Carnival Cruise Lines has suddenly decided that it will no longer be sailing its ship, the Victory to the ports of Antigua and Barbuda in the Caribbean. The Antiguan tourism minister, John Maginley said that he received news of the company’s decision via an email just last week with absolutely no warning. Maginley said that previous to the email being sent he had been in talks with Carnival about increasing the numbers of visitors to the island. The Victory, capable of carrying 2,758 passengers will now be sailing to St Maarten instead.
A spokeswoman for Carnival Cruise Lines has said that it is not unusual for the company to review its itineraries and for it to decide to make changes. She pointed out that the companies Freedom also visited Antigua about once a month and will continue to do so.
Mr. Maginley is a little suspicious of Carnival’s timing. He said that he hopes the decision was not affected by the fact that three weeks ago six passengers from a Carnival cruise were arrested for refusing to pay a $100 dollar taxi fare resulting in a fight. Many in the U.S. have seen the detention of the tourists as a violation of their rights.
Carnival said that the incident has had nothing to do with their decision.
The absence of the Victory could cost Antigua $40 million a year in customer revenues. Passenger head tax alone provides the island with $500,000 per year. Mr. Maginley is concerned that if Carnival can simply announce that they will no longer call at the island then what’s to stop other cruise companies from doing the same.