More than 2,600 cruise passengers aboard the Carnival Fascination got a rousing welcome to Barbados on Wednesday as the popular cruise ship returned here for the first time in four months.
The ship, which usually homeports in San Juan, Puerto Rico and sails to St Thomas, in the United State Virgin Islands; Barbados; St Lucia; St Kitts and St Maarten, was chartered last October by the US Federal Emergency Management Agency to assist in the hurricane relief effort after category five storms Irma and Maria devastated the region last September.
Yesterday the renovated ship pulled into the Bridgetown Port with about 2,675 passengers and close to 900 crewmembers onboard and were warmly received by officials of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI).
The arrival was met with much fanfare, including musical performances, as well as a taste of local rum.
“What is particularly exciting about Carnival’s return today is that it has come back with virtually a new ship. The ship has been remodeled . . . and we are certain that will actually drive demand for Barbados and the southern Caribbean,” said BTMI Director of Cruise Cheryl Franklin, adding that the BTMI was currently working with members of the private sector to “facilitate the creation and modification of exciting and extraordinary products”.
With the recent renovation, the ship now has two additional bars, as well as two new restaurants, a candy shop and sushi express and upgraded duty free shops. Changes have also been make to the deck area and Cruise Director with the Carnival Fascination Marcelo Alvarado said they were happy to be back in Barbados.
“I do have guests who are coming and staying a couple of days in Barbados that are always happy. They love the product, they love the island, and they love the beaches and just love to hang out in Barbados. They are the guests we are bringing on a weekly basis to Barbados,” Alvarado said following a media tour of the vessel.