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On Land Multiple Homeports Confirmed for San Juan After nearly a year and a half with empty cruise ports, Puerto Rico has reactivated its cruise industry, with multiple arrivals and homeports in the pipeline for the remainder of the year – and tourism officials optimistic about the long-term outlook for the industry’s recovery. Puerto Rico received its first homeport since the pandemic on Sept. 5, with Legion of the Seas by Royal Caribbean. Other booked homeports include new options, such as Valiant Lady from Virgin Voyages and the new Ritz Carlton cruise line, which beyond visiting in San Juan, will also make stop at the port of Ponce. Carlos Mercado, Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. (PRTC), also expects to see increases in overall cruise activity in October and November when cruise lines add more options, with the gradual reactivation of the sector expected to

reach levels comparable to those before the pandemic by January 2022. On the homeporting front, Mercado told they are “now in negotiations to recover some of the homeports that we had before the pandemic, and we understand that this will begin to gradually increase when we begin to restore operations. We even project that for the months of February and March, we will have more activity regarding homeports here in Puerto Rico.” Clearly, Puerto Rico is open and ready to welcome cruise guests. The island was one of the first to create health and safety guidelines designed specifically for the tourism industry and has been successfully implementing them in all tourism-related activities and facilities for almost a year. The festive and colorful arrival of the first ship after more than 17 months to the San Juan Port on Aug. 3 marked a new beginning for the island’s cruise industry.

ANTIGUA WELCOMES CELEBRITY EQUINOX AFTER ENHANCING PROTOCOLS Premium cruising continued its return to Antigua & Barbuda as the magnificent Celebrity Equinox sailed into Antigua Cruise Port on Aug. 19, marking the first large vessel to dock at St. John’s since the restart of the Antigua & Barbuda cruise season in July. Over 2,000 passengers were warmly welcomed by tourism, port and government representatives. The Government of Antigua & Barbuda recently revised its COVID-19 protocols, requiring that all cruise passengers over 12 years old are vaccinated. Passengers who are over 2 years old but are not fully vaccinated prior to embarkation were required to present a negative RT PCR COVID-19 test before boarding the ship in Fort Lauderdale.

JAMAICA CELEBRATES RETURN OF CRUISES WITH CARNIVAL SUNRISE As part of Carnival Cruise Line’s highly anticipated return to guest operations, Carnival Sunrise arrived in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, on Aug. 17, marking the line’s first time back to Jamaica in 17 months. The arrival also represents the reopening of cruising in Jamaica as it is the first cruise ship to call on a Jamaican port since the cruise industry paused operations in March 2020. 20 THIRD QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE