A US$90 million Master Plan for the phased investment into the cruise infrastructure in Antigua and Barbuda is being implemented as the country aims to increase cruise passenger-visitors by at least 10 percent next season.
New elements of the plan include plans to create a new cruise destination on sister island Barbuda. The new beach-focused, outer-island cruise destination is designed to deliver an authentic and unprecedented experience for an Eastern Caribbean cruise itinerary and to newly position Barbuda on the regional cruise map.
Works for the masterplan commenced in 2016 with a US $50 million investment on the main Antigua harbour in the capital, St. Johns. This included maintenance dredging, lengthening and strengthening the Heritage Pier to allow for the berthing of larger ships, up to a Quantum-class size, as well as major improvements to Antigua’s facilities and downtown area.
This allowed for the arrival of Royal Caribbean’s ‘Anthem of the Seas’ in December 2016 heralding the start of what is expected to be a new growth phase for the Antiguan cruise sector. Other elements of the master plan include further dredging of the approach channel and turning basin area, the creation of a fifth berth, and land reclamation to help with major improvements to pedestrian and vehicle flows, town aesthetics, tour operations and shopping. •