With storms driving traffic away from popular nearby destinations, Antigua may hit 1 million passenger arrivals during the 2017-2018 season, said Nathan Dundas, general manager of Antigua port agent Bryson’s Shipping.
“The lines found themselves trying to get berths with only a few islands left with infrastructure to receive calls,” said Dundas. “The dilemma as to which ports were available and still left standing to accommodate their ships became a paramount and almost desperate search. Antigua being spared destruction from the hurricane became one of the main ports for the cruise lines.”
Negotiations with almost every cruise line spanned two weeks, Dundas said, with 300 different bookings in play.
Antigua’s fortunes don’t only come because of calamities elsewhere. In 2016 the island lengthened its pier to accommodate Quantum-class vessels.
Dundas pointed to good incentives as being key to growth. Among the programs offered, cruise lines can call in both Antigua and Barbuda for one price, the latter of which saw heavy storm damage. Casinos can be open after certain times, and there are discounts for summer calls.
“I see us becoming a major homeport as we have one of the best airports in the Caribbean and once we complete the downtown development including a state-of-the-art terminal it will propel us as a port of choice for some of the cruise lines.”
Learn more about the Caribbean as the region is seeing a record year of cruise traffic. Download the free Caribbean Cruise Trends Report today.