During the town hall meeting that was held with cruise line executives on October 2 at the Eileen Parsons Auditorium, tour operator, Sam Henry pleaded with Carnival Cruise Line, which had stopped visiting the Territory, to return in full.
The situation with Carnival stemmed from as far back as 2013, when it was disclosed that the Government was going to sign berthing agreements with Norwegian and Disney Cruise Lines.
Carnival agreed to return to the Territory in 2017, but was doing so on a minimal basis. However, last year it was announced that the company indicated that it would return in full.
In light of this, Henry took the opportunity to address the panel, which included Carlos Estrada, Director, Commercial Home Port Operations at Carnival Cruise Lines, to ask that the company increase their calls.
Henry said, “Carnival – we want to see you back. Nothing taken away from the other two cruise liners, but we love Carnival, so we want you back more. This is a home run for you guys, so come on back some more. Work whatever you have to work out with the rest – come back home. This is your home no matter where you go – BVI is your home,” Henry stated.
While the Premier, Hon. Andrew Fahie did not speak directly to the matter of Carnival’s exit from the Territory, he did make a comment about a relationship that had to be mended, and hinted that Carnival could attest to this.
The Premier said, “We had to rebuild some relationships. When I say this, I say it because I know I could get back up on the stage from Carnival. There was a relationship that we had to mend and my good friend (nodding to Michele Paige, FCCA President) has helped me to mend it to the point where we have brought back Carnival Sunrise,” he said.
While speaking more on the matter, Hon. Fahie further stated, “There were some relationships that had to be mended, so I actually was out to some of these meetings…on a mission of mercy to start and press a reset button…The reset button has been pressed, that is why we state that we were able to increase the number of calls in terms of our passengers.”
“I want to thank all those on the stage tonight, none more than the other, but especially Carnival Cruise Line for allowing us to do a reset button and come and be very helpful to the BVI. The BVI people know about parables and I think I have spoken to you in the best parable that I can, but I’ll end by saying continue to invest,” Hon. Fahie added.