LOOP: Antigua and Barbuda has welcomed P&O Cruises Arvia for its homeporting operations with over 4,500 passengers.
The cruise ship, which is the fifth to berth in Antigua, was greeted on Saturday morning with a cannon salute and is the largest cruise ship to ever dock in Antigua at ACP’s Fifth Pier.
On Friday, Antigua Cruise Port was preparing to welcome the largest cruise vessel to ever dock in Antigua & Barbuda. Arvia, a new ship owned and operated by P&O Cruises arrived at the fifth berth at 6 am and is expected to depart at 9 pm.
The majestic ship, which is 344m in length with a capacity to carry 5,200 guests and 1,800 crew members, will also home port at Antigua Cruise Port every other Saturday until March 11. This means these passengers will start and end their cruise voyage in Antigua and Barbuda.
General Manager, Dona Regis-Prosper, said that Antigua Cruise Port team and several of its key partners, including the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, the Antigua and Barbuda Airport Authority, the Royal Police Force, Customs and Excise Division and the Department of Immigration, have worked assiduously to prepare for the relaunch of homeporting operations ahead of Arvia’s arrival.
Regis- Prosper confirmed the changes that were made to the port, sharing that “Antigua Cruise Port is proud of the work that we have accomplished in a short period of time to welcome Arvia. We have installed a temporary marquee terminal equipped with check-in counters, customs clearance and immigration inspection areas, baggage scanners and an efficient passenger flow system to ensure a seamless operation. We look forward to welcoming homeporting and transit guests to Antigua.”
Meanwhile, on Friday it was indicated all systems were ready at the VC Bird International Airport for what will be an important weekend for arrivals and ultimately Antigua and Barbuda’s cruise industry.
This Saturday afternoon, the airport will welcome three Virgin Atlantic charter flights with passengers destined to begin their Caribbean cruise excursions from the Heritage Quay in St John’s.
The entire operation qualifies Antigua and Barbuda as a Homeport for cruise vessels and the airport’s role is pivotal in ensuring that passengers and their luggage are moved seamlessly from their aircraft unto busses that will transport them from the tarmac to the awaiting Carnival Cruise Line vessel.
The arriving cruise passengers will be bussed to the airport for the awaiting charter flights back to the United Kingdom.
A dedicated line has been created for the cruise travellers that will allow them to move seamlessly through airport processes and into the departure lounge from where they will board their flight.
The turn-around operation will once again take place on the 11 and 25 of February and on the 11 of March.
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