Roseau, Dominica: Dominica welcomed the MV Disney Magic of Disney Cruise Line at the Roseau Cruise Ship Berth on Tuesday, May 16, 2023. The ship has a capacity of 3,350 (passengers and crew). Disney Magic is a family-oriented ship with an array of activities for children’s involvement.
A number of activities were planned to welcome the ship including a welcome ceremony, cultural performances and live performances from local bands. The 2022/2023 Cruise Season has been deemed a success with over 244,265 visitors an increase of 71% over the previous season. The season closed on Tuesday May 16 2023 with the inaugural call of the Disney Magic of Disney Cruise Line.
To commemorate the ship’s arrival the Ministry of Tourism through the Discover Dominica Authority hosted a welcome ceremony abroad the ship to include a plaque exchange. On shore, activities organized by DDA included performances showcasing Dominica’s culture dress and heritage as well as a mini cultural parade and other cultural acts.
The cruise passengers will also schedule for numerous tours to natural sites such as Emerald Pool Trafalgar Falls and Meru Beach. The cruise industry has been on the rebound following the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic which resulted in a stop of all cruise activity for a 16-month period beginning in March 2020.
The performance of cruise also surpassed the pre-pandemic season by 29 percent in 2023. Chief Executive Officer of the Discover Dominica Authority Colin Piper stated that this season can be deemed a success for many reasons.
Outlining the reasons behind the success of cruise season, CEO said that the 22-23 crew season would have to deem it a success for a number of reasons which are as follows:
- Dominica is always on the itinerary on a number of cruise ships and that is because the country offers something different. The country is more of a rainforest and Scenic tour and Adventure.
- A lot of cruise vessels like to put Dominica on the itinerary.
He further added, ”We do have a challenges based on where we are in the Southern Caribbean and we don’t get the crews calls as often as we like but nonetheless 2023 we had quite a few Cruise calls more than 2022 and even more than 2019-20 which is pre-pandemic.”
He explained that one of the main contributors to the success of this season was the number of passengers who disembarked and participated in tours. CEO Piper said that they had more cruise passengers coming in as well, more Cruise passengers getting off the ship and doing tours and that’s most critical because that’s where they leave money on the island by taking tours by buying from the vendors all these sorts of things.
CEO Piper noted that 2023 was successful because they surpassed last year and they surpassed the 2019 pre-pandemic figures and they are hopeful that 23-24 which will begin kind of late October early November into April 24 will be just as successful if not better.
Tourism stakeholders are urged to create new initiatives that will entice even more passengers to disembark in the upcoming season. “We continue to try to increase the number of increase the number of calls and increase the number of passengers and also increase the number of people come off and in order for people to come off the ship we must continue to offer something new and different so we want to call upon the two operators and everybody who’s a stakeholder in the cruise industry to look at how we can refresh renew and come up with new and different tours that would incentivize the cruise passengers come off the cruise ship and leave some money here on the island,”said the CEO.
One of the initiatives currently been undertaken by the Ministry of Tourism is the rehabilitation of natural sites. Piper stated that every year focus is placed on one side to present something new to visitors.
He said that the rehabilitation of sites is something that is ongoing and the Ministry of Tourism is the is the leader in that regard and they have tried to do something new and different with one site each year and make a meaningful impact rather than looking at doing a little bit here to every site having said that they have to make sure that each site is operational and that can offer a wonderful experience to especially the crew visitors that come in.
CEO further added that there are some big ticket items that they trying to do with the cable car system and some of these things that would incent and attract more cruise ships to come in and also more people to get off.
“The process continues in terms of the Rehabilitation of the sites and attractions and we hope that you know each year we can at least have some marked improvements for the cruise ship passengers to experience, ”said the CEO.
Anglina Byron, developed a deep-seated passion for journalism. Anglina is recognized for her tenacity, strength, and unwavering commitment to delivering honest and reliable news across the Caribbean. She covers general affairs of the region.