Dominica, through the Ministry of Tourism and Urban Renewal, is working to exceed the expectation of visitors to the island in an effort to sustain the sector.
That commitment came from Chief Executive Officer of the Dominica Air and Sea Ports Authority (DASPA), Benoit Bardouille as he welcomed the captain and crew of MS Nieuw Amsterdam here on Tuesday 10 January 2017.
MS Nieuw Amsterdam, a second-class cruise ship operated by Holland American Line, made its inaugural call at the Roseau Cruise Ship Berth.
To mark the ship’s inaugural call, a welcome ceremony to include plaque exchange was held aboard the ship, Government Officials and tourism stakeholders will be present to officially welcome the ship’s captain and crew.
Bardouille told Captain of MS Nieuw Amsterdam, Edward Van Zaane it is “a distinct a pleasure” to welcome them to the Nature Island of the Caribbean.
“We boast ourselves as being one of the greenest islands in the entire Eastern Caribbean chain, and we’re known for having the friendliest people within the region, and we want to ensure that as your visitors go to the various sites that they come back with pleasant memories and that they would cause your company, Holland America, to make increased calls to Dominica,” he said.
MS Nieuw Amsterdam has a carrying capacity of 2,106 passengers and 929 crew members. This is the ship’s only call to Dominica for the 2016/2017 cruise season however Holland America Line will make five calls here.
“We’re expecting for the new season that there would be more calls coming but it all would depend on the experience of the guest and we want to make sure at all times that we exceed the expectations of the guests and that is important for us so we’re trying to do everything possible to ensure that they have a wonderful time here in Dominica,” Bardouille assured.
He informed that government, through the Ministry of Tourism, is doing a number of things to ensure that the visitors have a good experience here.
“We do have one or two issues that we’re dealing with, especially going into the Valley, but we know that there’s a lot of work being done by the government to seek to resolve any issues in terms of the road, but I’m sure that based on the fact that they get the experience of the Trafalgar Falls and the areas in the Valley, that the road may not be too much of an issue, but we want to make sure that at least we take care of that,” Bardouille noted.
He however assured that in the “next three to four weeks” that the road will be repaired fully based on information received.
Bardouille emphasized that the ministry is working on different products to ensure that visitor experience here is fantastic which will lead to great ratings as the island depends on “word of mouth marketing”.
“So if they go on the internet and they share their pleasant memories with their friends, then their friends can now make future bookings on Holland America to experience what their friends experienced; that’s what we would like to encourage and to ensure that everybody has a good time and when they come back on the ship they can probably ask you the question, Captain, ‘Why are we leaving’, Bardouille explained.
Captain Zaane expressed delight to return to Dominica, although on a different vessel, and praised the island for the “tremendous warm welcome” they have received.
“This warm welcome really, really means a lot to us and also to our guest so I’m sure that when we get all the surveys back, I’m sure they will have a wonderful experience today and we will certainly share that with you how they felt and how we can improve and how we can look forward to many more calls,” Captain Zaane stated.
There are four more inaugural calls for the 2016/2017 season, from three (3) different cruise lines.