BVI News

Potential travel bubble? BVI discussing return of cruise ships

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Regional discussions have already commenced between the British Virgin Islands and various cruise liner associations regarding plans for a safe return of the vessels to the territory.

Chief Executive Officer of Tortola Pier Park Limited, Vance Lewis gave that indication during a media conference on Thursday.

Responding to questions from BVI News, Lewis said the BVI, as recent as this week, has been a part of the annual Global Sea Trade Conference that is being held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said, “We’ve been speaking with several cruise lines. We’ve had conversations already with Carnival, with Disney and Norwegian who are our berthing partners, Royal Caribbean, with Vikings … and I have more meetings that we – BVI Ports Authority, Tortola Pier Park and two shipping operators – will be leading the way.”

“In addition to that, conversations have begun regionally as well because BVI is part of a regional task force that has been established by the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association …We’re talking about when cruise dates are reintroduced to the Caribbean [and] how are we going to do it basically,” the Cruise Pier CEO added.

Regional bubbles being considered

Lewis also said that the discussions have included whether the cruise industry will consider establishing a safe ‘travel bubble’ within the region.

“For instance, in Europe, they started doing it in bubbles. And that’s the conversation we’re going to have to find out — basically whether we introduce a bubble scenario here and in the wider region. But we have a seat on the regional task force.”

What are travel bubbles?

Travel bubbles are also referred to as travel bridges or corona corridors, which removes the quarantine period for a select group of travellers from certain countries where the coronavirus has been contained. In this bubble, a set of countries agree to open their borders to each other, while keeping the strict COVID-19 protocols on all countries which are not included within the bubble.

This allows for the free movement of people within the bubble between the agreed countries, and prohibits persons from outside countries from entering within the bubble unless going through all the necessary COVID-19 protocols.

CDC and CLIA ban expired on October 31

CEO Lewis further said another positive sign that the reemergence of cruise vessels within the territory may soon occur is the nearing expiration date of the ban that was set by the Centre for Disease Control and the Cruise Lines International Association.

He said the date which was agreed upon by both entities is October 31.

“They’ve had different guidelines before, but now they have said that is the date that both of us are recognising as the latest date before when cruise ships can leave the USA. That is signalling to us that cruising is going to start very soon because we all want to make sure that when cruising starts it happens safely,” Lewis explained.

Cruise ships with funnels expected for 2021

Lewis also said he expects the return of cruise ships with funnels some time in 2021.

He said the date will all depend on the readiness of the cruise industry, coupled with the BVI’s readiness to accept these vessels at the local ports.

Meanwhile, the CEO also hinted that the territory may welcome its first warm lay-up later this year following Cabinet’s recent approval.

A warm lay-up describes a situation where a cruise ship docks at a port with a reduced number of crew members as well as reduced maintenance of the vessel while its essential machinery and mechanical systems are kept in operation.


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  1. Heckler says:


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  2. You forgot? says:

    How easily everyone forgets the cruise ship crisis when covid began! Cruise ships are breeding grounds for any infection virus and where you will find a lot of asymptomatic patients! Remember the navy ship I believe that was a sea for several months and someone tested positive without being a port for almost 10 weeks?!?

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    • @You forgot? says:

      You are correct.

      One thing I found out early in my research when this outbreak intensified, a lot of the cruise ships that had the outbreak were outfitted with 5g equipment. you don’t have to take my word for it, do you own research.

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  3. Doh says:

    Good luck with that.

    These floating virus incubators will discharge thousands of potential COVID carriers. So prep for the apocalypse.

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  4. Hogwash says:

    Almost all cruise tourists travel through and stay in Florida. This is all nonsense along with the fact that no one at this point including the ships are coming to the BVI. The spreading of this nonsense does harm to the Territory and the people. Read the news around the world before you spread this crap.

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  5. really says:

    you want a test before and test on arrival a test 4 days later or 4 days in quarantine for tourists who want to spend a week here but you are going to allow and trust other people so they can come for a few hours and leave behind all their rubbish and infections. This is about the GOVERNMENT making money with berthing and taxes. This is a joke

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  6. Reasonable Man says:

    Too risky! These ships are floating super spreaders adding and leaving behind germs at every stop.

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  7. Question says:

    Minister if you are re considering cruise passengers, allowing land based tourists to quarantine for 4 days with Covid testing , could you kindly review the rules of re entering Tortola ? Two weeks hotel for $2590 and or $3700 to stay captive in ones own home. Surely this latter policy is out of date now ? Please address . Thank you.

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  8. Unbelievable says:

    You are such a set of hypocrites. The government do not allow and you all curses about them being a one time only elect. They do allow and you all curses and find all the reasons from around the world. It is a fact that it doesn’t matter what the decisions are, the government can never pleases you. You talk about tourism… this is apart of tourism. Do you think you petitioning for tourists to come back on vacation and staying at the hotel or on a yacht is any greater difference? You people makes even a four legged creature sick with your negativity and bs…

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    • Believable says:

      Its about the huge volume and the terrible reputation of cruise ships as disease carriers that is of concern here. Also they will be getting off the boat without any of the testing that regular visitors are required to do. Who knows what they picked up at their last port!

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    • @Un says:

      Let the cruise ship passengers in but please keep them away from the Belongers and the trash and sewage they produce so they won’t get dengue fever. Your stupidity regarding the difference between cruise ship passengers coming off of a virus incubator for a few hours is quite different than a tourist staying on a yacht or Villa. You are a sorry lot.

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  9. Taxi Man says:

    We need our boats coming back

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  10. Get it right.. says:

    Please dont mess this up like you messed up your Beef Island re-entry plan…engage the people who know the business.. This one has to be right..

  11. Unfortunately says:

    The cruise ships coming in while the US is going through such a mess would ruin the much more manageable and higher spending tourism of overnight guests including charter boats and big yachts,

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  12. Pure Greed says:

    Told my wife 4 months ago that the BVI Government would be reactive all along, jumping from one policy to the next. Then money would be short, their pet projects and consultancies would start demanding more. To H**L with any protocols, safety procedures. The whole Home Incarceration was for NOTHING! All a lie to keep the funds flowing in the “right” direction. It’s a Thug’s Life.

  13. Amazing says:

    After you all went in on the government regarding having these tourists having to go through four days of quarantine. You all said this would kill the tourism industry… to quote a fraction of your exact words “quarantine for four days no tourist will want to do that. Foy has just killed the number one industry.” Now all of a sudden you all want to use the four days quarantine to strengthen your point of not allowing the cruise ship back. Do you honestly think that these tourists who comes to the bvi on vacation only restrict themselves to the hotels or yachts? They goes to other restaurants for dinner as well as doing tours on the island, and those on yachts visits supermarkets.It only takes one to infect someone here without that person having any symptoms and come in contact with another who comes in contact with another and another and the virus spreads like wildfire. Do you all think the government will not think this through and settle with the best possible decision for his people and his country?

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  14. Have to admit.... says:

    …..tourism is done for 2021. The restrictions being considered make it extremely difficult for visitors to plan a visit. Hard times coming, because the visitors won’t be.

  15. Observation says:

    It’s pretty obvious that most don’t think highly of cruise ships coming to the territory. Does anyone else feel we should have deduced this before building the pier park? Did the people vote on that? I feel bad for those paying rent at pier park and trying to run a business there but I was among those who was against all the non-spending, overcrowding, cruise ship bodies littering the territory (and transforming CGB beaches etc into something unpleasant and unrecognizable). I personally wouldn’t mind if they were kept away but pier Park businesses are likely doomed.

  16. Head Tax only says:

    Simple fact cruise ship tourist contribute to govt via the head tax and to taxis. Thats it. They dont buy anything here. They dont spend money in restaurants. Maybe a few do day charters but they are not a significant source of revenue for the economy as a whole. Yet they bring the same if not more risk. Why is this even being discussed?

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