Barbados is preparing to welcome the first cruise in more than a year when the Celebrity Millennium ship arrives at the Bridgetown Port on Monday June 7. All passengers and crew are fully vaccinated.
And according to Minister of Tourism Senator Lisa Cummins, who made the announcement during a COVID-19 Update press conference today, and repeated that visitors coming to the island via the air and seaports, must have a negative PCR test three days prior to arrival.
“There is testing that is going to be taking place on board the ships that will make sure that people are continually kept safe … Then when they [visitors] land in Barbados via the airport, they are going to be taken via a sterile corridor to the port where they then have to be subjected to further screening in order to embark on the ship, which is homeported here in Barbados. But what’s most important is that so far, what we have begun is vaccinated only cruises. So 100 per cent of the persons on these ships will be vaccinated,” she said.
Furthermore, Minister Cummins said Government has also taken the decision to restrict what types of activities visitors coming to the island on cruise ships can participate at this stage.
She explained that tourism and health officials have been meeting with taxi and tour operators to make sure that they are aware of arrangements being put in place, and that protocols will be followed at every step of the way.
Bubble tours will be one of the concepts Barbados will be adopting as cruise ships return to the island, Cummins said.
“Bubble tours is actually a concept that originated in the cruise lines. Those bubble tours have evolved over time, so now for example, you have a combination of chartered tours and every tour has to be pre booked and yes the taxi operators will have an opportunity to get a percentage of the business,” she explained.
The Minister said the Celebrity Millennium will be leaving St Maarten where it is homeporting and the first stop will be Barbados.
“On the particular vessel arriving on Monday, there will be 630 persons on board that vessel. Typically when we have cruise visitors we are used to very higher numbers, so we would normally have a vessel which comes in with 1500, 3000, sometimes up to 6000 could be on a single ship.
“So ships are sailing at 50 per cent of capacity so they are not sailing with all the cabins filled as they would have done. And so they are now at 630 persons on this particular ship but we could go as high, later on, as much as 1500 persons because the ship has the capacity to accommodate 3000,” she said.
The Minister also highlighted that during the summer, there will not be a lot of traffic out of the United Kingdom, while Canada will resume flights to Caribbean territories coming on to the end of this month.
She also indicated that the United States appears to be Barbados’ strongest source market for the summer. (AH)