Crystal Cruises’ seven-night, all-Bahamas cruise has created economic opportunities for people on San Salvador, Exuma and Long Island, the Tourism Development Corporation’s Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director Janet Johnson told Guardian Business yesterday after touring the three islands.
According to Johnson, people out of work because of the closure of Club Med on San Salvador due to the global pandemic, have found ways of earning some income from the cruise ship’s weekly visit.
“People were very excited in San Salvador where of course Club Med is closed,” Johnson said. “They’re happy to have somebody in the household bringing in some funding from some involvement, be they an artisan, a tour guide, or doing something helping with the visits.”
She said the shore excursions Crystal Cruises helped to set up by assisting Bahamians in starting small businesses were well organized and the visitors were engaged.
“Each place for each visit looks very classy,” said Johnson. “The vendors are mostly young people and they know their business, are very excited about the opportunity and want to do all they can to make it very special for the guests. The guests seem very happy.”
Providing an example, Johnson said on Gordon’s Beach on Long Island, cruise passengers enjoy big bowls of locally grown fruit provided by vendors and have the opportunity to ask questions about the sugar apples, guineps, sappodillys and tamarinds they are given.
She said the cruise line visits, while new to the three islands, have allowed the businesses providing experiences for the passengers to “stretch themselves”.
Those on the islands who were not able to prepare their ideas for Crystals Cruises’ five-month stint in The Bahamas, told Johnson they hope the company brings its Crystal Serenity ship back in 2022.
“The islands are loving the Crystal Serenity. They hope it comes back next year, because people who were not ready for this year are hoping that they will have that opportunity,” said Johnson.
“I think it’s been a good thing. They’re not used to the cruise ship and the cruise passengers, but they have been welcoming and I think the cruise passengers are feeling the love.”