Tourism Minister Charles “Max” Fernandez says the fifth pier at the St. John’s Harbour is nearing completion; however, it is unclear when cruise calls will resume. The pier will be able to accommodate the Oasis Class ships, which can carry as many as 5,500 passengers and 4,000 crew members on a single voyage, Fernandez says.
Antigua and Barbuda is hoping to capitalize on these numbers, and the Government says it has invested more than $95 million in modernizing the cargo port at the Deep Water Harbour.
However, during the post-Cabinet press briefing today, September 17, Minister of Information Melford Nicholas admitted that the cruise tourism sector might not return to some semblance of normalcy until the end of the year.
In the meantime, the Government has devised a plan to draw ships to our ports, and this will facilitate the layover of crew members as the vessels are restocked here, Nicholas says. Nicholas says that crew members who fall ill will be able to make use of the country’s medical facilities, which will also generate much-needed financial resources.