One of the largest cruise vessels in the world, the MS Anthem of the Seas made her inaugural stop in Antigua and Barbuda amidst fanfare greetings and celebrations by the government and people. The ship, which is the largest cruise vessel to dock in Antigua and Barbuda, towered over other vessels in Heritage Quay.
Governor General Sir Rodney Williams, Prime Minister Gaston Browne; and over 200 government officials, dignitaries, stakeholders and invited guests were present for the on-board inaugural ceremony held in December.
In speaking to the captain of the vessel on the inaugural visit, Tourism Minister Asot Michael said, “We view this visit as a true sign of the confidence that Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines has in Antigua and Barbuda, as a marquee destination capable of offering a first-class experience to your cruise guests. We could not have thought of a more fitting way to commission the extension and improvements of our Heritage Quay pier, but to have history record that the Anthem of the Seas was the first ship to use these facilities on her inaugural voyage to our shores! So, your arrival is an inaugural event – not just in terms of your visit, but for the seminal moment that it marks for our growing cruise industry overall.”
The Heritage Quay Pier was extended to accommodate the large quantum-class vessel. The commissioning of the extension of the pier saw a gathering of hundreds of Antiguans and Barbudans for the historic moment.
To further mark the occasion, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda implemented a waiver of duty throughout the Heritage Quay and Redcliffe Quay areas for that day without the requirement of proof of travel, which normally indicates that the goods purchased are leaving the country.
Since its first visit by 4,220 passengers plus 1,603 crew, the Anthem of the Seas Cruise vessel had two scheduled stops in St. John’s in January, another set for February and another in April •