Grenada’s cruise numbers have been rising for the past few years. Passenger arrivals shot up 19.3% from 2014 to hit 280,518 people in 2015, then surged by 12.3% to reach 314,913 in 2016. Expected capacity for the 2017-2018 season show that the Caribbean island expects to welcome 388,114 passengers and 229 cruise ship calls – a respective 23.2% and 4.6% increase.
According to Carlyle Felix, general manager of the Grenada Port Authority (GPA), there will be several highlights in the 2017-2018 cruise season. First of all, it’s his understanding that Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Sunshine and Carnival Pride will make four new calls in 2018, while Pullmantur and Seabourn Cruise Line will also make inaugural visits. Silversea Cruises will be another of the global luxury cruise brands calling at Grenada.
Many of the cruise ships calling in Grenada will berth at the modern Melville Street Cruise Terminal, which was completed in 2005 at a cost of US$42 million.
“The project involved reclaiming 10 acres of land, constructing a 375-metre jetty and developing a welcome centre and a duty-free shopping mall,” says Felix. “The jetty’s north and south berths have a depth of 9.8 metres and 10.5 metres respectively. Meanwhile, the terminal is equipped to simultaneously handle either two mega ships and one medium-sized ship, or four small cruise ships. The Port of St. George’s, which is the main berth for commercial vessels, was refurbished in 2000 and has a 335-metre berth with a depth of 9.1 metres.”
Cruise guests can board local tour vehicles for their shore excursions directly from the pier, or pass through the terminal to make the most of the shopping opportunities.
“The GPA works very closely with all tour operators, taxi companies, the Grenada Tourism Authority and the Royal Grenada Police Force to review cruise call schedules, peak traffic times and road conditions to ensure that traffic flows smoothly into and out of the Melville Street Cruise Terminal,” says Felix.
In future, Grenada aims to significantly boost annual cruise numbers and become a year-round, rather than a seasonal, cruise port.
“We’ve increased our marketing spend for 2017 and we’ll continue to network with cruise decision makers and the travel trade, using traditional print mediums, digital communications and social media platforms to improve how we promote the Pure Grenada brand,” comments Felix. “The GPA strongly endorses the idea of Grenada becoming a year-round cruise port, so we’re currently putting together an incentive package for consideration by the board of directors.”