October 16, 2013
The cruise line, which had been slated to send five ships to the island through the end of April 2015, said it's making the change for two reasons. For one thing, the Tortola government is planning an overhaul of its cruise ship dock through most of next year. Passengers stopping in port may have been forced to tender, spokeswoman Jennifer de la Cruz said.
And second, the Tortola government won't guarantee that the line will be able to call during its scheduled dates in 2015 - despite already giving Carnival berthing reservations, de la Cruz said.
“We do not have confidence that a positive guest experience and in some instances, even the ability to call at the island, can be provided,” the line announced in a statement.
Passengers who have already booked cruises that stop in Tortola from June 18, 2014 to April 30, 2015 will notified this week about alternative ports. Ships affected include Sunshine, Freedom, Liberty, Glory and Valor.
A government official told the BVI Platinum News that Carnival was denied the dates because the port is currently negotiating final berthing agreements with competitors Norwegian Cruise Line and Disney Cruise Line.
Debate over the future of Tortola's cruise industry has been ongoing. In late September, the government scrapped the Tortola Pier Park project, a cruise “village” proposed for the Road Town cruise port.
--By Chris Gray Faust, Destinations Editor