• US$22 million spent on the new cruise infrastructure over the past 5 years
  • 2 Finger Piers with 4 cruise-only berths
  • Security booths with high-tech scanning machines, trained security personnel and 24-hour CCTV cameras at each pier
  • Direct access to duty-free shopping, restaurants and vendors market
  • Direct access to tourist information and taxi dispatch
  • More than 52 specialized tour opportunities with a total capacity for 5,500 guests
  • Competitive head tax rates and port charges
  • Waste oil and sludge removal and treatment facility
  • Access to container cargo and bunker facilities
  • Home porting facilities


At any one time, the main cruise facilities at the islandís major port and capital St Johnís can accommodate four post-panamax vessels. In addition, extra facilities are also available at the Deepwater Bay Commercial Port.

As the most important industry in Antigua, Tourism accounts for 85% of the countryís foreign exchange earnings; generates about 60% of islandís economic wealth; and provides work for 18% of the labour force. World Travel Organisation (WTO) figures show that tourism generates more than $860m worth of economic activity in Antigua and its sister island Barbuda.

Antigua’s geographic location means it easily serves itinerary planners preparing 7-day or longer sailings from many US ports, and European guests opting for fly-cruise, or fly-stay-cruise itineraries based in locations like Barbados can also reach Antigua with ease.

In 2003, the Antigua Pier Group Ltd. (APG) dredged the St. John’s harbour in a US$22 million project that built the new pier at Nevis Street near the historic Redcliffe Quay and extended the Heritage Quay Pier to accommodate the newest and largest cruise vessels sailing the Caribbean today. 

APG is working in partnership with the Government, the Antigua and Barbuda Cruise Tourism Association (ABCTA), and the St. John’s Development Corporation (SJDC) to promote and generate cruise business in Antigua and Barbuda, especially during the traditionally slow summer months, as well as developing the possibility of becoming a home port in the future.”

Heritage Quay opened in 1998 and provides two berths at 1,050ft each and accommodating vessels with a draft of up to 10 metres. The adjacent Redcliffe Quay, or Nevis Street Pier, can also berth two post-panamax vessels.  A 1,400ft turning basin has been designated off these berths within the port.

Well-established and strong links with cruise industry partners have provided a major benefit to the overall development of tourism in Antigua and Barbuda,

The Government, with the support of the Antigua Pier Group and the Antigua and Barbuda Cruise Association has been very successful in its negotiations with various other cruise lines to commence using Antigua and Barbuda as a port of call.  The port has excellent cruise facilities, and several attractive and accomplished tours which have enhanced the on-island experience have been added over the years.  Everything from a zip line experience through the rainforest canopy, kite surfing, parasailing, deep sea diving or jet skiing, to a walking tour of the city of St. John’s.   Antigua & Barbuda offers an on-island experience that few Caribbean destinations can match.”

This wealth of shoreside experiences available in the Islands strengthens their appeal to itinerary planners as well as ship-board guests, so the direct earnings, particularly to local businesses such as boutiques, taxi drivers, souvenir vendors and local tour operators, are significant.

The ability of Antigua and Barbuda to attract vessels throughout the year, also helps to stimulate the economy when the main winter season for the yachting and land-based arrivals comes to an end in April. The large volume of visitors means that the impact of spending is more widely distributed than the traditional land-based or yachting visitor, which is what makes Cruise Tourism so significant  to the country’s tourism.

Mindful of the success and economic wealth generated by cruise business to date, tourism partners have identified potential for further growth which they predict will be steady with the addition of more non-traditional European lines, and have set a target to achieve 1 million cruise passengers by 2012.

Further growth could be achieved through offering full turnaround facilities to cruise lines, but significant investment in new infrastructure would be required.   Limited large scale home porting is a strategy that could work down the road, however the destination’s total hotel room count is just around 4,000, and would require an increase in the capacity for over-nighting of large numbers of cruise visitors who may need to arrive a day before their cruise starts.  Work on the new International Airport terminal is also set to commence this year and that too must be completed prior to venturing into the home porting in any major way. However, there are opportunities with the smaller clipper vessels that can be accommodated now, and which the destination will be pursuing as it seeks to enhance the product offering.

Across the tourism sector efforts are continuing to enhance the visitor experience on the island is at the top of the tourism development agenda.  New regulations have just now been put in place which will greatly improve the ground transportation and tour transfers. A protocol agreement between the local taxi association and Government agencies will eliminate many of the traffic bottlenecks as well as ensuring the safety and a hassle free environment for passengers arriving at the cruise terminals.

The biggest challenge facing any organization in the current economic climate is one of finances. It is ensuring that in the present economic difficulties, it is important to prioritize in such as way to continue to invest in marketing and promoting the destination and remain competitive so that Antigua and Barbuda can seek out and take advantage of any opportunity for growth that arises.

    Cruise Stats for 2008-2009

    Click table to view larger

The 2010-2011 Winter Season
looks good so far, based on bookings already received.
We are estimating 660,000+ passengers and 330 ship calls

  • Royal Caribbean 60+ calls
  • Celebrity 30 + calls
  • Costa 30 + calls
  • Disney will be making calls for the 1st time in many years
  • Other lines include the German brand Mein Schiff, Carnival, Silver Seas, Princess Cruises, Thompson Cruises and P&O Cruises
  • The Japanese line Asuka II with 1,110 passengers and 500 crew made her inaugural call in Antigua on June 10, 2010.
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