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Britannia in Kingstown on Thursday. (Photo: Lance Neverson/Facebook)
Britannia in Kingstown on Thursday. (Photo: Lance Neverson/Facebook)
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The cruise season in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is now in full swing, as the destination welcomed the return of a second cruise line to its shores.

Britannia, with a capacity of over 4,000 passengers, is the first cruise call to return to Port Kingstown for pleasure purposes since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Passengers and crew members of Britannia received a warm welcome to the destination, as many of the tourism sites and attractions were enhanced with electrifying cultural entertainment,” the Ministry of Tourism said in a press statement.

Passengers who disembarked Britannia operated in an organised “bubble tour”.   

Britannia is one of over 200 calls cruise ships are expected to make in SVG during the 2021 cruise season. Thirteen inaugural calls and 23 same-day and port calls are scheduled to visit the destination.

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Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Sustainable Development and Culture, Carlos James said: “The 2021 cruise season provides an opportunity for increased economic activity. Already we have over 200 expected cruise calls this season. This is significant in such a volatile time, especially, when compared to no cruise calls during the last cruise season”. 

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cruise Task Force established by the Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment formulated a Cruise Tourism Protocol for cruise lines visiting the 32 Islands and Cays.  

“We continue to provide the best experience to visitors while at the same time providing a safe environment for both visitors and nationals through our cruise protocols,” James said.   The protocol stipulates that all cruise passengers and crew must be fully vaccinated on arrival. 

The “bubble tours” are pre-packaged by local tour operators and pre-booked by the passengers at selected sites across the island. 

Tour operators; both land and sea, are expected to operate at a 75% capacity and they too must be fully vaccinated. 

Regular COVID-19 protocols; such as sanitisation and disinfection of surfaces, wearing of masks, social distancing and washing of hands will be fully employed throughout the season.