Carnival Cruise Line has announced that its fleet will no longer be sailing to the island of Antigua, affecting passengers booked for trips on its Breeze, Legend, Magic and Pride ships as of November 2019.
Reps for the cruise line told Fox News that the decision was made as Antiguan government officials have expressed that they “don’t want cruise lines and our guests to visit,” so for the time being the cruise line has decided to focus "on destinations that are more welcoming.”
The president of the Antigua and Barbuda Cruise Tourism Association, Nathan Dundas, said the decision will likely lose the island major tourism revenue, Nation News reported Tuesday.
“I am afraid that we may see more cancellations and it is indeed cause for concern as these cancellations will impact everyone business from store owners to tour operators and bars and restaurants etc,” Dundas said.
According to the outlet, the Carnival ships were expected to bring in roughly 250,000 tourists through the season.
Dundas further divulged that Carnival was not clear regarding exactly why the decision was made, and that he fears what the implications of the cancellation may pose for Antigua in a larger sense.
“I wouldn’t be surprised to see Princess, Holland America, Seabourn and other European Lines making cancellations going forward,” he said.
Reps for the cruise line returned Fox News’ request for comment with the following statement:
“Government officials in Antigua have taken steps which indicate they don’t want cruise lines and our guests to visit so for the time being we are focusing our itineraries on the destinations that are more welcoming.”
It remains unclear at this time how permanent this decision will be.
As noted by Cruise Hive, Antigua is in the process of closing a multimillion dollar agreement with Global Ports Holding of London, which touts itself as “the world's largest cruise port operator.”
Carnival passengers affected by the news will now likely sail to St. Kitt’s and Tortola instead, Cruise Hive reports.
According to the State Department's latest travel advisory update for Antigua and Barbuda, there is currently no outstanding cautionary warning for those islands. Travelers are advised to "exercise normal precautions" when visiting.
The news marks the second time that Carnival has made headlines for a big policy change in recent months. Earlier this year, the Florida-based line announced that room service would no longer be complimentary on all ships in its fleet.