Tourism stakeholders directly attached to the cruise sector are expected to be busy, and at times even busier for the next 6 months, as the winter cruiseship season officially opened on Wednesday with the arrival of the Disney Magic at the Esplanade Cruise ship Terminal.
The family friendly cruise line brought 2,135 passengers and 1,020 crew members to enjoy the spice island for a day. The passengers were greeted with steel band music and other unique cultural expressions. A news release from the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) said that the berthing of the Disney Magic marked the dramatic opening of the 2014 to 2015 cruise season which expects 181 more cruise calls by 24 April, 2015.
However, in the view of many of the vendors in and around the cruise terminal, not many of the visitors left the ship. “I am selling here a long time – many many years – and when we hear a boat has 2000 passengers, the small vendors are usually very happy because we know the place will be busy. But today it was like if the ship only had 500 persons,” said one craft vendor who sells on outside the Esplanade Mall, but who does not wish to be named.
As with traditional practice to welcome a cruise ship on its inaugural arrival there was a Plaque Exchange ceremony aboard the ship in which Tourism & Civil Aviation Minister, Hon Alexandra Otway-Noel welcomed the Captain, crew and passengers.
“We are overjoyed to have the guests of Disney Magic explore the tremendous tourism product that we have here in Grenada. We have the crème de la crème here in Pure Grenada,” she told Captain John Barwis of Disney Magic.
“I’ve been to Grenada years ago and I am delighted to be here now. I believe that the warm hospitality, and alluring sites like Grand Anse beach definitely make your country the perfect family stop,” Barwis said.
As part of a social gesture, Disney characters visited the Grenada School for Special Education on Wednesday afternoon, bringing smiles to the children’s faces.
The Disney Magic has three other scheduled visits to the Spice of the Caribbean in October 2014. The seven night Southern Caribbean Cruise departs Puerto Rico and journeys to Grenada after stopping in Antigua and St Lucia, then cruises on to Barbados and St Kitts before returning to San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The negotiations for the realisation of the ship to arrive in Grenada began a very long time ago through its shipping agent Huggins. The GTA continues to work with local cruise agents to facilitate fun filled and exciting visits to Grenada by all the cruise lines.
By Linda Straker
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