Minister for Communications and Works Honourable Mark Vanterpool today officially announced the soon return of Disney Cruise Line to the Virgin Islands.
Disney changed its itinerary to exclude Tortola in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in September 2017. Much of the Territory’s infrastructure was badly damaged, including utilities, homes and businesses, port facilities and tourist attractions.
“Since then, through the combined and dedicated efforts of our Government, international, regional and local agencies and individuals, we have made significant strides in restoring the islands to normalcy,” Hon. Vanterpool said. “We can now state proudly that we are ready to receive the influx of visitors who will come via the major cruise lines, an industry that was extremely viable pre-Irma.”
According to the Minister for Communications and Works, Government has been actively engaged in discussions with Disney, Norwegian Cruise Line and the operations team of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), representing all of the cruise lines cruising the Caribbean. “We have been providing them with regular updates on the clean-up efforts and progress on the restoration of ground transportation and shore excursions on the main islands of Tortola, Anegada, Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke,” he said.
Hon. Vanterpool added that Government recognizes the importance of the cruise tourism industry to the people of the Virgin Islands. “Our taxi and tour operators, restauranteurs and vendors depend heavily on this industry for their livelihood and we have been making every effort to ensure that these major cruise lines continue to visit”, he stated.
Mr. Russell Daya, Disney’s Executive Director, Marine & Port Operations, Port Development & Itinerary Planning, said Disney is happy to see the great progress being made in the British Virgin Islands, in order to provide a satisfactory and safe guest experience. “We have every confidence in your Government’s efforts in restoring the destination to a higher standard than previously…and we look forward to continuing to support you,” he declared.
Daya confirmed that Disney is now scheduled to visit the British Virgin Islands on Tuesday August 28, 2018. This is approximately one year after its last call here on August 29, 2017.
Disney Cruise Line signed a Berthing Agreement with the Government of the Virgin Islands January 17, 2014, committing to bring, in any full year, a guaranteed minimum of 75,000 passengers to the Territory.
The return of Disney to the BVI in August will herald a much-needed boost to the all-important tourism sector, which is the major employer in the islands.