Things continue to look up for Caribbean cruising.
Following the recent regional devastation, TravelPulse checked in with Cheryl Franklin, Director of Cruise at Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) about the island’s current and future status.
TravelPulse: As the Caribbean rebounds following the latest hurricanes, how does Barbados look from a cruising perspective?
Cheryl Franklin: A strong first and second quarter performance during 2017 and a busy winter season ahead [have] helped to ensure a level of resilience for Barbados in the aftermath of the devastating hurricanes. Barbados was unscathed but has been affected by the devastation in other ports of call, particularly the southern Caribbean homeporting hub of Puerto Rico.
However, given that the hurricanes occurred late in the summer and that the cruise season has officially started, the impact on Barbados has been cushioned. We are grateful for this and we have been very involved in the relief efforts for our impacted neighbors.
TP: What is the current and future outlook for sailings departing from the island versus those that only visit?
CF: Our homeporting segment is growing, and there are a number of extended stays in port this winter. This is an opportunity for Barbados to showcase an array of exciting evening experiences, especially during the festive holiday season.
The longer and overnight port stays have been a key growth strategy implemented this year, and we are delighted to see the results. Our transit calls are also ahead of 2016 even though we will lose calls as a result of Carnival Fascination’s charter arrangement with FEMA.
READ MORE: Caribbean Cruise Ports Re-Open
TP: What new attractions or accommodations are noteworthy for those cruisers leaving from Barbados?
CF: There are numerous exciting attractions and experiences being introduced to the market for cruise visitors. Cruise travelers today are looking for deeply immersive activities which are cultural and multi-faceted and which can be done in a few hours.
Given the ease of access across the island, cruise visitors are able to encounter various diverse components of the island within 2-4 hours. This high level of accessibility across a diverse topography is a competitive advantage enjoyed by the destination.
Peg Farm, Coco Hill Forest, the oldest Jewish synagogue in the western hemisphere and its two museums, a variety of delightful walking tours as well as cultural and theatrical dining experiences are just some of the new product offerings introduced to market this year.
With respect to accommodation[s], we have a wide range on offer in all categories, inclusive of international brands, local boutique hotels and luxury villas, all within easy access of the air and seaports.
TP: Is there anything new for cruise day visitors to be excited for on the island?
CF: The upcoming Sugar and Rum Season developed by the Barbados Product Authority which starts in January and runs through until April and will have a number of fully immersive historical and cultural events and activities that will be accessible to cruise travelers. We are also very much looking forward to the opening of Nikki Beach before the end of the year!
TP: What are some of the classics that continue to interest everyone?
CF: The classics are of course Harrison’s Cave inclusive of their new eco tour, Island Safari, Hunte’s Gardens, Welchman Hall Gully, George Washington House, A Catamaran cruise and swimming with the turtles, Gun Hill and the Animal Flower Cave to name just a few.
This post first appeared on TravelPulse.