Cruise joy

Sealy vows to shatter elusive cruise visitor numbers by 2019

On a high from the record performance of the cruise sector this year, tourism officials and policymakers are targeting a million cruise passengers by 2019.

Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy could not hide his elation today as he waited at the Bridgetown Port to welcome the visitor who would take the number of arrivals past the 821,863 passengers who visited Barbados last year.

The 821,864th passenger was Laura Thiaman of Dayton, Ohio in the United States, who, along with her husband Tom, was surprised with a number of gifts by the local authorities.    

“It is really exciting. It is a surprise,” said Thiaman, a first-time visitor, who arrived on the Windstar Star Pride this morning, and who said the decision to take a cruise to Barbados was a last minute one.

The 821,864th passenger was Laura Thiaman (second from right), pictured here with her husband Tom (right), Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy (second from left) and Chief Executive Officer of Bridgetown Port Inc David Jean Marie (left).

With another four vessels expected to dock here in the remaining days of 2017, Sealy expects to close the year with approximately 825,000 cruise visitors.

And amid the excitement, the minister promised to break the one million mark in the not-too-distant future.

“With the commitments that we have going forward there is no question that certainly by calendar year 2019 we will go past a million cruise passengers in Barbados for the first time,” he told journalists with obvious glee.

This many visitors would likely put the current facilities under pressure and render them inadequate, a fact that both Sealy and Chief Executive Officer of Bridgetown Port Inc (BPI) David Jean Marie acknowledged.

In fact, Jean Marie, who like the minister was over the moon at the record performance, said the port would continue to upgrade its facilities in order to welcome more cruise lines in coming years.

“We are at our maximum capacity here [and] we have to definitely improve and add however we can to the capacity of the port over the next few years,” he said.

At the same time, Sealy repeated a previous promise to build a controversial Berth 6, a project that was questioned by Opposition Leader Mia Mottley in her response to the Budget presentation earlier this year.

Back then Mottley had complained that the contract had been awarded to Mark Maloney “without it going to tender” and despite the fact that Berth 5, which opened in April last year, was built “at a cost overrun from $48 million to $63 million . . . $15 million more by one Mark Maloney”.

Sealy did not say when the project would begin, but said it would “call for some creativity” by BPI, including how best to finance it.   

“There are plans to look to see how we process cruise passengers . . . . This [the Bridgetown Port] is a wonderful cruise terminal but clearly it can only handle so many passengers on any given day. So we are looking activity at the separate facility for processing cruise passengers.”

A new cruise ship terminal has been mooted since 2010, when BPI selected Sugar Point, a joint venture of SMI Infrastructure Solutions and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, to undertake a front end engineering design study for the facility adjacent to the existing port.

However, there has been no visible movement on the $300 million project, which was to include three 350 metre-long pile-supported piers providing berths for six large ships, a cruise terminal building and associated infrastructure, multi-use land-side development and the separation of cruise and cargo operations.

Both Sealy and Jean Marie have alluded to the cost of the project as the reason for the delay.

However, both men appeared upbeat today about the prospect of a cruise facility in Speightstown, St Peter to accommodate smaller cruise vessels.

It is a subject that has been raised repeatedly by Member of Parliament for St Lucy Denis Kellman, who believes such a facility would be good for businesses in the north of the island.

Sealy today said the idea had been
receiving attention, and there were plans to have the ships dock offshore and passengers carried to shore by small boats, but this would require refurbishment of the old Speightstown jetty.

The minister said the finer details of the plan were yet to be finalized, and with a general election mere months away, he did not commit to a firm date for the commencement of work.

However, Jean Marie told reporters BPI would play a significant role in the development of the cruise facility in the north.

“The port will refurbish the Speightstown jetty, which will be an integral part of tourism to the north,” he said, while suggesting that the development could come on stream following the planned construction of Sandals Beaches by 2020 at the old Almond Hotel site in Speightstown.

“We hope to have a lot more water taxis working closely with Sandals and the water sports people here in Bridgetown to move cruise passengers. We want to improve life of Speightstown and we are starting with the jetty,” Jean Marie said.

The anticipated 825,000 cruise passengers for this year would fall short of the 834,438 which Sealy had predicted in early October while announcing that as of September there were 553,869 cruise passenger visits to Barbados.

However, the minister explained that hurricanes Irma and Maria, along with Hurricane Harvey, had impacted the cruise sector here, after Carnival Cruise Lines cancelled the weekly calls by Carnival Fascination, which was redirected to assist with relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

Still, Barbados benefitted from the redirection of several vessels which were originally scheduled to visit the affected countries.

However, Sealy dismissed any notion this year’s record arrivals were due merely to the impact of the storms on the neighbouring countries.

“I know there will be those who are saying the only reason we are here now is because of the bad weather that affected the northern part of the Caribbean recently with the three hurricanes. However . . . we actually lost although the hurricane didn’t affect us. Cruise Barbados was impacted and in the face of that we were still able to get close to our target because of some hard work done by officials here at the port and Barbados Tourism Management Inc,” Sealy said.

27 Responses to Cruise joy

  1. Veroniva Boyce
    Veroniva Boyce December 30, 2017 at 5:03 am

    Increase in cruise visitors decline in spending.

    • Roosevelt Barrow
      Roosevelt Barrow December 30, 2017 at 5:24 am

      You have to realized that these cruise ships and passengers go to about 5 ports, so when it comes to prices and spending money you to see where your prices to the other islands

    • Veroniva Boyce
      Veroniva Boyce December 30, 2017 at 5:45 am

      You mean compare prices of the regurgitated tick tack. Most of the cruise visitors got everything they need at home. They mission is sightseeing, relaxing and they might buy the odd craft or sovereign.

      • Belfast December 30, 2017 at 2:30 pm

        The Bajan Minister is thinking like a Bajan. We go cruising and vacationing in Miami and New York and come back here with everything, including the kitchen sink. We expect cruise passenger to do the same when they hop off at Barbados for a few hours.
        Many cruise ships provide T-Shirts and other souvenirs on board bearing the logo of the next island on the agenda.

    • Jess Green
      Jess Green December 30, 2017 at 10:16 am

      Hope Mr Sealy has informed the cruise passengers not to go to the south coast because of the sewage problems, —Gun crime, robbing, all over the island. Cant see him doing that can you.???

    • Roosevelt Barrow
      Roosevelt Barrow December 30, 2017 at 5:09 pm

      Compare to a lot of places around the world and Caribbean Barbados is one of the safest places to travel.

  2. Ali Baba
    Ali Baba December 30, 2017 at 5:49 am


  3. Ossie Moore December 30, 2017 at 5:54 am

    Another dog and pony show .

    • jennifer December 30, 2017 at 4:04 pm

      i like this – but who is the dog??

  4. Ossie Moore December 30, 2017 at 6:13 am

    That’s how you get bajans to forget about he more serious problems that is affecting the island and that very same thing topic was discussed on this comment forum just two days ago.

    Barbados Today :
    ” Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy could not hide his elation today as he waited at the Bridgetown Port to welcome the visitor ”

    The Minister was elated because he knows that by showing bajans pictures of cruise ships in the port and pictures of tourists and by talking a bundle of crap will make bajans forget about problems such as :

    (1) High crime
    (2) Lousy health care
    (3) High taxes
    (4) Dangerous driving highways ( and potholes )
    (5) High prices
    (6) Residents living in sewage
    (7) With all of these tourists / visitor arrivals how come bajans can’t get their income tax money returns ?

    The next thing to get bajans to forget about all of the above is to bring up the topic of crop over and show the preparations in progress .

  5. hcalndre December 30, 2017 at 7:05 am

    With the Cruise liners docking at the ports with thousands of passengers and the small taxi operators can`t make a living. Years ago when tourist ships arrived even the clubs on Nelson Street used to do well and now more ships, less spending so who is fooling who?

  6. Ralph W Talma December 30, 2017 at 8:05 am

    1. @Ossie Moore. Congratulations on your most succinct post with which I fully agree. Surely thre Minister must realise he cannot fool all the people all the time.
    2. What’s this about a contract for a new Berth 6 being awarded without going out to tender? That is surely illegal, unless B’dos has become a totalitarian State overnight!!

  7. Honest December 30, 2017 at 10:10 am

    My comments are never published. I wonder why. I suppose they are too exacting and biting.

  8. James Austin Bynoe
    James Austin Bynoe December 30, 2017 at 10:14 am

    Total BS every bajans knows it … keep selling fake news

  9. Ziggy Blessed
    Ziggy Blessed December 30, 2017 at 10:28 am

    …..that number grew because many of the other cruise destinations were damaged by the hurricanes not as a result of more interest yuh liar

  10. Ossie Moore December 30, 2017 at 11:20 am

    Well said Mr.Talma ! ! ! Now at least there’s someone else who’s beginning to realize the amount of smoke that’s being blown up the rear ends of most Barbadians.

  11. Ossie Moore December 30, 2017 at 11:24 am

    To Honest :

    Don’t feel like the Lone Range , a lot of my comments are never published also. Every time you see one (1 ) of my comments it means that there were ten (10) that were never published ! ! ! !

  12. trevor daniel December 30, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    When the numbers were down, the crooked Barbados Labour Party MPs criticised, now the numbers are up and keep going up the crooked fork tongue boys still criticise. Now they want the blessed DLP Administration to put guns to the heads of the visitors and demand that they spend all their money. This is unbelievable. Yah see, once the facts start splattering all over their besotted faces it not only blinds them, but they run to gab another weapon from the deep sewer of 111 Roebuch Street. Like Donald Trump, the crooked BLP has been peddling a basket of lies and slander against DLP MPs ever since 2008, to see which will stick. Unfortunately some people, especially living overseas, have fallen for the tricks. But that’swhy I will bring you the facts about these BLP rascals. Like I said, their shenanigans while their held the office of government for those fourteen years, have made all of them rich, and millionaires. They all drove Mercedes Benz during that time. Many of their friends were listed as Contractors and given contracts to build houses etc. Eventhe famous DJ at a certain place was given contracts to repave roads, and he won’t pay the workers on time. He would be hiding from them and all sorts of things during the BLP reign. He was even a candidate for a country seat. So that crooked BLP party has a record as long and stupidity is from common sense.

  13. Tee White December 30, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    It’s no good the government talking about record cruise number arrivals without saying what income the country is earning from these arrivals. You cannot develop an economy by producing nothing and building more berths for tourists to pass through. Barbados needs a radical change of economic direction. Otherwise the wheels are going to come off completely and we are all going to be in deep sh*t.

  14. Geoff Small December 30, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    Ossie Moore, you are good at criticism, however, you do not offer one credible idea or suggestion as to how things can be made better.
    You are like most, full of hot air. Maybe that is why you are not published.

  15. jrsmith December 30, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    @, Geoff Small , hail ,hail , even the so call educated expert’s cannot band together to offer any advice to the failed government………………
    I would bet lots of us would do a lot better if we were given the chance………………….

  16. Ossie Moore December 30, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    To Geoff Small : I am very good at criticism and I’ll continue to criticise .

    Hot air Geoff ? ha , ha ha tell you “buh’bados Governments to hire me and bring me ( from the well developed country that I live in ) to BIM as a Political Consultant if you want my CREDIBLE SUGGESTIONS and IDEAS.

  17. Ossie Moore December 30, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    Geoff Small says : Maybe that is why you are not published.

    Ossie : Listen Geoff , My work is seen , heard and read by MILLIONS every week ( all over the world ) and I am very sure that even you in “buh’bados follow me weekly.

    So not being published by the Barbados Today or and by any bajan media has no effect on my ratings . . . catch my drift ?

  18. Sharon Woolley
    Sharon Woolley December 31, 2017 at 2:23 am

    This is a comment is made every year, I guess he won’t say how many hotel rooms are empty or how takings are down in shops

  19. helicopter(8P) January 2, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    Well done Richard I hope they got a taste of our 1705, or Old Brigand! Happy New Year to you and all Barbadians!

  20. Helicopter(8P) January 2, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    Iv’e got to take that back Richard I can very well see they have received a quart of XO! I know they will never forget that wonderful moment! Where Ever they are? We wish them well!

  21. Ossie Theophilus Moore January 2, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    Ossie Moore fella that’s you and yours and yours! It’s the responsibility of the household to make sure the topsie (poe) emptied and cleansed with Harpic every day!


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