Aruba Welcomes Back Carnival Cruise Lines
Cruise News November 2nd, 2010
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The aptly named Carnival Miracle cruised into Oranjestad Harbor on October 22 at precisely 11:30 a.m. to receive a royal welcome as the island was re-established on the Carnival itinerary after nearly four years absence. Waiting at the terminal to greet the ship that carries 2,400 passengers and 900 crewmembers was a contingent of local dignitaries and tourism stakeholders led by Prime Minister Mike Eman and Minister of Tourism, Transport and Labor, Otmar Oduber.
The Prime Minster and Minister Oduber were joined by Carnival Vice President of Port Operations, Domenico Tringale in marking this auspicious occasion. Captain Rocco Lubrano, who commands the ship, joined them in the terminal after the docking, with APA Director Alfonso Boekhoudt, for an exchanging of gifts during this inaugural visit.
Minister Oduber reported this will be the first of 17 stops in Aruba by the Carnival Miracle over the season, delivering an expected 40,000 visitors and revenues of approximately $6 million to island vendors. Carnival removed Aruba from their itinerary in January of 2007 due to rising fuel prices and the fact it was no longer cost effective to travel to the farthest southern reaches of the Caribbean. It now joins 311 cruise ships which include Aruba as a port of call.
Since this administration took office nearly a year ago, Minister Oduber campaigned vigorously for Carnival’s return.
“As Minister of Tourism, I am determined to attract and increase the amount of cruise visitors to the island,” he told the gathering. “I know this industry is critical to the well-being of the Oranjestad business community as well as many others. To accomplish this we have also made a commitment to enhance the experience of our cruise visitors from the moment they get off the ship.”
Carnival was convinced by Minister Oduber there would be enough interest in Aruba as a cruise destination that customers would be willing to pay the extra cost for coming to the Southern Caribbean. Captain Lubrano confirmed the excited anticipation of his passengers as they approached their destination; one of the first groups off the boat, the Fruharty family of Maryland, also confirmed they selected the Carnival Miracle specifically because Aruba was one of its destinations. “It was higher priced, but we consider it well worth it.”
Aruba Port Authority offered Carnival Miracle passengers a warm welcome of steelpan music, carnival dancers and a welcome gift. The passengers report it was the first elaborate greeting they had received on their itinerary so far, which includes Grand Turk, Dominican Republic, and Curacao. Many enjoyed this immersion into island culture and began dancing their way through the terminal on their way to exploring Oranjestad.
Story by Rosalie Klein