By Marlon Madden
One of Barbados’ most loved weekend traditions has taken on a twist as one entrepreneur and her team seeks to provide residents and visitors with another avenue through which to have that experience.
Officially introduced last Saturday, officials of Prestige Catamaran started the Sun, Sea and Souse cruise, providing the option for individuals to enjoy their beloved Saturday meal while sailing along the island’s west coast.
The cruise, which has a live dejay and serves a variety of beverages, also caters to non-pork eaters and individuals who do not eat souse or meat.
Shella Augustin Esq., Chief Operating Officer of Prestige Catamaran, told Barbados TODAY while the focus was initially on the Sun, Sea and Souse cruises, which will be done at least once per month on the last Saturday, Prestige Catamaran would be offering a range of options for celebrations and entertainment.
Augustin said she believed the local cruise industry was being underserved at present and Prestige Catamaran would be filling that void. The cruises will be done in partnership with local companies and individuals.
“If anything I think the water is underutilised and that is one thing that Prestige is looking to deal with in terms of utilising how calm the waters are and beautiful to sail. Sailing doesn’t just have to be a snorkelling or swimming experience. We are looking to roll out karaoke on board. We have a lot of other ideas that we would like to do. There is definitely space for doing things other than just sailing and swimming,” she said.
“Prestige catamaran is not just a boat that you can go on and snorkel with the turtles or view the shipwreck. It is an event space where you can either have a corporate event, a birthday party, an anniversary and you can also utilise it for a space where other businesses can be promoted while having a good time,” she explained.
The Prestige Catamaran cruise, which is licensed to carry up to 100 people, attracted just over 60 patrons on its first Sun, Sea and Souse event.
“The feedback has been really, really good specifically with this event. I saw people’s eyes light up when we say we are going to have souse on the water. The response has been really tremendous and we have noticed that Barbadians really feel welcomed. We are also trying to convey that we are a company that wants to celebrate Barbadian culture, celebrate locals and create experiences where tourists could learn and understand the culture better and join in the celebrations and enjoy,” explained Augustin.
Prestige Catamaran started in 2015 in Martinique and would operate between that country and St Lucia. The boat was brought to Barbados towards the end of March last year.
“COVID really was a perfect opportunity to try it out. We also noticed that because of the time we opened we were able to form a really good relationship with the locals in terms of them really supporting the business, and getting our foot off the ground as been as a result of the locals’ continued support,” she said.
Augustin,who resides in Washington, said she and her business partners came up with the idea for the Sun, Sea and Souse cruise while spending time in Bridgetown in December 2020 and having lunch at Velma’s Place one Saturday.
“Every Saturday our friends would say ‘we are going to get souse, come with us and we realised how integral souse was to Barbadians and the Barbadian culture. So one of our primary objectives when we decided to bring Prestige over to Barbados is to make sure that we promote and celebrate the Barbados culture as much as possible,” she said.
“It just kind of came from sitting at Velma’s and realising how important it was for Barbadians to have souse on a Saturday. I figured why not bring this cultural experience to the water and turn it into an event where you can still have your souse while sailing, listening to soca, having fun with your friends and having rum punch, and have Prestige be the space where you can combine all of those things,” said Augustin.
She said she was pleased with the turn out for the first Sun, Sea and Souse cruise, which attracted some key tourism industry stakeholders, insurance executives and entertainment industry officials.
Several people who shared their experience of the cruise with Barbados TODAY said they enjoyed the approximately four-hour cruise and they were eagerly awaiting the next one.