The Carnival Fascination docked in Roseau on Tuesday, September 12th. Photo: Chad Ambo/DDA

Dominica got an early start to the cruise season on Tuesday September 12th, when the Carnival Fascination docked in Roseau after it was diverted to the island from destinations ravaged by Hurricane Irma.

Dominica’s cruise ship season begins on October 23 but Minister for Tourism and Urban Renewal, Senator Robert Tonge, explained that because of the impact of the storm and the severe infrastructural damage to islands such as St. Martin and the British Virgin Islands, the cruise ship has sailed to Dominican shores.

“Our season starts on the twenty-third of October, so this is out of the season primarily because of their inability to go to the other islands that have been impacted. We do not know how many are coming but we are ready to receive them and provide them with the best possible service,” he said.

According to him, the ship will dock in Dominica until 5:00 pm and all stake holders have already been contacted and made aware of the early arrival.

“All training has been done prior to the season. We want to ensure that persons remember this training and ensure that we provide the best possible service to the visitors when they come to Dominica,” Tonge stated.

He expressed hope in the other islands standing on their feet again as soon as possible so as to regenerate their flow of incoming ships.

Meanwhile, the Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association (DHTA) has appealed to its members to be aware of the fact that Dominica will be getting an increase in port calls from destinations affected by Irma.

In a message to its members, the DHTA said that the Ministry of Tourism has begun preparation for the increase in port calls, and all members should do the same.

“This increased volume represents an opportunity for your business to put its best foot forward and provide world class service that will leave a lasting impression and justify return visits,” the message said.

The Carnival Fascination sailing into the port in Roseau