(BVI PLATINUM) – Premier Hon. Dr. D. Orlando Smith and Communication and Works Minister, Hon. Mark Vanterpool, arrived at the Tortola Pier Park this morning. December 6, to welcome the island’s first cruise passengers since the passage of the great September hurricanes.
The Ministers, government workers, representatives of the BVI Tourist Board and local media, also boarded Marella Cruises, where the captain and some members of his crew awaited the BVI’s political leaders.
During a conversation with Premier Smith and Hon Vanterpool, Marella’s Captain, Hugh Maynard confirmed that guests sympathized with the BVI and its neighbors, and were still eager to visit and support the destinations.
“They’re excited. We told the guests we would stop here and they are all excited and they understand. They just want to go and start contributing to the economy; whatever is open is open. We had no negative comments yesterday when we stopped in St. Martin (also hit by hurricanes). In fact, many of our guests have asked what they can do to help,” Maynard told the leaders.
Maynard presented Premier Smith with a plaque from Marella Discovery and commended the BVI for having endured the vicious category 5 storms this year.
“It’s amazing to see the island so green again…Thanks for inviting us back; we are happy to be the first ones,” Maynard said.
He was presented with a token from the BVI Tourist Board for being the first cruise ship to arrive in the Territory.
“I spoke to a few of your guests, who expressed that they are happy to be here and that they want to help. We are happy they could come and enjoy it,” Minister Vanterpool told the ship’s captain.
He also revealed that the government is working to quickly restore infrastructure at the popular Cane Garden Bay beach, “hopefully by next month.”
The Ministers also encouraged the Marella captain to tell his colleagues in the cruise industry that the BVI is open for business. To this task, Captain Maynard replied, “I’ll make sure to get the word out that the BVI is open for business.”
The BVI’S largest island, Tortola, today December 6, welcomed Marella Discovery, the first cruise ship to visit the island since the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September.
The ship berthed at the Tortola Pier Park minutes after 7:00 am, carrying over 1,800 guests from the UK.
Assistant Manager on board Marella Discovery, Phillpa Dalby said Marella plans to make regular calls on Tortola for the rest of the winter tourist season.
“We are from the UK where it’s snowing a lot, so it’s nice to be here. And we also wanted to show our support for these islands which were hit by the hurricane, and we explained the situation to our guests and they still wanted to come and show their support,” Dalby told BVI Platinum News.