BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA) made this announcement on Friday (June 25) after a press conference with Premier Andrew Fahie who indicated at the time that there was no set dates for the return of cruise ships.
But while that conference was happening, the BVIPA was in active talks with international cruise carriers.
“The British Virgin Islands Ports Authority will welcome the first cruise ship call to the Territory, the Celebrity Millennium of Royal Caribbean Group’s Celebrity Cruises, on 1 July 2021,” the BVIPA stated.
“The details of this call were being finalised at the time of the Premier’s press conference earlier today,” it added.
The BVIPA said Celebrity Millennium will be home-porting out of St Maarten and will be making calls to Tortola, St Lucia and Barbados.
In the meantime, the Premier indicated today there is still no final plan in place on how the BVI intends to receive cruise passengers into the territory.
After weeks of waiting, Premier Andrew Fahie disclosed that there is still no final plan in place on how the BVI intends to receive cruise passengers into the territory.
He noted that discussions are still ongoing as it relates to a protective ‘bubble’ at the territory’s cruise pier and at other local hot spots for tourists.
The BVI’s first cruise call in months was scheduled to happen on June 15, but this was cancelled abruptly after the cruise liner reported that there were concerns with passengers who had tested positive for COVID-19 following a stop at one of its intended ports.
At a press conference held earlier today, Premier Fahie told reporters discussions remain centred on increasing vaccinations in the territory.
He also said approved social distance measures are being tested to be implemented once cruise passengers finally come.
According to the Premier, the government will be coming to the public very soon on “how the passengers will be coming off the cruise ships and how they will be interacting with the people of the Virgin Islands.”
Fahie said the BVI Ports Authority in collaboration with the CB Romney Pier Tortola Park and the BVI Tourist Board have launched some initiatives in this regard and will be keeping the public informed through meetings.
Questioned about when the next cruise call should be expected in the BVI, Fahie did not have any dates to offer, even though there previously had been set dates for planned cruise calls.
He said more news on the issue should be forthcoming within the next week or two. He also emphasised that the previous cruise cancellation did not have anything to do with the BVI.
Earlier, the Premier said he welcomed news that the United Kingdom updated its categorisation of the BVI by including it on the green list for travel.
He also stated that the BVI’s tourism industry is opening up more and more daily.
Premier Fahie said bookings for land properties and charter boats continue to increase and visitors are returning in increasing numbers.
According to the Premier, this will provide much needed jobs across the spectrum of the tourism industry – from taxi and tour operators, to hotels and charter companies, as well as bars, restaurants and food vendors.