New Port of Spain mayor Chinua Alleyne has promised cruise passengers are safe as the season was launched on Tuesday in the city.
At a press conference at its opening, Alleyne was not willing to disclose the planned security measures, but said, “Rest assured, we have been collaborating alongside the ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts, Tourism Trinidad, the Port Authority, the TTPS and other stakeholders to ensure that our municipal police officers are engaged in the safety arrangements for the cruise-ship season and beyond.”
In a release on Sunday, Tourism Trinidad said it was expecting close to 90,000 passengers this cruise season, a 51 per cent increase from the previous one.
Tourism Trinidad CEO Carla Cupid said one of the initiatives the body embarked on this year was to improve the guest and passenger experience.
That involved working closely with the Port of Spain City Corporation through Alleyne and the police as well as having visitor ambassadors “on the ground,” she said.
In Sunday’s release the body said 35 visitor ambassadors had been trained in customer service, tour operations, passenger safety and stakeholder relations. Their duties entail being positioned at the Cruise Ship Complex and key locations throughout Port of Spain to welcome passengers to the city, to Trinidad and provide visitors with “an amazing experience.”
In her feature address at the season’s openingat the Cruise Ship Complex, Dock Road, Port of Spain, Cupid said the country could expect 41 calls from November 14-April 17, 2024.
Ruby Princess was the first vessel for the season.
“The significant growth that we are experiencing in cruise tourism is really a testament to the dedication and hard work of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts led by minister Randall Mitchell; Tourism Trinidad’s team; Port Authority of TT; our cruise stakeholders –too numerous to mention, but every one of them equally valuable – and the entire TT community to be their usual welcoming and hospitable selves,” she said.
Cupid said the organisation always prioritised cruise development by ensuring a memorable and authentic passenger experience.
“We believe by providing our guests with that uniquely Trinidadian experience, that leaves that lasting impression and encourages them to return to our shores for an even longer stay,” she said.
She said the cruis ships' calls will be distributed throughout the season, with each month offering a variety of visits.
Cupid said three new cruise lines will be welcome this season and seven inaugural calls. This showed interest in “Destination Trinidad” was growing.
Cupid said the day was special because the country was welcoming a cruise line that never left and always returned.
“Princess Cruises has always been a loyal partner in our industry's development. This season they are returning with the Ruby Princess, Island Princess and the Emerald Princess.”
Cupid said the body expects to see continued growth in the cruise industry.
“Lines that have never visited Port of Spain are visiting the city for this season, and we hope to really build on that in the next cruise season.
“I always say developing a cruise industry is not a sprint, it is a marathon. If we talk to a cruise line this year, you will probably reap the benefits in the next two to three years – but you have to start talking to them now.”
Cupid said Tourism Trinidad had attended the Florida/Caribbean Cruise Association and spoke to cruise line executives there, and the fruits of that might be seen in the 2024/25 or 2025/26 season.
“We are on a really strong growth trajectory and we are putting things in place to ensure that we see the kind of gains we saw this year, happening next year and after that.”
Ruby Princess passengers were invited to join the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts for Live at Lunch on the Brian Lara Promenade, Port of Spain.
The concert formed part of Caribbean Tourism Month, ran from noon-2 pm and featured performances by Moricia Cagan, Ricardo “Daddy Chinee” Melville, Ronnie McIntosh and Irwin “Scrunter” Reyes Johnson.
A small audience of tourists and nationals danced and sang along to soca and parang.
Cagan sang from the songbooks of Patrice Roberts (Carry On and Tender) and David Rudder (Trini 2 De Bone).
Lil Bits engaged the tourists in the small audience teaching one how to wine as she sang songs like Take All His Money.
Reigning Chutney Soca Monarch Daddy Chinee moved some visitors with his winning song We Are One.
McIntosh took the audience through his musical songbook while delivering songs like How It Go Look, Donkey Dance and Happy.
Scrunter tested the dancing skills of the visitors who recently learned to wine. He delivered his iconic soca hits like Woman on the Bass and She Want Meh to Sing in She Party among others. Even Alleyne was seen chipping to the music.
Scrunter ended the show with parang hits Homemade Wine and Leroy.