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Bajan welcome

Captain Dimitrios Manetas presenting a plaque on behalf of Celebrity cruises to Minister George Hutson, Looking on are CEO, Barbados Port Inc David Jean-Marie, (left) and Pierre Caruana, Staff Captain, Celebrity Eclipse (right).

Cruise liners Brilliance of the Seas and Celebrity Eclipse made maiden voyages to Barbados last Thursday and Saturday respectively, starting this year’s tourist season off on a positive note. Four new mega ships are scheduled to make maiden voyages to the island this year.

Brilliance of the Sea is one of the Royal Caribbean Cruises, Radiance Class fleet of ships and has a capacity of 2,500 passengers and 900 crew. Celebrity Eclipse is one of the greater capacity vessels of the Celebrity ships, accommodating more than 4,000 persons including crew.

Welcoming ceremonies that involved officials from the Bridgetown Port were held for both vessels.

On Thursday, Divisional Manager, Market Development and Strategy, of Barbados Port Inc., Kenneth Atherley, and Director of Cruise Tourism at the Barbados Tourism Authority, Ryan Blackett, presented a plaque to Captain Mattias Persson of Brilliance and his crew on behalf of the people of Barbados.

Persson expressed gratitude for the token and also presented a commemorative plaque to the Bridgetown Port. He said that he and the crew were extremely excited about this new itinerary as it was the first time he and many of them would be visiting Barbados.

“Having been based in a much colder climate in Europe, we look forward to visiting and working with the Bridgetown Port every two weeks during the 2012-2013 cruise season,” he said.

Atherley expressed the port’s delight at the opportunity to provide its renowned “best in class” service to the Brilliance of the Seas. He said that the ship’s presence represented a significant level of commitment from Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, and is testament to the partnership that they hold with the Bridgetown Port, in the development of the Sugar Point Cruise Facility.

Minister of International Business and International Transport, George Hutson, and CEO of Barbados Port Inc., David Jean-Marie, were on hand to meet the Celebrity Eclipse and to welcome Captain Dimitrios Manetas and his crew.

Hutson said that Government was “committed to developing Barbados as a marquee port for cruise in the region”.

“In this regard, we feel the development of the soon to be constructed Sugar Point Facility will be integral in attracting more ships to the island and achieving our goal as the cruise hub of the Caribbean.

“Through the reclamation of 15 acres of land, the new facility will allow for a separation of our cargo and cruise facilities, and will allow us to accommodate more ships with larger capacities at the Bridgetown Port,” he added.

Dimitrios thanked the minister on behalf of the vessel’s crew and explained that they would be returning to the island every two weeks during the 2012-2013 cruise season.

“We hope that as we continue to call here that our passengers and our crew will take advantage of all the island has to offer and we look forward to being one of the first vessels to the island upon completion of the Sugar Point Cruise Facility,”

Over the next two weeks Barbados is expecting maiden calls from Quest for Adventure, and Saga Sapphire.

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