March 13, 2008
Antigua is the latest Caribbean island to emerge as a potential port of call for Royal Caribbean's much-anticipated Genesis-class ship. The first of two vessels, which will, by a large margin, be the world's biggest cruise ships, launches next year. It will sail alternating seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.
Sources told Cruise Critic that Royal Caribbean, the government of Antigua and Barbuda, and Antigua's port organization have teamed up to create a plan to accommodate the massive 222,000-ton, 5,400-passenger, as-yet-unnamed vessel. The plan, which includes options to dredge the harbor, build new pier facilities and enhance road networks is very much a work in progress and has not been finalized.
Antigua is only the second port of call to emerge as a Genesis-capable (at least in the future, after enhancements are made) destination. Royal Caribbean has already announced that it would add Jamaica to the first ship's itineraries; through a partnership with the government there, an entirely new port area, called Falmouth, will be developed to accommodate the ship's visits. The cruise line has also confirmed that the ship will be based in Ft. Lauderdale.
Other ports rumored to be in serious contention for Genesis-class visits include St. Maarten, St. Kitts, and Barbados.
A Royal Caribbean spokeswoman declined to comment. "Unfortunately we are not able to confirm Genesis deployment yet due to a few open-ended items that need to be resolved and that may affect the final itinerary," Tracy Quan told Cruise Critic.
--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief More stories live from Seatrade 2008!
Photo courtesy of Antigua and Barbuda Department of Tourism