Grand Turk has seen a decline in profitability and customer experience ratings. The drop comes amid various issues involving visiting cruise passengers. A recent Town Hall meeting involving representatives from Carnival Corporation and the local government aimed to address these concerns and chart a course for the future.
Although Carnival aims to bring over a million guests to Grand Turk in 2024, the port and local businesses are seeing a decline in profits this year. Although the port is often seen as a Carnival Cruise Line port of call, it is open to other cruise lines, yet only some cruise ships from other companies visit the island.
Grand Turk has fallen out of the coveted top 10 spots for customer experience, according to a recent report from local news outlet Magnetic Media.
Factors contributing to this decline in visitor experience include drug-related incidents and physical altercations. As the primary cruise line visiting Turks and Caicos, Carnival brings the majority of tourists to the Grand Turk Cruise Center.
However, guests have frequently cited a lack of onshore activities and excursions as a drawback. The decline in visitor experience ratings and a drop in visiting cruise passenger revenue prompted a meeting between locals and Carnival Cruise Line at the local town hall.
The Office of the Premier and the Turks and Caicos Islands Government stated that the discussion centered around the impact of the Grand Turk Cruise Centre on the island community.
“Citizens who attended were allowed to interact with the panelists by asking further questions on the presentations, expressing their concerns, and proposing valuable feedback and ideas on issues raised,” the Turks and Caicos Islands Government reported.
Both sides are working on forming partnerships to implement a sustainable recycling program and make infrastructural improvements.
“There appears to be genuine concern for enhancing the relationship with vendors and providing additional auxiliary services. They emphasized that the goal is not to keep guests from exploring the town,” one resident noted.
Carnival executives are optimistic about the future, projecting over 1.1 million visitors to Grand Turk in 2024. Plans are also underway to introduce more vendors at the Downtown Carnival Center at a ‘nominal’ cost to locals. This is besides the investments that Carnival promised to make back in 2021.
Security measures are under review, including the potential use of sniffer dogs. Additionally, a recycling initiative is under consideration to manage the waste generated by tourism.
While time will tell if these initiatives can reverse the port’s declining fortunes, the collaboration between Carnival and the local government offers a chance to improve the guest experience and enhance the community’s economic prospects.
Although Carnival Cruise Line brings by far the most ships to Grand Turk on a regular basis, some other cruise lines do make occasional visits to the port. These include Princess Cruises, Costa Cruises, Holland America Line, and the only cruise two cruise lines not part of Carnival Corporation, UK-based Marella Cruises, and Virgin Voyages.
Carnival’s robust presence is apparent, with ten different ships, including Mardi Gras, Carnival Venezia, Carnival Legend, Carnival Sunrise, Carnival Dream, Carnival Magic, and more, making a total of 45 calls through December 2023.
Marella Cruises, Virgin Voyages, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, and Costa Cruises collectively account for an additional 23 port calls. This brings the total number of calls to 68 through the end of the year.
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