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BVI Ports Authority Announces Warm Lay-Up With Royal Caribbean Group

ROAD TOWN, Tortola — The British Virgin Islands Ports Authority (BVIPA), today announced that since permission was granted for the acceptance of technical calls and warm lay-ups at its seaports, a booking has been accepted.

The BVIPA has agreed on conditions to allow Royal Caribbean International’s Grandeur of the Seas and Rhapsody of the Seas berthing at the BVIPA’s cruise pier under strict health and safety rules starting today for an initial period of 30 days of warm lay-up.

“This is not a regular cruise call, the vessel does not have any guests on board, and it will be berthing exclusively to lay up, refuel, take on provisions and spare parts, and possibly other services,”  Acting BVIPA Managing Director Oleanvine Maynard said. “Crew members will not be allowed to disembark and there is no access to vessels from shore-based staff during stays in the BVI.” 

Interior of a cabin inside Rhapsody of the Seas.

The BVIPA’s cruise pier is a secure zone and persons are not permitted to pass the security gate area which will be manned. Health and safety protocols were also shared with the ship’s agents and cruise line.

“As Agents for Royal Caribbean, we are indeed pleased to have two of its vessels calling in Tortola,” Patricia Romney, director of operations for Romasco Group, said. “We are grateful to the Virgin Islands Government for creating a path to assist our cruise partners during these critical times.”

In a detailed presentation to the BVIPA, Royal Caribbean Group explained their hybrid connection plans and other details pertaining to the warm lay-up procedures.

“Royal Caribbean Group is grateful and fortunate to have the government and people of the British Virgin Islands welcome our vessels during the pandemic for lay-up so that critical services can be provided,” Hernan Zini, vice president of worldwide operations for Royal Caribbean Group said. “As we face this challenging time together, our first priority is the health and safety of the communities we visit and our crew members. We all look forward to the day when we can resume sailing and return with our guests to visit the beautiful destination and warm people of the BVI.”

The economic benefits of extending technical calls or warm lay-ups include ships carrying out refueling, repairs and start-up activities in the Territory before they set sail again.

The BVIPA said that it believes “maintaining a link with and continuing to service the cruising industry in the safe manner proposed with technical calls/warm lay-ups can be a vital part of the rebooting strategy.”

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