Over 3,000 visitors descended on Bridgetown today when the island welcomed the MSC Divina for the first time.
The Italian cruise liner made its inaugural visit to the island from Miami with 3,359 passengers, approximately 2,000 of whom were Brazilians. The 18-decker, 333-metre-long ship holds a maximum of 4,300 passengers and 1,300 workers.
It is due to return to Barbados in July after the World Cup.
After welcoming members of the Bridgetown Port, Government and tourism officials and journalists aboard the vessel, Captain Pier Paola Scala said it was his hope that the ship could make regular calls to the Bridgetown Port in the future.
“We really look forward to coming back to Barbados,” he said.
Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism Shelly Carrington urged the captain and his crew to explore the island and take advantage of all the offerings, saying Barbados was more than sand, sea and sun.
She said she was informed that the cruise liner would be making five calls to the island for the rest of this year bringing a total of 12,000 passengers, and ten calls with a total of 17,000 passengers over the course of next year.
Meanwhile managing director of Goddard Shipping And Tours, Desmond Layne, told Barbados TODAY that as the island saw an increase in cruise ships his business would benefit with an increase in tour and stevedore services.
“We are getting multiple tours to Harrison Cave, The Museum, beach excursions and from a port services perspective we are getting additional requests from the ships as it relates to container movement,” he said.
“What we have identified over the last couple of years is that the passengers are actually being a bit more cost conscious so they are looking for a bit more value for their money. So what we are basically trying to do from that perspective is to try to see where possible we can try to allocate from a cost perspective to ensure that customers get the best value for their money,” added Layne.