By The Star Staff
The Marella Discovery cruise ship’s arrival in San Juan over the weekend was to have an estimated economic impact of $915,000 in the local economy, based on five transit visits scheduled for this fiscal year, Puerto Rico Tourism Company Executive Director Carlos Mercado Santiago said.
“The Tourism Company continues to strengthen the relations of the government of Puerto Rico with the cruise lines, as part of Governor Pedro Pierluisi’s plan to position tourism as a key tool for the economic development of the island,” Mercado Santiago said, adding that, “there are many efforts that the CTPR is leading to diversify the destination’s offer and make Puerto Rico even more attractive to the cruise market.”
“Each vessel that includes one of our ports on its itinerary promotes the creation of new excursions and tourist products while generating greater commercial activity around the island,” he said.
Puerto Rico Ports Authority Executive Director Joel A. Pizá Batiz said “the initial visit of the Marella Discovery, one of the largest ships in the Marella Cruises fleet, is an additional economic impulse for many sectors, such as: tourism, businesses, transporters and suppliers, as well as for cultural and entertainment activities on the island.”
“We hope this will be replicated during future visits so that we continue to promote the cruise ship and tourism industries in Puerto Rico,” he said.
Upon her arrival on the island Saturday, government representatives and tourism industry officials welcomed the ship’s crew and passengers. Tourism Company Deputy Executive Director Marga López and Ports Authority Deputy Executive Director Christian Trinidad presented Capt. Christopher Douglass with commemorative plaques from his first trip to Puerto Rico.
The Marella Cruises line has a strong presence in the United Kingdom as its base market. The Marella Discovery set sail last Thursday from Bridgetown, Barbados on her seven-day Eastern Caribbean itinerary. In addition to her visit to the port of San Juan, the vessel, with a maximum capacity for 2,435 passengers and 735 crew members, will visit the islands of St. Thomas, St. Croix, Antigua and Bequia before returning to her home port in Barbados. The cruise has a wide range of activities that make it attractive to all types of travelers: two swimming pools, seven restaurants, an open-air cinema, a mini golf course, a climbing wall and musical productions.