For the first time since it was built in 2009, the German cruise ship AIDAbella made a call today at Bridgetown Port before heading onto its traditional Mediterranean cycle.
Martin Ince, chief executive officer of Foster & Ince the local agents for the vessel told Barbados TODAY, that the ship’s parent company has had
a longstanding relationship with Barbados with another one of its ships the AIDAluna calling the island home for half of its season.
“AIDA has been visiting Barbados for many years and they have a strong programme in Barbados not with the Bella, but with the AIDAluna, and she actually homeports half of her ship here in Barbados and the other half in the Dominican Republic. So we will look after 50 charter flights out of Germany, each season from November through to March for AIDA.
“With this ship today, she is doing a very wide variety of tours on the island. It is a stunning day so the guests will get to see the very best of Barbados so we are very pleased to have her. She has about 2,200 guests on board,” Ince said.
Asked about his company’s future plans to bring other vessels to the island, Ince noted that Barbados was a marquis destination and the company was honoured to have ships of all sizes call on the Bridgetown Port revealing that next year one of what will be the largest vessels in the world will be paying regular visits to Barbados.
“ . . . There is nothing being built today under 3,000 passengers. Many years ago, there was nothing that was being built under 2,000 passengers. We are very honoured that we have been able to attract some of the biggest ships in the world that are actually home porting here.
“In particular in the season 2015-2016 we will have, P&O; it has a brand new ship that they are launching next year; the Britannia, she is going to be home porting in Barbados. She has the capacity for 4,200 passengers and we have been working along with the Minister, the Grantley Adams International Airport as well as the Barbados Port Inc. in making preparations for those large ships,” he said.
At 1,082 feet long, the over US$770 million Britannia weighs over 140 thousand tonnes and will have the carrying capacity of between 3,600 and 4,300 passengers plus 1,350 crew.
Britannia’s maiden voyage is planned to take place between March 14-28, 2015, and will take in Spain Italy and France.
During her summer season, Britannia will sail to the Mediterranean, Norwegian Fjords, Baltic Canary Islands and Atlantic Islands. In winter, she will sail 14-night Caribbean itineraries.