Marella Cruises returned to the British Virgin Islands for the first time in three months following the devastation of hurricanes Irma and Maria back in September – one of the hardest hit regions during the brutal hurricane season.

The British Virgin Islands’ Tortola Pier Park was a hive of activity with the arrival of the first two official cruise ships of the 2017/2018 cruise season – Marella Discovery and Marella Celebration. Together they brought in 2,800 passengers, with many ready and waiting to disembark to support the local community.

Marella Discovery & Marella Celebration

A government delegation, led by the British Virgin Islands Premier (head of government) Dr David Orlando Smith, formally welcomed the ships on the 6th and 7th of December. The return of these cruise ships signals the territory’s readiness to be back in business.

Sharon Flax-Brutus, BVI director of tourism, said – “The passengers were only directed to the locations and establishments that were open and had the facilities to safely host them.

Onwards and upwards

“We know there is still a lot of work still to be doing but it is ongoing. We expect more places to be ready to welcome guests on the next cruise ships. The Tourist Board continues to work along with our industry partners and global agencies in communicating our progress to the global tourism marketplace.”

In a brief welcome ceremony onboard Marella Discovery, Smith assured the captain and other ship officials that the territory would continue to rebuild for greater sustainability and reaffirmed his government’s commitment to enhancing the British Virgin Island’s offerings to cruise visitors.

Developments elsewhere

St. Maarten also reopened to cruise ships last week, making a major breakthrough in the recovery of the Caribbean following the hurricanes, with the country having been one of the most badly affected.

Sunny St Maarten

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