The British Virgin Islands has refined its cruise product in recent years, expanding offerings on Wickams Cay and elsewhere cruise tourists might venture. It’s a worthwhile investment as visiting ships spend more than the traditional daylight.
The territory saw 354 cruise calls in 2019, but those ships stayed a total of 475 days. The collection of 45 or so islands, cays, and rocks has long attracted divers, sailors and beach lovers. New programs are meant to further entice.
The shallow-water wreck of the Rhone has been joined by an underwater sculpture called Sharkplaneo, meant to appear part shark, part airplane, as well as the wreck of the Willie T – the sad end to one of the Caribbean’s great floating bars, a 72-foot steel schooner lost in the 2017 hurricane season.
Also post-hurricane, the Seeds of Love Initiative allows visitors interested in voluntourism to replant trees. Taxi training is underway as is construction of permanent restroom facilities at Beef Island’s popular Long Bay beach. New directional signage is being installed as is the BVI NOW app, listing more than 500 points of tourism interest. Two new museums will open in 2020 as well as lookout telescopes on the traditionally populated four islands, Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke, and Anegada.
An RFP for WiFi at the cruise pier was issued earlier this year and improved access for tenders elsewhere in the territory is being studied.
The BVI estimated an increase to 423 cruise calls in 2020 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.