Two European ships, Mein Schiff 5 from Germany and Italian vessel MSC Armonia, made inaugural calls on the Bridgetown Port this week, bringing to four the number of new ships arriving in Barbados this cruise season.
The TUI Group’s Mein Schiff 5 is an upgrade of the Mein Schiff 3 which made its inaugural call last year. It was Mein Schiff that tested the new Berth 5 which was constructed to allow for the handling of two mega ships simultaneously. It did so successfully, home-porting both Men Schiff 3 and MS Britannia during the last winter season.
Captain Kjell Holm, in welcoming on board the official party that included representatives from the Barbados Port Inc, Barbados Tourism and Management Inc. and Platinum Port Agency Inc., said it was the successful handling of Mein Schiff 3 that resulted in Mein Schiff 5 also being deployed to homeport in Barbados.
“Passengers should not know that we are loading and offloading and we have been able to achieve this in Bridgetown,” he said. “Your efficient handling of Mein Schiff 3 was well documented, and we are happy with the service we received from both the port and the port handlers.”
Holm said the new technology on Mein Schiff 5 had been designed to allow the ship to be alongside berths like the Bridgetown Port without any impact on the ship’s stability.
“We pride ourselves in the stability of our vessels. In fact, our passengers complain that they do not at all feel like they are on a ship because we are so stable. Ship stability and seamless port handling that has zero impact on the passenger is what we strive for,” Holm added.
Divisional Manager, Corporate Development and Strategy, at the Barbados Port Inc. Kenneth Atherley was pleased with Mein Schiff’s satisfaction with the port’s handling.
“. . . Because as you pride yourself in your stability and zero passenger impact in port, we pride ourselves in being the best-in-class port in the region, so we are happy to have your endorsement,” he told Captain Holm.
The luxury liner, which is thought to be one of the most eco-friendly in the world, arrived with 2,500 passengers and 2,033 crew.
It is on a 14-day cruise and will homeport in Barbados for the rest of the winter season.
The plaque ceremony for the MSC Armonia followed Mein Schiff’s.
It was the first visit to Barbados for captain of the ship, Paolo Russo. He said crew members who had previously visited were very excited to return and he also was keen on seeing the island.
“So far, the experience has been a good one, from the pilot meeting us out at sea to our ship handling, everything has been very smooth so far. So I am looking forward to experiencing more of Barbados, he said.
MSC Armonia, which is carrying 1,700 guests and 712 crew, is also homeporting in Barbados. It is on a 16-day cruise covering 11 ports, five of which are Caribbean destinations.
Two more cruise ships are expected to make inaugural calls to the Bridgetown Port this month.