Above: Road Town (CJ Photo)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
The British Virgin Islands government is “forging ahead” with the territory’s cruise pier construction project, Works Minister Mark Vanterpool said this week.
Vanterpool said recently that the government was expecting “some challenges due to delays in the construction project,” but that it was making every effort to ensure that the BVI could still benefit from this year’s cruise season.
According to a new report from the BVI Ports Authority, between October and the end of April, the territory is expected to see 297 cruise ships making calls and bringing in a total of 612,372 passengers.
Of that total, 169 calls will be made to Road Town Harbour, accounting for around 450,000 passengers.
The BVI’s cruise pier project will include an expanded, widened and strengthened dock and the development of landside facilities, including shopping, restaurants and customs.
There will also be dredging performed to accommodate larger vessels.
Right now, the project is three months behind schedule, Vanterpool said, but the expectation is still to have the entire project completed by the end of 2015.
“The expectations now are that ships will be able to dock by March 1, 2015,” he said.
Royal Caribbean has canceled five of its six calls between now and December, however, the Minister announced.
“We are in contact with the Royal Caribbean Group to continue our close relationship, as they are considered a long term mutual partner in our cruise tourism industry,” Vanterpool said.