passage of Hurricane Maria but because they are returning during the summer months.
The summer months, he explained, is the “six months that the vendors have no form of employment so the whole idea is to bring back cruise throughout the entire year so these persons have a steady form of income that they can take care of their family and loved ones”.
Minister Tonge is therefore happy for Carnival’s return as it is great news for the Dominican people, especially the vendors.
“You would have seen them on the day before organizing themselves, getting the area ready, getting their tents ready and I’m really happy that we were able to negotiate on their behalf and to finally get Carnival Cruise Lines to come back to our beautiful country of Dominica.”
Senator Tonge noted however that everyone has a play to part in ensuring that visitors receive the best service possible.
“We have to welcome them, we have to deal with them properly, great customer service. We always have to make sure that our country is clean, not for visitors but for ourselves first and foremost and our sites, so we have to be careful how we dispose of our garbage and the security.”
The minister said a post mortem of Carnival’s visit will be held this week before its second call scheduled for next week.
This he said is “just to make sure the little issues we had we can knock them off and provide an even better experience”.