Barbados Takes Humanitarian Approach to Cruise Ships

As more and more ports turn their backs on incoming cruise ships, even those with a clean bill of health, the Caribbean island nation of Barbados is taking a decidedly different approach. The country has welcomed incoming cruise ships looking for a place to port while they wait for the go-ahead to resume normal cruising operations. Kerrie Symmonds, the minister of tourism and international transport, explained that the goal is to foster future goodwill and partnerships with cruise lines who bring a significant portion of the island’s economic security. 

As of Monday morning, there were seven ships at the port of Bridgetown and another three anchored along the island’s West Coast. 

Barbados Welcoming Cruise Ships 

Thinking long term was why Barbados decided to allow cruise ships to call on the island when so many others were turning the ships away. Kerrie Symmonds explained that maintaining relationships was at the forefront of the decision making. 

“We have to see it as a benefit from the posture that we have taken. And, again, down the road it can only speak towards offering significant commercial opportunity to the country and employment benefits as well,” he said. “I don’t think that there has been any negatives for Barbados in terms of our relationships for partnering with the cruise lines as we did. The fact of the matter is that first of all, we honoured contracts that we had to honour internationally.” 

Barbados is taking special precaution with the cruise ships to help prevent the potential spread of the virus on the island. Crew members on board are not permitted shore leave while the ships are at the island. 

READ: Cruise Lines Left Out of COVID-19 Stimulus Bill 

Last week, Prime Minister Mia Mottley explained that Barbados had a moral duty to help those in need. 

“We have an obligation to these ships; these ships call Barbados home. There is a legal, contractual, moral, ethical and humanitarian obligation that we have,” she said.

The hope is that cruise lines appreciate the assistance and will continue making Barbados a feature stop for future itineraries for years to come. 

The ten ships which currently call Barbados home are Royal Caribbean Vision, Serenade and Freedom of the Seas, AIDA Cruises AIDAperla and AIDAluna, MSC Cruises Preziosa, Windstar Wind Star, Seabourn Odyssey, Hapag-Llyod Hanseatic Inspiration and Sea Cloud Cruises Sea Cloud