By Davion Smith, BVI News Journalist
Caribbean-style Christmas songs emanated throughout the Tortola Pier Park this morning as visitors disembarked Marella Discovery, the first official cruise ship to service the British Virgin Islands since the hurricanes.
Premier and Minister of Tourism Dr D Orlando Smith and other officials were present to welcome the ship and its 1,300 guests.
“It looks like most of the passengers came off the ship,” said Leasing and Marketing Manager at Tortola Pier Park, Meslyn Allen.
She described today’s cruise ship arrival as a ‘big deal’ for BVI tourism.
“I think this is definitely a good sign for us and is a good sign for the territory not only locally but internationally, to let persons know that our story continues; which is our tagline throughout the recovery, and we are getting there.”
“I’ve been speaking a lot with some of the visitors and you know they are really supportive and really excited just to be here. They understand that we had a storm and they are still enjoying the visit, they are going to the designated beaches, they are taking a walk in Road Town and the feedback we’ve received so far is awesome. They are just browsing around and shopping,” Allen told BVI News.
Even more arrivals
The pier park boss said Marella Discovery‘s arrival will encourage other cruise lines to return to the BVI.
She added: “This ship has promised to continue their calls to the BVI. I think they come every two weeks so we are expecting to see more ships coming back; going into this month and next year. So we can definitely say that we are on our way back and Tortola Pier Park will do everything we can, as usual, to ensure they have the best experience possible.”