ST JOHN’S, Antigua – President of the Antigua and Barbuda Cruise Tourism Association Nathan Dundas has revealed that Carnival Cruise Lines has cancelled its scheduled calls to Antigua. And he has warned that more cancellations could be on the horizon.
According to local media reports, Dundas said the Florida-based Carnival gave no reason for its decision to drop Antigua from its ports of call.
“All four ships booked commencing next season November 2019 to 2020 – Breeze, Magic, Legend and Pride – will be going to other ports,” he said, noting that the ships had been expected to bring an estimated 250,000 tourists to the twin-island.
Dundas added that he would not be surprised if cruise line brands that are subsidiaries of Carnival Corporation, such as Princess, Holland America, Seabourn and other European lines, follow suit.
“I am afraid that we may see more cancellations and it is indeed cause for concern as these cancellations will impact everyone’s business – from store owners to tour operators and bars and restaurants, etc,” he said.
The development comes just weeks after the Antigua and Barbuda government signed a US$83 million agreement with the London-based Global Ports Holdings (GPH) to develop the cruise port in St John’s.
It also comes on the heels of Prime Minister Gaston Browne accusing the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) – which is comprised of 19 member cruise lines operating in Florida and Latin American and the Caribbean – of exploiting regional countries.
“The reality is that the FCCA is literally exploiting the Caribbean. So you will charge, for example, thousands of dollars for your visitors to the Caribbean – and I know that the cruise business is capital intensive – but when you are giving these countries five or six dollars per head this cannot cover the capital costs for the infrastructure,” Browne had said, adding that the only way for small countries like his to fight the FCCA is to form a regional port facility and mandate that cruise associations pay more.