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BVI is Maiden Voyage Stop for Two New Ships

Monday, November 22 – Deputy Premier Honourable Dancia Penn, OBE, QC, on behalf of Premier Honourable Ralph T. O’Neal, OBE welcomed two cruise passenger ships to the Territory on their maiden voyage to the Caribbean marking the beginning of their cruise season and also served as a prelude to Tourism Week 2010.The MS Azura and the MS AIDA Luna crossed the Atlantic at the end of their Northern European and Mediterranean seasons and are scheduled to remain in the Caribbean until April 2011.

MS AIDA Luna, the newest of seven vessels from this cruise line made its inaugural call to the Virgin Islands on November 19 during which Deputy Premier Hon. Dancia Penn, OBE, QC presented a plaque to Captain Thomas Mey to mark the occasion.

Both passenger cruise vessels made inaugural calls to the port of Road Harbour last Thursday and Friday respectively and will now call on the Virgin Islands every two weeks until the end of the cruise season in April.

Representatives from the BVI Tourist Board, BVI Ports Authority, Premier’s Office and the local agent for both ships, Island Shipping and Trading Co. Ltd., joined the captains and senior officers on board the passenger ships for a plaque exchange ceremony.

At Friday’s ceremony, on board the MS AIDA Luna, Honourable Penn welcomed Captain Thomas Mey and his senior officers to the Territory and said, “We are very delighted that you have made this inaugural call. We are honoured that you have chosen to come to the BVI at this time and will be coming regularly during this season and also next season.”

MS Azura made an inaugural call to the Territory as part of its maiden voyage Caribbean Voyage on November 18 during which Deputy Premier Hon. Dancia Penn, OBE, QC presented and received a plaque from the ships’ Captain Keith Dowds.

Honourable Penn added, “We very much appreciate the confidence that you have placed in the BVI as a destination and we look forward for your return and trust that all your visits will be pleasant and enjoyable.”

Captain Mey thanked Honourable Penn for her well wishes before presenting her with a model of one MS AIDA Luna’s ships. AIDA Luna had 2000 mostly German speaking passengers on board with a crew of 600.


At Thursday’s Inaugural Call, Honourable Penn shared similar sentiments with Captain Keith Dowds and his senior officers on board the MS Azura before exchanging plaques with the ship’s captain.
In his response Captain Dowds said he enjoyed calling on the British Virgin Islands which is a popular call and looks forward to coming back throughout the season.

“All of our passengers are British. They fly in from the UK to join the ship and they feel they are coming to a part of the UK; especially with beautiful weather like this, we will keep coming back.” MS Azura had 3000 passengers on board with a crew of 1500.

Cruise passengers account for the largest number of visitors to the Territory with over 360,000 cruise ship passengers visiting the Virgin Islands from January to August 2010.

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