ST JOHN’S, Antigua, Thursday April 11, 2019 – Carnival Corporation and the Antigua and Barbuda Government have reached an agreement that will see the cruise company reversing its decision to cancel some of its calls to the twin-island republic.
The details of the agreement have not been made public, but in a joint statement issued on Monday after a second round of talks in Miami last weekend, the two sides said the deal provides a foundation for Carnival to continue to operate in Antigua for many more years to come.
“While some calls were rescheduled, other calls that were being considered for cancellation will now call as planned and both parties agreed to continue discussions on the possibility of having more summer calls,” the statement disclosed, although it did not state which calls were rescheduled or which would continue as planned.
Last month, President of the Antigua and Barbuda Cruise Tourism Association Nathan Dundas said that the Florida-based Carnival Cruise Lines was cancelling its scheduled calls. Dundas had told the media that Carnival had dropped Antigua and Barbuda from the itinerary of its Carnival Breeze, Carnival Magic, Carnival Legend and Carnival Pride cruise ships which were scheduled to sail to the twin-island nation for the 2019/2020 winter season.
The Government subsequently accused Dundas of scaremongering and causing unnecessary fear among cruise stakeholders. But officials subsequently held talks with Carnival on the matter.
In the statement issued after that second meeting last weekend, Prime Minister Gaston Browne said his Government was extremely pleased to have reached an agreement with Carnival, “our very valued partner”.
“We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship that will bring even greater prosperity to our people,” he said.
Tourism Economic Development and Investment Minister, Charles Fernandez said the brands of Carnival Corporation have been partners with Antigua and Barbuda for many years, contributing approximately US$48 million to the economy over the past five years.
“Certainly we appreciate and respect their desire to provide a greater experience and value to their guest visiting Antigua,” he said, adding that the government has invested an estimated US$110 million in cruise facilities and other upgrades beyond the port, and further upgrades will be done, bringing the total investment to US$200 million.
“This will create the basis for more cruise visitors as well as opportunities and added jobs for our people,” Fernandez said.