With just one month to go before the official close of the local cruise season that started in November, Barbados Port Inc. is still receiving inaugural calls to the Port. The Port expects as many as 387, bringing an average of 1,937 visitors per call to the island this year.
The Hapag-Lloyd cruise line’s two-year old ultramodern vessel MS Europa 2 recently made its maiden voyage to Barbados. The vessel is on a South American tour, which started in Miami, and is to circle the entire continent, finishing back in Miami. Its Caribbean stops include Trinidad, Barbados, St Bart’s, Tortola and Turks and Caicos.
Captain Ulf Wolter has been to the island twice before on other ships. He said it was always his pleasure to come to the island, and crew and passengers looked forward to the Barbados stop.
“MS Europa 2 is part of a family of four vessels including MS Europa, MS Hanseatic and MS Bremen. We are very happy to be able to call on the lovely island of Barbados. On this trip we have 370 passengers onboard the ship and one crew member per passenger,” Wolter said.
MS Europa 2 has already developed a reputation for spacious resort type comfort. It has all the modern facilities of a regular cruise line: art gallery, jazz club, cigar room, theatre, kids area, among others.
It also boasts the first German-themed Sansibar at sea and a cooking studio to teach guests how to cook. There are also four themed restaurants: French, Japanese, Asian and Italian, and a main dining room.
Harbour Master Richard Alleyne, speaking on behalf of the executives of Barbados Port Inc. and Platinum Port Agency Inc., thanked the captain for the visit and encouraged the cruise line to consider Barbados as a homeporting destination.
“Captain, we are very excited to be having an inaugural at this time of the year. It is very unusual for us to have an inaugural so close to the end of the season, but your visit is reflective of the wonderful season that we have been having.
“Being a European vessel . . . you have to travel very far to get here and I encourage you to consider Barbados as a homeporting destination. Our location, international airlifts from most major airports in the US and Europe make the island ideal for homeporting,” Alleyne said.
Captain Wolter and Alleyne exchanged the traditional plaques that commemorate a maiden voyage.
MS Europa 2’s next stop is St Barts.
Another 70 cruise ships are expected to call on the island before the end of the season. It is also expected there will be some 750,000 visitors to the island for the year.