The Port of Scarborough was transformed into a hub of cultural activity, Monday, as passengers from the Marella Explorer 2 were warmly greeted by local entertainers including performers of the Tobago Ole Time Wedding, Roxborough Folk Performers, Jabali Drummers and the Arts Push Moko Jumbies.
This was the ship's maiden voyage to Destination Tobago, arriving with 1,171 passengers and a crew of over 700. To mark the occasion, Division of Tourism, Culture and Transportation administrator Selma Graham and Tobago Tourism Agency Ltd (TTAL) CEO Louis Lewis attended a plaque exchange ceremony on-board the vessel and presented the ship's Captain, Konstantinos Lampropoulos, with a framed painting from local artist, Martin Superville.
Lewis said the cruise call was important and will assist to create further travel interests in Destination Tobago. Many of the passengers on the Marella Explorer 2 are from the United Kingdom.
In his response, Captain Lampropoulos said he was grateful for the token and expressed his appreciation of Tobago’s rich historical legacy.
Following the exchange, Administrator Graham, CEO Lewis, Port Authority officials and the ship's agent, Gregory Donation were given a tour of the ship. This is the second cruise ship to arrive in Tobago since the start of the 2019-2020 cruise season. The first was luxury cruise liner MS Hamburg, which docked on November 27 with 451 passengers aboard.
A total of 32 vessels are expected to call at Scarborough and Charlotteville during the cruise season which runs from November 2019 to April 2020.
Lewis told Newsday the cultural welcome was important for two reasons.
"It gives a snippet of what the island has to offer and it entices persons who are indecisive, to disembark. They can watch around, ask questions and possibly be attracted for a longer stay," he said.
Lewis said 350 tours were sold on Monday as he noted the huge potential for economic impact.
He said although the cruise season started a bit late this year he is "looking for a good performance notwithstanding."